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In the race for net-zero, are we doing enough?

COP 26 is taking place in Glasgow where our world leaders update their plans for reducing emissions. The question we all want the answer to;
- Are we doing enough?
Please see a report and the ESG Webinar link in the article.

There is more to be done

The short answer is no. Probably not a surprise. MSCI Net-Zero Tracker for 2021 estimates that emissions of the world's listed companies could cause temperatures to rise by 3 degrees Celsius (3°C) above preindustrial levels. Thus not preventing a climate disaster…

After 1,5 degrees temperature rise, we're expected to surpass the safe operating space for humanity (as described by Johan Rockström and his team working on the planetary boundaries concept). Simply put, the boundaries humanity must respect to keep the planet habitable.

Contribution from the Real Estate sector

From the same net-zero tracker, we get the numbers for listed companies within the Real Estate sector. Their average contribution to global warming is expected to reach 1,9 degrees if we continue in the same manner as current. Our sector is on a good path to start with, but we aren't aiming to target near enough. We need to accelerate or race to net-zero. To a great extent, this will involve improving the performance of the existing building stock, which is rated energy in-efficient up to 75%.  

CBRE-Purpose-driven-esgOn the positive side, there is a steadily increasing demand for ESG aware landlords among the tenants. One of several findings in our report Purpose-driven: Corporate real estate's role in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda. Click here to read the report.

What is ESG?

ESG is the consideration of Environmental, Social and Governance factors in how businesses are managed and operated, both internally and throughout their supply and value chain. Achieving an organization's ESG goals requires effort across the enterprise with real estate being an important, but not singular, pillar of the overall strategy.

Public commitments to meet zero-carbon targets are increasingly common
More than 30% of global Fortune 500 companies now say they have either 
achieved a climate goal or are publicly committed to doing so by 2030 — a significant increase from just 6% in 2016, a year after COP 21 and the Paris agreement.

Climate goals in the Nordics

On a Nordic level, the climate goals are formulated slightly different, whereas
- Finland aims to become carbon-neutral in 2035
- Denmark is committing to reducing emissions by 70% from 1990 levels by 2030
- Sweden’s target is net-zero emissions by 2045
- Norway's target is to reduce emissions by at least 50 %, and towards 55 % by 2030 compared to 1990 levels

What is Net-Zero?

Net-Zero Carbon is defined by the World Green Building Council as “when the amount of CO2 emissions released on an annual basis is zero or negative”. A net-zero carbon building is a highly energy-efficient building that is fully powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources and offsets.

The roadmap to Net-Zero Buildings - calculate, target, reduce, increase and offset

A summarized roadmap to net-zero building can be described as taking the following steps;

  1. Step one is to calculate your actual emissions today. Preferably in Scope 1-3 as defined in the greenhouse gas protocol.
  2. Target your year, for your deadline
    (match or exceed your national goal, 2050 as an absolute deadline)
  3. Reduce your operational energy use
  4. Increase renewable energy supply
  5. Offset any remaining carbon

Net-Zero carbon across the building lifecycle

There are several opportunities during the building lifecycle to address a net-zero carbon strategy. Addressing different ESG factors isn’t a one-time thing, it’s a continuous effort. Work together with buildings and portfolio stakeholders to have that zero goal as a common top priority. Identify joint endeavors and fairly share the costs and benefits of different optimization activities.

Enable a wide approach

Instead of addressing one asset at a time, we advocate a portfolio-wide approach to have a greater effect. That may be achieved by developing net-zero carbon policies and procedures for:

  • Investment committee and due diligence
  • Development, refurbishment and fit-out standards
  • Management and operational standards to include green leases 

The new Net-Zero Standard

In October Scienced based targets initiative launched their new Net-Zero Standard. It’s a tool and guidance to validate that your net-zero target goals and activities are scientifically aligned with the Paris agreement. The standard has been tested in a pilot phase, where some of our clients have been involved.

CBRE aims to be Net-Zero by 2040

For us, this means in our own operations as tenants, building owners, and within our line of business and services. ESG is always part of the conversation and our work with clients. We are over 100 specialists within EMEA and four in the Nordics to help you whenever needed on your ESG journey. Contact us to discuss how we can accelerate your position within sustainability.

Recently we held a Webinar;
ESG for Corporate Leaders
Did you miss it or would like to see it again?

Click here >>


Full throttle in the race for zero!  

Download the report:

Purpose-driven: Corporate real estate's role in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda.


Do you have questions or would like to book a meeting to discuss the standards? Please contact Emma Oterwik in Norway, Niklas Wiik in Finland, Linda Kjällén in Sweden, and Dragana Marina in Denmark. All of our experts work in the Nordic Sustainability Team.

Please visit the below articles if you would like to read more:


Dragana Marina I Linda Kjällen I Emma Otervik I Niklas Wik

Dragana Marina I Linda Kjällen I Emma Otervik I Niklas Wik

Dragana Marina
Dragana is an experienced professional with over 13 years of experience in the real estate sector. She leads the research operations for the Danish market. The Danish research department covers all market segments and works closely with other Business Lines by using research to drive client-based initiatives. Dragana also collaborates with the Danish marketing department and supports the achievement of marketing goals for various products and services. Besides being responsible for leading research functions in Denmark, Dragana also supports CBRE’s pan-Nordic research.
Mobile phone: +45 (0)3135 7484 I

Linda Kjällén
Linda is Sustainability Manager, based in Sweden. Linda has worked with sustainability issues in the real estate industry for over 10 years. She has developed and built the Sweden Green Building Council (SGBC). Linda helps tenants, property owners, and various projects to set and achieve ambitious and concrete sustainability goals. She has solid experience in various environmental certifications and is a frequently hired lecturer and moderator in many different forums.
Mobile: +46 (0) 702045178 I

Emma Otervik
Emma is Sustainability Director at CBRE Norway. She has more than 23 years of experience in energy efficiency and sustainability. Her overall goal is Sustainability for PEOPLE – PLANET – PROFIT. In real estate, she has a focus on ESG (Environmental – Social – Governance), to highlight the risks and opportunities, and to benchmark. Her advantage is to see possibilities from upper strategies to action plans in real estate.
Mobile: +47 48 99 67 28 |

Niklas Wiik
Niklas is responsible for developing the business in Finland with regards to the Energy and Sustainability areas, managing resources, technical and economic control in order to provide the best customer service quality regarding CBRE parameters. Niklas's background is from the HVAC -field and he has strong technical knowledge. Niklas has a Master's degree in Engineering with a focus on Real Estate Energy, which gives him a comprehensive understanding of sustainable energy-efficient building techniques and technologies.
Mobile: +358 50 345 4146 |

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