With COP27 underway, the UN’s net-zero deadline is no longer a distant ideal but a waving chequered flag on the horizon. Simultaneously, the recent pandemic and geopolitical tensions have exacerbated the climate exigency and energy crisis, further reworking the landscape for a welcome paradigm shift – not least in the real estate sector.
With the built environment driving close to 40% of global carbon emissions, green real estate is an unequivocal way to abate the climate crisis, and a key priority for future investments.
JLL, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, created 10 Green Building Principles to guide owners and investors through this transition and benchmark progress, positioning them to reduce their emissions by 50% by 2030 and to be net zero no later than 2050.
By following these simple steps, from determining the carbon footprints of assets to setting green lease targets, companies and investors can create a personalized roadmap to net zero.
The process of transitioning brown buildings to green buildings presents owners with the unique and prolific opportunity to address energy optimization and explore on- and off-site renewables, attracting the growing market of green-conscious investors and, with it, the mounting pressure for others to follow suit.
Despite the ongoing global disruptions, which are expected to continue, real estate owners, developers, and occupiers should seize the opportunity to rebalance their real estate portfolios. From constructing new buildings to retrofitting the old, green real estate offers ample opportunities to not only accelerate sustainability, but bolster regeneration and resilience.
COP27 & Decarbonization
On the sidelines of COP27, countries representing more than 50% of global GDP set out sector-specific ‘Priority Actions’ to decarbonize power, transport and steel, scale up low-emission hydrogen production and accelerate the shift to sustainable agriculture by COP28. These measures are designed to cut energy costs, rapidly reduce emissions and boost food security for billions of people worldwide.
The actions under each breakthrough will be delivered through coalitions of committed countries – from the G7, European Commission, India, Egypt, Morocco and others, supported by leading international organizations and initiatives, and spearheaded by a core group of leading governments. These efforts will be reinforced with private finance and leading industry initiatives and further countries are encouraged to join.
The Priority Actions include agreements to:
- Develop common definitions for low-emission and near-zero emission steel, hydrogen and sustainable batteries to help direct billions of pounds in investment, procurement and trade to ensure credibility and transparency.
- Use billions of pounds of private and public procurement and infrastructure spending to stimulate global demand for green industrial goods.
This comes within COP27’s Breakthrough Agenda announcements build on the leader-level commitment at COP26 by 45 countries to work together to make clean technologies and sustainable solutions the most affordable, accessible and attractive option in each of the emissions-intensive sectors of the global economy, before the end of this decade.
These priority actions are being supported and accelerated by a raft of developments across industry and government-led initiatives, with accompanying key announcements seen throughout COP27. These include:
- A package of new financial announcements for industrial transitions: the launch of the Climate Investment Funds’ (CIFs) new Industry Transition Program – the world’s first large scale dedicated finance program for developing country industry transitions; a $410m green hydrogen investment in Egypt led by the EBRD; and World Bank plans to develop a $1.6bn green hydrogen global program.
- The Africa Net-Zero Concrete Group has launched and the first African Net-Zero Concrete National Roadmap has been set by Egypt.
Such developments build on significant progress throughout the year, with investments in wind and solar projects expected to outpace oil and gas for the first time ever, while the pipeline of next generation low-emission facilities accelerated, with over 100 low-emission cement projects in planning and millions of tons of near-zero emission steel production plants now approaching financial investment decision.
Over 50 countries are developing hydrogen strategies, collectively targeting 74GW of capacity, while more than $4 bn has been allocated to agriculture innovation for climate, by the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate.
Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt, states: “COP27 is an implementation COP. I am pleased to see countries come together today to shift from pledges to tangible action, by collaborating through the Priority Actions under the Breakthrough Agenda. This represents a concrete international plan to decarbonize high-emitting sectors by 2030 and help developing countries seize the opportunity of low-carbon and climate resilient growth and development.”
Green Cement in Egypt
In Egypt, the country started adopting the concept of “Green” cement, since heavily-polluting construction materials are among the biggest drivers of Egypt’s CO2 emissions, with cement among the top polluter
Suez Cement offers a low-emissions blended cement (PZZ) — while Lafarge Egypt offers PZZ cement and an even lower-emissions EcoLabel cement. Suez Cement uses low-emissions pozzolanic and limestone (blended) cement. Suez Cement and Lafarge are market heavyweights, so their use of lower-emissions cement is a big step. Lafarge’s Hydrocem Plus EcoLabel & Hydrocem EcoLabel represent the industry’s broadest range of green cement for high-performing, sustainable and circular construction. With the rollout of this Green Cement, the company is accelerating the transition to more sustainable building materials for greener construction.
Green Real Estate in Egypt
Egypt is following the steps of other global economies in efforts to reduce the sector’s impact on climate change. There are currently 23 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings in Egypt. Research, development and property technologies will be crucial in helping to reduce emissions from the built environment as cities set their sights on net zero.
Construction will therefore be at the forefront of this green building revolution, with forecasting and data analytics firm Oxford Economics suggesting that global construction output could reach $15.2 tn by 2030, up 42% from its 2020 level. The International Financial Cooperation estimates that green buildings represent a $24.7 tn investment opportunity by 2030 across cities in emerging markets.
The Egyptian government has taken economic and environmental measures that played a major role in stimulating investments, investing $324 bn to achieve sustainable development initiatives to reduce emissions and improve infrastructure. The state has taken this approach in all new cities, whether it has worked to establish them during the recent period, or cities that have been implemented decades ago through replacement and renewal processes that ensure the implementation of this new approach.