Hibernia Real Estate Group Limited has reported a 28% reduction in carbon emissions across its portfolio in 2021 in its recently released 2022 Sustainability Report. Hibernia has now achieved reductions in scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions of 50% from its 2019 baseline. Progress on sustainability in the property sector is particularly important given the targeted 50% reduction in emissions from commercial buildings agreed to in the Government’s recent Sectoral Emissions Ceilings under the Climate Action Plan.
Hibernia’s progress has been achieved through consistent reductions across the portfolio: in 2021 energy usage decreased by 14%, water usage by 41% and building energy intensity decreased by 24%. Several buildings across the Hibernia portfolio now operate on 100% renewable energy, with three developments also generating their own electricity from their installed rooftop PV panels.
In 2021, Hibernia set ambitious targets to become a net zero carbon business by 2030, well ahead of the international targets of 2050, and signed up to the World Green building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. 57% of Hibernia’s office portfolio now has Building Energy Ratings (“BERs”) of B3 or better, compared to the national average of just 11%. Hibernia is targeting BER A ratings across 75% of its office portfolio by 2026.
Hibernia’s proposed development of the Clanwilliam Quarter will be fossil fuel free, making it the first all-electric development in Hibernia’s portfolio, and is designed with natural ventilation, reducing the need for mechanical alternatives. In keeping with other Hibernia offices, it will utilise renewable energy generation through rooftop mounted solar PV panels and health and wellbeing will form a key part of the design.
Hibernia’s ESG efforts have been recognised through several leading, global benchmarks: it received an CDP A- score in 2021, and four stars in the 2021 GRESB assessment. It has now aligned its reporting with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, addressing climate change related physical and transitional risks.
Tom Edwards-Moss, Chief Executive of Hibernia, said: “Addressing climate change is the key challenge of our time, and as owners and operators of commercial office developments, we have an opportunity to positively impact our industry and wider society. We are pleased with our sustainability progress, but also mindful that we have more to do.”
Neil Menzies, Director of Sustainability at Hibernia, added: “Our ambition to be a net zero carbon business by 2030 is important for all stakeholders in our business. While our 2021 consumption data was positively impacted by the restrictions on office usage during the pandemic, the results also reflect the actions we are taking and we are on track to achieve our net zero carbon target.”
Hibernia has also launched a new Community Engagement Charter, setting out principles for how it interacts with local communities and wider society. In 2021 Hibernia donated over €70,000 to local charities and continues to invest in future leaders through partnerships with the Trinity College Dublin Investment Society and University College Dublin’s Innovation Academy. Its Townhall space in 1WML has also hosted community events at no cost to local community organisations, while it has also partnered with renowned artist James Earley to create a mural at 50 City Quay celebrating the musical history of the Windmill Quarter. A further partnership with A Lust For Life, a youth mental health charity, has seen 22 schools and 500 students around Hibernia’s offices participate in the charity’s schools programme.