Australian Superfund Seeks Zero Emissions for Real Estate

Cbus sets goal to eliminate emissions from its A$5 billion property portfolio by 2030.

Cbus, an A$48 billion ($34.3 billion) Australian building and construction industry superfund, has set a goal to reduce the emissions generated by its property holdings to zero by 2030.

The superfund’s CIO, Kristian Fok, announced the target at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last week.

Cbus currently holds approximately $A5 billion in real estate through its flagship Cbus Property subsidiary, and property fund managers, including ISPT and AMP. The fund said conservative estimates suggest the size of its property holdings could more than double to over $A10 billion by 2030.

“We have crossed the line where our obligation has become a commercial imperative,” said Fok. “What’s more, we can access cheaper finance from lenders who view high-quality building projects as low-risk assets.”

Fok said designing buildings with new technologies in mind will be essential to reducing emissions over a building’s life.

“This is beyond just installing rooftop solar panels,” Fok added.  “Operable facades that both insulate and produce energy are the future. Buildings must be ready to adapt to these changes. Smart systems for climate control are improving every year and are an exciting area of energy efficiency.”

This past year has seen a sharp rise in the number of companies committing to reduce their emissions, according to the Science Based Targets Initiative, a collaboration among the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and not-for-profit charity CDP.

Between January and August of this year, more than 130 new companies—including Michelin, Kraft Heinz, and AB InBev—have joined the initiative, which independently assesses and validates corporate emissions reduction targets. This is more than a 39% increase compared to the same period in 2017, and 17% of Fortune Global 500 companies have now committed to set science-based targets, the group said.  

“Targets based on science are the only effective way to meet the challenges we face,” Anand Mahindra, CEO of car maker the Mahindra Group, said in a release.

“Around the world, hundreds of businesses are already showing that this is possible with substantial benefits to brand reputation and the bottom line.”

More than 480 global corporations have now committed to set emissions reduction targets in line with climate science and the goals of the Paris Agreement, according to the Science Based Targets Initiative.

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