Ritesh discusses the increasing importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles in the commercial real estate (CRE) sector, particularly in the context of the pandemic and climate-related events. Adopting ESG principles has become a strategic imperative, providing businesses with a competitive advantage by enhancing brand recognition, attracting customers and employees, and increasing financial viability. The article also highlights the need for sustainable buildings in the face of growing urbanization and economic growth, as well as the potential benefits of retrofitting existing buildings to improve their environmental performance. Additionally, the article describes the TATA Group’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045 and their recent achievement of the EDGE Zero Carbon certification for the Ramanujan Intellion Park in Chennai. Overall, the article emphasizes the critical role that the CRE sector can play in promoting sustainability and reducing carbon emissions.
Mr. Ritesh has more than 20 years of experience in Commercial Leasing & Asset Management. His last assignment was with Colliers International as Head of Occupier Services, India & MD South India. Prior to joining Colliers International, he was associated with Cushman & Wakefield as MD, South India and was responsible for expansion of commercial leasing services. He also handled various portfolios in Cushman & Wakefield’s tenant advisory group.

The global challenges of the past two years, such as the pandemic and climate-related events, have disrupted businesses in an unprecedented way. It has heightened the focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues across industries including the office real estate (CRE) sector.

Adopting ESG principles has become a strategic imperative in the Real Estate industry. The conversation has moved dramatically from ‘nice to have’ to ‘indispensable’ into the strategy of the organisation. When an organisation adopts ESG principles into their purpose, they gain greater brand recognition, attract customers and employees, and thus enjoy a competitive advantage.

We live in a global, hyper-connected world where our economic-survival depends on all of our individual actions. To intercept this greatest threat, it was imperative that both the developing and developed nations come together and work towards eradicating it. The overall real estate market, including office buildings, account for a significant portion of global emissions and it is essential to address existing building stock and turn brown buildings green. From an economic perspective, unsustainable buildings are becoming increasingly undesirable and tough to finance, boosting the demand for new or retrofitted buildings.

How can we diminish? Is stopping construction the answer? No, reason being;

India has seen tremendous urban progress. It is estimated that by 2030, more than 400 million people will be living in cities in India. Cities occupy 3 percent of land, but their contribution to India’s gross domestic product is a huge 60 percent. With close to 20 million migrants moving from rural to urban areas every year, explosive urban growth is expected to continue. The urban share of India’s population was around 31 percent according to the 2011 census and is expected to cross 40 percent by 2030. According to the Centre for Economics and Research, India will become the third largest economy by 2035, up from its current fifth position, and the WEF believes India can still achieve an 8% GDP growth this year. Finally, Real Estate Industry is the 3rd largest contributor for job creation – 53.69 million.

How do we achieve carbon zero in new buildings?

Achieving zero emissions from the new construction will require energy-efficient buildings that use no on-site fossil fuels and are 100% powered by on- and/or off-site renewable energy. In addition, it is equally important to address the existing building stock and turn brown buildings green.

Increase Green Leases – Clients can drive the demand by focusing on green buildings and signing lease agreements with green buildings exclusively.

Retrofitting the brown buildings – retrofitting old buildings to transform them into green buildings. With only 2% of existing buildings equipped to support the global net-zero goal in their current states, green refitting’s and transformations will become imperative to maintaining their value.”

Circular Economy Commitments – Reuse, recycle, reduce use of finite resources across operations, products and supply chains.

As global ‘responsible’ citizens, Project Aalingana is the TATA Group’s aspiration of net zero by 2045: ‘Embracing the planet, embracing the future’ Continuing the theme and common cause of the group, TATA Realty’s approach to ‘Responsible Real Estate’ is based on a 5R approach allowing us to lead the change with purpose.

Keeping in mind the TATA Group’s philosophy of taking pioneering positions in business of national importance, we are not only delighted but proud to lead with a ‘Zero’! Ramanujan Intellion Park, OMR, Chennai, is the first campus in India to receive the EDGE Zero Carbon certification by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Improving the efficiency

Achieved maximum savings across the project; 42% Energy savings; 28% Water Savings, 25% Less embodied energy in materials. The buildings in the campus use 91% of off-site renewable energy and 2% on-site renewable energy. The remaining 7% of usage comes from the grid, and this has been offset to help the project achieve net zero operational carbon.

‘We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly! ” – Ann Marie Bonneu


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