Lendlease has embarked on a mission we've described as a moon-shot. It’s a mission to eradicate carbon emissions from our entire global business by 2040. We've described it as a moon-shot as we don't yet know exactly how we're going to achieve it – but we do know it's going to take a lot of innovation, and a lot of collaboration with others to get there. And it’s a goal that we are determined to achieve.
Our business is as an investor, a developer, a builder, and an asset manager. And our strategic focus is on large-scale urban regeneration projects in cities around the world, which may include the development of new homes, offices, shops, public parks, and other spaces. In the UK we have major projects in Elephant & Castle, Stratford, Euston, Haringey, Silvertown Quays, Thamesmead and central Birmingham, and in Italy we are currently focused on several major projects in Milan.
Lendlease has been committed to sustainability for many years; but a significant development occurred in 2018 when we signed up to the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). Created by then Head of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, and his fellow global finance leads in 2015, TCFD asks companies to consider climate change through the lens of financial risk, and opportunity. Signatories are required to develop at least three future climate scenarios, based on the best peer-reviewed science, and to test their strategies and business plans against these possible futures.
In 2019 over 200 of Lendlease's top executives around the world spent a whole day examining our business plans through the lens of four different climate scenarios, ranging from 'Resignation' that sees global temperatures rise by more than 4 degrees, to 'Transformation', a world in which we manage to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.
To move from what can sometimes feel like an abstract debate about carbon dioxide emissions and the effects on global warming, to a discussion about real world risks and opportunities, informed by these credible windows out into a future operating environment, was both sobering and inspiring. And it created the context for setting our new climate change targets.
Lendlease is committed to being a 1.5 degree aligned company and to do everything in our power to help the world from slipping into the most dangerous levels of climate change. We are committed to be Net Zero Carbon by 2025 for Scopes one and two – minimising the emissions associated with the fuels we burn, such as diesel on our construction sites, and the electricity we use across our assets, and offsetting only residual emissions we cannot eliminate by then.
We’re also targeting becoming Absolute Zero Carbon by 2040 – eradicating all carbon emissions from our business, including Scope 3 emissions upstream, such as the embodied carbon in the materials we use in our buildings and downstream, including the energy used by our tenants and occupiers in the places we create.
We are under no illusion - these are hugely ambitious targets. So, we’ve begun the process of replacing red diesel with a recycled vegetable-based fuel with 90 per cent less carbon emissions across our construction sites. We’re switching all of our electricity procurement to renewable energy sources, and we’ve begun the process of moving away from a dependency on natural gas in our developments.
Some of this is within our direct control, but much of it isn't. All our projects are conceived, financed, and delivered in partnership with others, and all depend on complex supply chains involving hundreds of other businesses. We are well aware that we need to take those businesses on the journey with us and that to transform some of the biggest carbon emitting sectors such as concrete and steel will require a gargantuan effort and investment. That is why we were the first in our sector to sign up to ResponsibleSteel – a global standard and certification initiative – to add our demand to the growing call for low and ultimately zero carbon steel, working with the whole steel supply chain to make this a reality.
Lendlease's vision is “to create the best places”. Many of the projects we are already working on today will not be completed until sometime in the mid 2030's or 2040's. To realise our vision, these places must be fit for the future, and we must play our part in creating that Net Zero Carbon future for the sake not only of our future business, but of the future generations of people who we hope will continue to live, work, and play in these places for decades to come.
But we cannot do this alone, and we need every business we engage with, at whatever level, to join us on this journey.