QuadReal’s purpose is to create environments that enhance the lives of the people and communities we serve. As a global real estate leader and Responsible Company, we strive to make a positive impact in mitigating climate risk through investments in practical, cost-effective solutions to reduce our carbon footprint.

A changing world brings uncertainties and opportunities. Therefore, QuadReal is committed to lead in our performance, putting climate-related considerations at the forefront of our decision-making with an accelerated target to reach net zero carbon.

QuadReal is committed to net zero carbon by 2050 across its global portfolio in alignment with science-based carbon reduction goals. We plan to continue leading by example to build a foundation for enduring and resilient businesses, cities, communities and ecosystems.

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What is Net Zero Carbon?

Net zero is not just a concept-it is achievable. It helps to understand what exactly ‘net zero’ means as we strive to reach it as a goal. Net zero carbon is defined as a state where no incremental greenhouse gases are being added to the atmosphere. For QuadReal, this means cutting carbon emissions from the development, ownership, operation and servicing of buildings in the portfolio to as close to absolute zero as possible.

Why Net Zero for QuadReal?

Leaders in the real estate sector have a critical role to play in reducing carbon emissions. At QuadReal, our long-term success is one we share with our clients as we continue delivering strong financial returns and prudent growth for generations to come. As an active manager, we see four primary drivers for committing to net zero:

Aligning with the Science

The science is clear. To limit global warming to 1.5°C, a goal set by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), all sectors need to reduce their share of carbon emissions. The building and construction sector is a huge driver of climate change. As a Responsible Company, QuadReal is seizing the opportunity to challenge the status quo by setting measurable targets and monitoring our impact to reduce energy consumption, water consumption and waste production and their associated greenhouse gases.

Living our Values

With Performance, Responsibility and Innovation as three of QuadReal’s values, taking practical action aligns with our commitment to make a positive impact in our communities, now and for the future. Our fundamental responsibility to deliver excellence for our stakeholders drives our motivation to develop and manage our portfolio to cut if not eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.

Innovation will include piloting projects that will improve the role that our buildings play in our ecosystems as we also consider ways to increase the use of renewable energy. Performance will be enhanced by providing leading-edge tools and training to empower our people to continuously improve operational processes and reduce our environmental footprint.

Advancing Sustainable Performance

QuadReal’s pursuit of excellence includes meeting the rising demand for highly rated, low-carbon buildings on track to achieve net zero status or certification. Just as green-certified buildings have outperformed in the past decade, we believe net zero buildings will outperform the market in the coming years.

Cultivating our ESG Mindset

Proactive real estate management is critical to global decarbonization efforts for reasons that are compelling for all QuadReal’s stakeholders. Our net zero ambitions will also meet the growing appetite for workplaces and homes that support environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations. With climate change being one of the major challenges and opportunities of our time, we are committed to providing the best sustainable spaces for our tenants, residents and guests. The support and expectations of our clients and all members of our community inspire us to do better each and every day.

Accelerating Positive Change

As we accelerate from theory to action, we expect the strength of our progress and partnerships will create a realistic roadmap the real estate industry can follow to support a low-carbon transition.

Our first proof point will be presenting QuadReal’s carbon transition tool to the real estate industry and sharing insights about our process and approach to net zero transition training. This will come to fruition as QuadReal shares tools, insights and resources annually at industry conferences and through our industry association partners.

By making our wins and learnings transparent, we aim to drive a shared agenda for the real estate industry. By presenting a strong business case, we hope to create alignment across the sector and our peers, coalition-build toward a common goal and motivate other decision-makers to take action.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why make this net zero commitment now?

We have long known that the market would both pull and push industries toward net zero carbon, and our values have aligned with global net zero ambitions for several years. This accelerated commitment will support us in delivering collaborative outcomes to our tenants and residents who wish to achieve their own carbon goals.

How is this different from QuadReal’s previous emissions reduction targets?

When QuadReal was established in 2016, we set a goal to reduce carbon emissions of our Canadian operations by 80% by 2050. Our teams exceeded expectations: in Canada, we have achieved a 30%+ reduction in carbon emissions compared with our 2007 baseline, and we did it despite the portfolio being larger in 2021.

This represents substantial progress to date although it is understood now that more can be done. QuadReal has made new adjustments so our ambitious carbon strategy going forward aligns with science-based targets:

  • Where we have operational control, we will prioritize carbon reduction at the property level driven by low carbon energy use and fuel switching. This will allow us to double our historical pace of progress on carbon reduction from 2% to 4% annually beginning in 2025.
  • We will expand the scope of our carbon reduction commitments to QuadReal’s entire global portfolio. Since our inception in 2016, the international portfolio has changed largely from investments in third-party managed pooled funds to direct ownership and asset management in-house. We are already layering annual carbon reporting into our partnership agreements, and we will set initial carbon reduction targets beginning with our direct equity investments, and incrementally expand these throughout the international portfolio.

How did QuadReal develop this new net zero carbon commitment?

QuadReal’s net zero target is in line with the leading global carbon commitment programs. Our pathway to net zero carbon is designed to be measurable and to reduce long-term risks while maintaining short-term portfolio returns.

This pathway meets the fundamentals of two leading pledge frameworks:

  • The Race to Zero Campaign: a globally recognized alliance of leading net zero initiatives with deep connections to the UN and European financial institutions.
  • The Climate Pledge: Amazon’s signature sustainability commitment, which we chose for its flexibility to support financial growth.

What is QuadReal’s path to net zero, and how will the organization measure its progress?

Our plan prioritizes acting now and setting a pace that aligns with sustainable financial growth. This plan broadens and deepens our 2016 commitment and builds upon our capacity and increased visibility related to reductions for our Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions1:

Year Target and How We Measure Progress
2025 Net zero property-level plans in place for global portfolio
2030 50% carbon reduction of QuadReal’s directly managed portfolio

Tracked emissions sources to include all landlord-paid utility bills (electricity, heating fuels, water, waste, refrigerant leakage) and QuadReal’s corporate emissions (corporate travel, employee commuting and leased corporate offices)

2040 All Canadian offices achieve net zero emissions, 50% carbon reduction of QuadReal’s international portfolio

Tracked emissions sources to include all tenant-paid utility bills and embodied carbon from new development and refurbishment

2050 Global portfolio is net zero carbon

Tracked emissions sources to include all property emissions (landlord, tenant and resident)

To achieve these targets and hold ourselves accountable, carbon audits will replace energy audits, which will inform property-level net zero transition plans.

1The GHG Protocol defines direct and indirect emissions as follows:

  • Direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the reporting entity.
  • Indirect GHG emissions are emissions that are a consequence of the activities of the reporting entity, but occur at sources owned or controlled by another entity.

The GHG Protocol further categorizes these direct and indirect emissions into three broad scopes:

  • Scope 1: All direct GHG emissions.
  • Scope 2: Indirect GHG emissions from consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam.
  • Scope 3: Other indirect emissions, such as the extraction and production of purchased materials and fuels, transport-related activities in vehicles not owned or controlled by the reporting entity, electricity-related activities (e.g. T&D losses) not covered in Scope 2, outsourced activities, waste disposal, etc.

Will QuadReal buy its way to net zero with carbon offsets?

No, we believe in the fundamental principle of reduction or elimination of emissions altogether to decrease our footprint. Our 2030 goal includes no allowance for offsets, while our 2040 and 2050 milestones allow us to offset an absolute maximum of only 10% of our baseline emissions through renewable energy credits or carbon offset markets.

What does a net zero future look like for QuadReal’s portfolio?

Most of our buildings can achieve a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency upgrades and smart technology. The remaining reductions will come through fuel switching (moving from fossil fuel-based heating to high-efficiency electric heating), and sourcing clean or renewable energy directly from providers wherever we can—or producing it ourselves. We have a growing number of large-scale solar rooftop installations underway on industrial buildings, and more are in the works.

How will QuadReal’s net zero carbon commitment support a low-carbon transition for the real estate sector?

As we accelerate from theory to action, using our net zero carbon targets to make a positive impact, we expect the strength of our progress and partnerships will create a realistic roadmap our industry can follow.

Our first proof point will be presenting QuadReal’s carbon transition tool to the real estate industry and sharing insights about our process and approach to net zero transition training. This will come to fruition as QuadReal shares tools, insights and resources annually at industry conferences and through our industry association partners.

By making our wins and learnings transparent, we aim to drive a shared agenda for the real estate industry. By presenting a strong business case, we hope to create alignment across the sector and our peers, coalition-build toward a common goal and motivate other decision-makers to take action.