Scentre Group flexes sustainability muscle with 2030 net zero target

Westfield Sydney

Shopping centre owner Scentre Group has announced a net zero emissions target by 2030, matching the commitment made by its competitor, Vicinity Centres, late last year.

Scentre Group, which is behind some of Australia’s most profitable malls, is aiming for net zero across its wholly-owned portfolio of 12 Westfield shopping centres. Vicinity is also aiming for net zero carbon by 2030 across its 34 wholly-owned shopping centres.

The group has interests in a total of 41 shopping centres across Australia and New Zealand.

Like other retail companies, the company has recognised there’s plenty of space on the roof of its shopping centres for solar, and that mainly daytime operations mean shopping centres are well suited to renewable power from the sun’s rays.

There’s now solar panels adorning five of its shopping centres – Westfield Marion, Westfield Plenty Valley, Westfield Carousel, Westfield Kotara and Westfield Coomera. It says its solar fleet generated a total of 9GWh in 2019.

Vicinity Centres has also gone big on solar, with 20 solar projects in the works worth a total of $73 million.

According to Scentre Group’s chief executive officer Peter Allen, the company has reduced its electricity use every year and is beating its emissions reduction targets. In the 2018 sustainability report, Mr Allen states that the group had reduced its emissions intensity by 25 per cent, ahead of its target year of 2025.

It’s targeting a 4.5 NABERS target by 2025, and so far has an average NABERS portfolio rating of 4.13.

Mr Allen said that facility managers are using energy monitoring tools and digital platforms to make decisions and drive energy efficiency on a daily basis.

For example, a new Building Management System in the 40-year-old Westfield Hurstville has helped the facilities management team achieve an 11.2 per cent reduction in energy in 2018 compared to 2017.

The sustainability team has a new head, Colin Roberts, who was brought on last November to replace Benjamine Duncan, who is now head of sustainability at University of Technology Sydney.

Mr Roberts joined in November as national environmental manager. Prior to Scentre Group, he spent a decade working for Caltex, primarily in sustainability roles. He previously worked with Coffee International as national portfolio manager oil and gas.

More information on the company’s environmental performance will be detailed in a Responsible Business report at the end of the first quarter 2020.

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