The Journey to Net Zero
Delivering our client’s first net zero carbon development
Working in partnership with our client, Derwent London, we have delivered their first net zero carbon development, 80 Charlotte Street, which has now been featured in the #BuildingABetterFuture short film series about net-zero buildings.
80 Charlotte Street is a nine-storey, mixed-use scheme comprising office, retail and residential space in Fitzrovia, near London’s West End. Click here to read more about it. It is the first net zero carbon building we have delivered, which represents a significant milestone on our journey towards being entirely net zero by 2050, including our supply chain emissions.
The UK Green Building Council defines a net zero carbon building as one that is net zero in terms of both the emissions generated during construction and the emissions generated by the building’s operation. Net zero carbon buildings are highly energy efficient and powered from either onsite or offsite renewable energy sources, with any remaining carbon emissions offset from both construction and operation.
The climate emergency
The built environment is responsible for 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions, which means the construction industry must play a key role in tackling the climate crisis.
In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s largest panel on climate change, released a landmark report with a stark warning that we only have 12 years to limit dangerous climate change. They recommended a new target of limiting global warming to just 1.5 degrees by 2050 (half a degree lower than their previous recommendation of 2 degrees) and warned that even half a degree beyond this could significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
As well as the moral obligation to avert climate change, there is also a strong business case. Mark Carney, former Bank of England Governor and now Brookfield Vice Chair and Head of ESG, warned in October 2019 that firms ignoring climate crisis risk bankruptcy, and developers are increasingly building sustainability targets and goals into their contracts.
Through our Net Positive Sustainability Strategy, we have made carbon one of our five key pillars of action. We are committed to taking a leadership role that empowers our supply chain to join us on the journey to net zero. Including our supply chain in our strategy and helping them to set their own carbon reduction targets is critical because they make up the bulk of all emissions generated by the projects we deliver.
We are putting the climate emergency at the heart of our business strategy and making it intrinsic to the way we do business because we know it is the only sustainable way forward. Success will come through actions, not words, and we are taking practical, evidence-based steps based on credible science and research.
Our journey so far
- Multiplex was one of the first contractors to set a science-based target in line with limiting global warming to just 2 degrees by 2050. This was signed off by the Science Based Targets Initiative in December 2018, representing the culmination of several years of data gathering and research.
- In May 2019, we were one of over 100 UK businesses to sign a letter to Prime Minister Teresa May calling on her to commit the UK to being net zero by 2050, which she did.
- When the IPCC released its new special report on climate change in October 2018 recommending that global warning increase should be limited to just 1.5 degrees, we began revising our initial 2 degree target. When it was signed off by the Science Based Targets Initiative in September 2019, Multiplex became the first contractor in the world to commit to the new 1.5 degree target.
- In September 2019, we signed our global operations up to the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment – making a public commitment to only owning and operating net zero carbon assets by 2030.
- Also in September 2019, we endorsed the World Green Building Council’s report ‘Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront,’ which recommends that all new buildings contain at least 40% less embodied carbon by 2030.
- Since 2019, we have been publicly disclosing our sustainability performance by releasing annual positive impact reports, the first of which covered the year 2018.
- In June 2020, Multiplex and a number of other leading construction contractors (representing over £15 billion in annual turnover) formed UK Contractors Declare – joining a global movement to declare a state of climate and biodiversity emergency.
- In November 2020, Multiplex joined Steel Zero, a global initiative that brings together organisations from a range of sectors to make a public commitment to procure only 100% net zero carbon steel by 2050.
- Also in November 2020, we achieved another important milestone by delivering our client Derwent London’s first net zero carbon development – 80 Charlotte Street.
The road ahead
We have already formed a climate change committee, chaired by our Managing Director, and begun putting the governance in place that will empower us to achieve our goal of being entirely net zero by 2050 – including supply chain emissions.
We are currently working on a plan of action entitled: ‘Roadmap to Net Zero – One Decade to Act,’ that will bring together all the commitments listed above and map out the steps necessary to meet them.
This document will be published in 2021.