Real Estate Company Achieves Carbon Neutrality Goal

July 08, 2011 / William Thomson, Green Homes Expert

Fortune 500 and S&P 500 real estate company CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. (CBRE) has achieved carbon neutrality for its 2010 global operations.

Real Estate Company Achieves Carbon Neutrality Goal

The goal to become carbon neutral kicked off in 2007 when CB Richard Ellis adopted a company-wide Environmental Stewardship policy, making the real estate company the first global commercial real estate services firm to achieve carbon neutrality.

Earlier this month, CB Richard Ellis Group completed the acquisition of ING Clarion Real Estate Securities (CRES) from Netherlands-based ING Group N.V. (ING), which still remains on schedule to close later this year with an approximated total purchase price of $940 million.

To achieve carbon neutrality, the real estate company implemented carbon mitigation programs such as green leasing standards and sustainable operation protocols, and then offset the remainder by investing in carbon mitigation projects, such as conservation-based forest initiatives, landfill methane destruction and sustainability projects in emerging economies.

The real estate company offset more than 50,000 metric tons of emissions for 2010.

“Sustainability has become fundamental to our client service offering,” said Brett White, chief executive officer of CB Richard Ellis.

“As the world’s largest third party manager of commercial property, with a 2.9 billion square foot global portfolio, we can have an outsized impact on the environment by helping our clients lower energy consumption, improve efficiency and reduce emissions. One of the best ways we can demonstrate our expertise is to lead by example in our own operations.”

CB Richard Ellis measures its carbon footprint annually using the internationally accepted standard known as the World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

The 2010 carbon measurement included all global emissions from sources controlled or owned by the real estate company, including its global fleet of vehicles, and direct electricity consumption.

In Australia, where carbon neutrality is defined by federal legislation, the measurement also includes emissions resulting from company activities that the firm does not directly control, such as corporate travel.

In line with internationally accepted carbon market and government standards, CB Richard Ellis has purchased carbon offsets from socially responsible projects around the globe. These projects were purchased through either JP Morgan Climate Care or 3Degrees and are certified according to the most stringent carbon industry standards. Projects include a conservation-based forest management project that increases sequestration and storage of carbon in a native redwood forest in Mendocino County, California, in the U.S.; methane capture and destruction projects in the U.S.; the replacement of traditional wood and coal burning stoves in developing Cambodian and Ugandan communities with higher efficiency stoves, which minimizes mining and deforestation in those areas; technology that allows a fertilizer production facility run by co-op farmers near Uttar Pradesh, India to replace naphtha (a toxic petroleum byproduct) with natural gas; and a biomass project in near Novodvinsk, Russia that converts the wood waste generated by a local paper mill to energy that supplies heat to neighboring communities

Since 2007, the real estate company has been implementing programs and practices to mitigate carbon emissions in its global occupancy. These programs include sustainable operations standards, employee education and awareness programs, and green leasing standards that have resulted in LEED certified offices in Beijing, Denver, Madrid, Minneapolis, Mumbai and Washington, DC.

The real estate company is headquartered in Los Angeles, and is reported to be the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm in terms of 2010 revenue.

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