Swire Properties Determined to Fight Climate Change with a New 1.5°C-Aligned Science-Based Targets

To accelerate the net zero transition aligned with climate science, Swire Properties has become the first real estate developer in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland to have a new 1.5°C-Aligned Science-Based Targets (SBTs) approved.

The new SBTs are approximately 50% more aggressive than its original 2°C-aligned SBTs approved by the Science Based Targets initiative in 2019. These new goals were officially approved in September 2021, meaning the company is on the right path to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and is supporting the Hong Kong Government’s pledge to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050.


Swire Properties is committed to reducing absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions, which will be supplemented by scope 3 reduction targets for its value chain emissions (upstream and downstream):


This is the latest milestone in Swire Properties’ long-running sustainability journey. In 1995, the company was instrumental in establishing the HK-BEAM green building assessment standard with some key industry stakeholders. By the 2000’s, they had begun setting ambitious energy saving targets – and achieving them.


Comprehensive strategy as a foundation


In 2016, Swire Properties launched a company-wide Sustainable Development 2030 Strategy and established 82 KPIs to achieve by 2020, including decarbonisation, energy reduction, waste reduction, indoor air quality improvement, and many more. By 2020, 79 of these KPIs had been reached. The company has established KPIs for 2025 and 2030 to drive sustainability forward; they now are firmly on track to achieve their vision: to be the leading sustainable development performer in the real estate industry globally by 2030.


In 2020, Swire Properties achieved more than a 40% carbon intensity reduction compared to the baseline for its Hong Kong and Chinese Mainland portfolios. 100% of its new projects under development achieved the highest ratings of green building certification; while 97% of all existing buildings are certified green buildings, of which 85% have achieved the highest ratings.


Innovation is key


Building on decades of experience, Swire Properties employs cutting-edge technologies that create significant sustainability results – like a cloud-based smart energy management platform which uses big data analysis and AI to optimise energy consumption. By analysing vast amounts of data, they can also apply monitoring-based commissioning and retro-commissioning tactics to improve existing buildings’ energy efficiency.


Another emerging technology under development is an integrated photovoltaics (“PV”), fuel cell and direct current (“DC”) microgrid solution at Taikoo Li Sanlitun in Beijing, which can generate and store solar energy, as well as distribute it more efficiently. This breakthrough solution is set to launch in 2022 at selected locations, and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 10%, compared to conventional energy-generation systems.


The company has also made remarkable progress in renewable energy adoption, including the adoption of 100% renewable electricity at Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu and Taikoo Hui, Guangzhou in 2020 and 2021 respectively. These achievements have increased the Company’s mix of renewable electricity in the Chinese Mainland to approximately 40%.


Sustainability: We All Count


Data and partnerships are also the keys to the company’s latest sustainable development advocacy effort: becoming the Principal Partner for the Hong Kong Green Building Council’s inaugural Advancing Net Zero Ideas Competition. Supporting the World Green Building Council’s global Advancing Net Zero project, the competition aims to encourage innovative entries from around the world with designs for future-ready buildings that enable a net-zero emissions economy.


To reduce embodied carbon throughout the lifecycle of its developments, the company is working with its contractors and suppliers to procure low-carbon building materials and foster better energy management at its construction sites. Swire Properties is also the first real estate developer in Hong Kong requiring low-carbon building materials contractually for its new projects.


In terms of tenant engagement, Swire Properties has been offering: free energy audits since 2008 to help tenants identify energy-saving opportunities; the Green Kitchen Initiative, which provides guidelines to in-mall F&B tenants to adopt more sustainable designs and operations, which use less energy and water, and encourages them to reduce waste. In addition to this, there is the Smart Waste Reduction Pilot Programme, a Hong Kong office-tenant initiative that launched this year and uses technology to track and gamify the waste reduction journey.


“In response to the dire warning issued by climate scientists, that the next 10 years will be critical to limiting global warming to 1.5°C, Swire Properties is devoting even more resources to help contribute to a sustainable world for future generations and to honour its commitments to the Business Ambition for 1.5°C,” said Tim Blackburn, Chief Executive of Swire Properties.


To find out more about Swire Properties’ sustainability efforts, explore the latest SD Report at https://sd.swireproperties.com/2020/en