CBRE says it is the first global commercial real estate services firm to achieve carbon neutrality, meeting a goal set in 2007.
The company says it achieved neutrality by implementing carbon mitigation programs, such as green leasing standards and sustainable operation protocols, and then offsetting the remainder through investments in projects including forest conservation and landfill methane destruction. For 2010, the company offset more than 50,000 metric tons of emissions.
“Sustainability has become fundamental to our client service offering,” said chief executive officer Brett White. “As the world’s largest third party manager of commercial property, with a 2.9 billion square foot global portfolio, we can have an outsized impact on the environment by helping our clients lower energy consumption, improve efficiency and reduce emissions. One of the best ways we can demonstrate our expertise is to lead by example in our own operations.”
CB Richard Ellis measures its carbon footprint annually using the World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The company’s 2010 carbon measurement included all global emissions from sources controlled or owned by CB Richard Ellis, including its global vehicle fleet and direct electricity consumption. In Australia, where carbon neutrality is defined by federal legislation, the measurement also includes emissions resulting from activities that the firm does not directly control, such as corporate travel.
The firm’s efforts were led by its global Toward a Greener Tomorrow Committee under the guidance of Sally Wilson, global director of environmental strategy, and Dave Pogue, U.S. director of sustainability. The process was supported and the results validated by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers and ICF International.
The company bought its offsets through JP Morgan Climate Care and 3Degrees. Projects included:
- A conservation-based forest management project that increases sequestration and storage of carbon in a native redwood forest in Mendocino County, Calif.;
- Methane capture and destruction projects in the U.S;
- The replacement of traditional wood and coal burning stoves in developing Cambodian and Ugandan communities with higher efficiency stoves, which minimizes mining and deforestation in those areas;
- Technology that allows a fertilizer production facility run by co-op farmers near Uttar Pradesh, India to replace naphtha (a toxic petroleum byproduct) with natural gas;
- A biomass project in near Novodvinsk, Russia that uses wood waste from a local paper mill to supply heat to neighboring towns.