A Paris-Proof retail real estate sector: Taking stock of regulatory and market developments

Delivering the vision of climate-neutrality by 2050 as defined in the Paris Agreement is only achievable if the whole building stock, including retail real estate portfolios, is thoroughly renovated and sustainable design of new buildings is adopted.

The UNEP 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction shows that decarbonisation efforts and energy efficiency improvements are being outpaced by the increase of extreme weather conditions, rapidly expanding floor area and growth in demand for energy-consuming services.

The retail real estate sector is interested in increasing the sustainability of its buildings and with a renovation rate of about 4.4%/year, the opportunities abound: more than 60% of the retail stock will be upgraded by 2030, a unique trigger point to introduce sustainable solutions and apply the best available clean technology and low-carbon materials.

However, many developers and owners are still unsure how to prepare for a zero-carbon journey. This report is a status quo analysis of existing policy and market approaches to climate change actions and strategies relevant to the retail real estate sector. The report consists of three main sections:

  • A review of existing EU legislation that impacts the decarbonisation of the sector.
  • An overview of market initiatives including metrics and targets, definitions of zero-carbon buildings and other tools available to the RRE community that could provide critical pointers towards the appropriate level of ambition in terms of low-carbon performance.
  • A brief discussion of the challenges and opportunities related to carbon measurement, setting targets, and developing and implementing mitigation strategies.

The status quo analysis represents the starting point for developing a common vision and language on how to decarbonise the sector. The report aims to identify relevant policy and market developments that can inform tailored recommendations for industry players and policymakers respectively. Both these aspects will be further developed in the forthcoming outputs of the initiative.The report has been drafted based on desk research and workshops with representatives of leading RRE investment and management companies. The interviews with management members responsible for sustainability, corporate responsibility, corporate communication and property investment provided insights into the risks, opportunities, key drivers and barriers associated with the decarbonisation efforts of the RRE sector.

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BPIE supports evidence-based policy making by providing data and knowledge through its reports, as well as partnering in several European projects.


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