How can we create a lower-carbon built environment?

British Antarctic Survey

Landsec proudly creates sustainable value for our customers, communities, and stakeholders.

As one of the largest real estate companies in Europe, with a £11 billion portfolio and huge influence,  we believe that it is vital that we consciously look to create a lower carbon built environment.

We are aware that nearly 40% of global carbon emissions is created by the buildings and construction industry, so we strongly believe that it’s our collective challenge and responsibility to lead the way to a lower-carbon economy. To help us succeed a close working relationship between the government and industry will be vitally important in driving down carbon for today’s communities and generations to come. Decarbonisation is a necessity, not a choice.

Breakthroughs are being made across our industry. Over the past two decades, built environment emissions (excluding surface transport) have reduced by around a third. At Landsec, we are making good progress against our ambitious science-based carbon reduction target and transitioning to net zero, but the work is by no means done. Businesses like ours need to keep pushing to achieve net zero before the UK’s 2050 goal, and continue to question and challenge the targets we have set.

Simply put, the future of both our industry and the world in which we operate is in jeopardy without turning targets into tangible results. Never has it been more important to prioritise carbon reduction programmes. Action is urgently needed today but it must also be sustained tomorrow. 

An urgent rethink

Achieving our targets will require us to rethink how we do things – during planning, development, through the operational lifecycle and at the end of life of our buildings. 

I see similar drive and commitment across our industry, but we need the UK’s next prime minister to recognise the urgency in this situation, harness this energy and pave the way for its success. 

We believe there are four simple things the government can do to back our industry in its efforts to drive down carbon emissions. 

The first is bringing forward the Future Homes Standard and Future Building Standard, ensuring the standards included are benchmarked against the very latest industry practices and achievements. Such is the urgency of the situation, we must push further, faster, and make sure we are aligned with the baselines against which we should assess progress. Legislation is one lever to pull on the journey to net zero – but we also need accountability and transparency. 

Second, we need to move away from our reliance on the current EPC ratings system, which provides a theoretical measure of energy performance. Instead, an in-use performance-based rating system should be introduced to provide real and relevant benchmarks. This will increase emissions transparency and underpin government’s drive towards net zero by 2050. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy consulted on the issue last spring, but we are yet to see a uniform system introduced. 

Third, we want to see embodied carbon regulated by requiring whole-life carbon assessments through an amendment to building regulations to drive accountability and progress. Earlier this year (2022), the Environmental Audit Committee urged government to implement an assessment that would calculate emissions from construction, maintenance and demolition, as well as from day-to-day energy usage once built.

A whole-life carbon approach is fundamental to reducing lifetime emissions, while also enabling more accurate target setting for carbon reductions. I wholeheartedly endorse the recommendations put forward by the committee and urge the government to adopt them in full. 

And finally, our industry fundamentally needs a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework to enable the widespread use of sustainable building materials such as timber.

Unify the industry

Landsec is committed to sourcing core construction products and materials responsibly. This includes environmental and ethical sourcing, health impacts, embodied carbon impacts and resource efficiency considerations. But more needs to be done to unify our industry and ensure the use of sustainable materials in new buildings is both uniform and are able to provide a compelling commercial solution.

Communities across the UK that depend on the built environment need more than pledges and long-term targets. They need bold, tangible action, a sense of urgency and trust. Trust about realistic sustainability goals, our progress on our journey, and how we will achieve our collective objectives. 

Mark Allan, Chief Executive Officer, Jennie Colville, Head of ESG and Sustainability and Alexia Laird, Senior Sustainability Manager – Development will be presenting Landsec’s Corporate Net Zero Journey on 19 January 2023 for 1 hour in an “Expert Audience with Partner” with slide presentation and extensive 1-2-1 Q&As with Mark and his team: 

11.45 – 12.45 Audience with Landsec


The Audience format will consist of intial 30 mins team slide presentation and latter 30 mins of 1-2-1 Q&As with Partner’s team.

The format will offer an opportunity to hear from and engage directly with company’s top management team on the detials of their corporate Net Zero journey and will offer a clearer understanding of best practices and latest thinking on co-ordinating on decarbonisation, mobilising the organisation for delivery, building innovative partnerships and financing models to fuel decarbonisation, leveraging green financing solutions, integrating carbon into business decisions and corporate governance, finding and trialling suitable decarbonisation technologies, creating actionable and cost effective decarbonisation plan, showing what the end result might look like and inspiring others with their Net Zero journey.

If you would like to meet with Mark Allan and Landsec Team please register below. If you know Landsec and their team you can get 50% off by quoting 03G-LNDS