Industry superannuation-backed property funds manager ISPT has unveiled plans to embark on a new company-wide rooftop solar rollout and sign up to new renewable energy power purchase agreements, as part of a goal to become a net positive producer of carbon offsets by 2025.
ISPT, which oversees a $19 billion portfolio of commercial real estate, set the new target on Tuesday, after announcing that it had achieved an industry-first 100% carbon neutral certification in 2020.
ISPT, which had been working to drive down emissions through energy efficiency, onsite renewables, offsite renewables through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), said it had decided to take “immediate action” to get its carbon neutral status, rather than set a future date for the goal. It did this by procuring 100% Australian Carbon Credit Offset Units (ACCUs) with a focus on programs connected to Indigenous communities.
The carbon neutral certification – awarded by the federal government-backed Climate Active – covers the base building operations of ISPT’s 91 owned and operated properties, where it has full operational control, as well as for its corporate offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
As part of the offsetting project – which ISPT claims to be Australia’s largest local effort, yet – the property giant has invested in seven community-based projects to protect and regenerate native land to restore habitats for plants and animals and drive positive economic outcomes for Indigenous owned-businesses and communities.
As for the longer-term target of becoming a net-positive producer of carbon offsets by 2025, ISPT says it will achieve this in various ways, including through the establishment of further power purchase agreements, the roll-out of Stage 3 of its National Solar PV Project, and through carbon sequestration with the carbon conservation land bank.
The first two stages of the company’s National Solar PV Project have so far invested more than $12 million installing solar panels on 24 commercial and retail building rooftops.
- According to the website, investigations into Stage 3 are underway on 30 commercial and retail buildings, with an estimated project budget of $7.1 million. Stage 3 will also investigate industrial-scale applications of solar, coupled with new technologies such as battery storage.
By the end of stage four, ISTP says it expects to have more than 50 buildings with solar installed. On the larger end of the renewables scale, ISTP has been a part of the ground-breaking Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP2), through which it has secured a long-term renewable electricity contract for 22 properties.
“ISPT doesn’t just invest in property – we seek to build better and more sustainable futures for our investors, customers and communities,” said the company’s chair Rosemary Hartnett, in a statement.
“Achieving carbon neutral status is testament to this commitment and 15 years of hard work and perseverance by ISPT’s team and board.
“We have chosen to take positive action today and to continue to build on this into the future. ISPT is committed to becoming a net positive producer of carbon offsets by 2025, to protect our planet and grow the savings of half of all Australians through both responsible investment and action.”
Alicia Maynard, ISPT’s general manager of sustainability said the funds manager recognised the need to anticipate and manage the impacts of climate change as part of its responsible investment approach.
“This is why we have taken action now to achieve carbon neutrality across 100% of our owned and operated properties where we have full operational control, and in doing so, will support positive environmental, social and economic outcomes for Australians,” Maynard said.
Dr Shane Norrish, the chief executive of Landcare Australia welcomed ISPT’s “outstanding initiative” and supported it to become the first property owner and developer in Australia to achieve carbon neutrality.
“Our national footprint and over 30 years of experience in restoring and preserving the natural environment while supporting communities, makes this a strong collaboration,” Norrish said.