Manulife Investment Management announces strategy to meet GHG reduction target of 80 per cent for its real estate assets by 2050

Manulife Investment Management has released its 2021 Real Estate Sustainability report, which focuses on how the firm is driving leadership in sustainable real estate across our global organisation, and includes details on the greenhouse gas (GHG) model developed for real estate assets, which sets a reduction target of 80 per cent by 2050.

“We are very proud of this responsible move, which represents a step forward in our commitment to climate change mitigation and our role in the transition to a healthier planet,” says Steve Blewitt, Global Head of Private Markets. “Manulife Investment Management’s real estate team has been measuring and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions in our sustainability reports since 2017. Setting this realistic target demonstrates our commitment to holding ourselves accountable and achieving high standards across climate-related considerations.”
 
To actively demonstrate efforts in carbon reduction, Manulife Investment Management has started initiatives to identify ways to reduce GHG emissions across its global real estate portfolio. Over the past year, the firm conducted a deep carbon retrofit study at its buildings, in addition to updating the leasing process, with a greater focus on sustainability. This is part of a strategic approach focused on four pillars:
 
Efficiency measures – conventional, cost-effective, incremental energy improvements through on-going building commissioning and efficient operations.

Fuel switching – switching from high to low carbon intensity infrastructure through infrastructure renewal (delivering immediate emissions reduction where the electrical grid is less carbon intensive today, and additional emissions reduction as the grid improves).
 
Onsite renewables and storage – installing items, such as rooftop solar panels, especially in regions with carbon-intensive electrical grids.
Carbon offsets and Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) – purchasing carbon offsets and power purchasing agreements (PPAs) to address energy/carbon that remains after the above actions are completed.
 
To support these initiatives and better understand its current standing, Manulife Investment Management’s real estate team will work to implement this overarching strategy, identifying regional and asset-level opportunities where energy and associated emissions can be reduced. All projects will also be evaluated in terms of their carbon-based returns and how they will assist with the reduction in emissions.
 
“Our approach to sustainability in real estate incorporates ESG considerations into all our practices and investment management. Through carbon emission reduction, Manulife Investment Management aims to be a key player in the transition to a low carbon economy,” says Regan Smith, Global Head of Real Estate Sustainability. “It is with that in mind that we designed a strategy informed by climate science to reduce our carbon output across our real estate portfolio.”