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Tritax Big Box REIT's commitment to net zero carbon

6 October 2020
Reading Time: 2 mins

Helen Drury, Sustainability Lead

In late 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on ClimateChange (IPCC) issued a stark warning. It clearly established that achieving the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement, limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change will require action at an unprecedented pace and scale.

Deep cuts in greenhouse emissions from the global economy are required by 2030, with net zero emissions by 2050.

This enormous challenge can only be tackled by governments, businesses and civil society working together to take ambitious action to radically reduce emissions.

We are committed to being a net zero carbon Group.  We have already been net zero carbon in direct operations since 2018. 

In April 2019, we recognised that the low carbon agenda needed detailed consideration in respect of our new developments and a decision was made to explore the status of net zero carbon in the industry and specifically in the logistics sector.

Over 75% of our carbon impact comes from our new developments, and this will only increase as we look to double our floorspace in the next 10 years.

We announced our net zero carbon in construction commitment in June 2020, with our development for DPD in Bicester and for Co-op in Biggleswade being the first two that will achieve this status.

We worked with our third-party consultants to carry out a carbon Lifecycle Assessment (LCA).  This identified the existing carbon footprint of a typical logistics development.  They then assessed how we could bring the emissions.  For Co-op Biggleswade, we have immediately identified ways to reduce the embodied carbon to 20,418 TCO2e (0.0333 TCO2e/m2) – a reduction of 37%. 

The biggest challenge, particularly for the industrial sector is its use of aggregates, concrete and steel which are carbon-intensive materials.

We are working with supply chain partners to identify lower carbon products and materials – for example with Cemex to source carbon neutral products

We have also engaged Kingspan to look at the cladding we use on our new developments.

Major players in the steel industry have launched an initiative known as ULCO2 (Ultra-Low CO2 Steelmaking). Its target is a reduction of specific CO2 emission of 50% when compared with current production methods. However, current estimates are that such products won’t be available to the commercial market until at least 2030.

Nonetheless, areas where carbon could be reduced were identified and for what couldn’t be reduced, Tritax looked at off-setting, following UKGBC’s guidelines and recommended vehicles.

We will offset the remaining carbon emissions to achieve a net zero carbon balance.

We believe that all new developments should be aiming for net zero carbon to meet the need to keep global warming to within 1.5C.

For those starting their net zero carbon journey, we recommend aligning with the UK GBC Framework Definition and carrying out a lifecycle assessment which will identify where the greatest carbon impacts currently lie in your supply chain.