Los Angeles — Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), a premier global developer and operator of flagship shopping destinations, has revealed details of its global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program — the most ambitious of its kind for a listed retail real estate company.
Called “Better Places 2030,” the CSR program will now formally extend to the United States and the United Kingdom, which were a part of the acquisition of Westfield by Unibail-Rodamco last year. Broadly, the program commits URW to reduce its total carbon footprint 50 percent by the year 2030 across every facet of the company — including building construction, business operations, visitor transportation and employee activities. Better Places 2030 will also tackle new challenges like responsible consumption and creating a circular economy.
In conjunction with the announcement, URW in the U.S. has also formally approved new solar power projects at three of its largest and most productive centers: Westfield Valley Fair in Silicon Valley (California); Westfield UTC in San Diego; and Westfield Garden State Plaza in New Jersey. Combined, the three new arrays will have a capacity of more than 4.1 megawatts (MW) and be able to generate more than 5.4 gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean, renewable energy.
With the completion of these new projects in 2020, seven URW centers in the U.S. will be powered by solar energy, including Westfield Century City (pictured), Fashion Square, Culver City, and Topanga & The Village in Los Angeles. In total, the solar capacity of these centers will exceed 10.9 megawatts (MW), with the capability of generating more than 14.2 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy — or an amount sufficient to power over 1,700 average-sized family homes on an annual basis. In total, these systems will be able to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by over 10,000 metric tons each year — the equivalent of taking more than 2,100 cars off the road each year.
In addition to solar power, URW is also focused on providing a diverse suite of other sustainable solutions throughout its U.S. portfolio, including waste management, water conservation and LED lighting systems that are expected to save 13 million kWh of energy per year by the end of 2019. URW is also working on integrating smart transportation infrastructure into its U.S. shopping centers — including public transportation connectivity, short distance carpooling programs, a national ridesharing partnership with Uber, and electrical vehicle (EV) charging spaces.
“Our company’s commitment to ambitious environmental goals is at the very heart of our overall business strategy,” says Jean-Marie Tritant, U.S. president of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. “We have no doubt that sustainability is paramount to our success and are continually seeking new ways to better serve our communities by improving our environmental footprint and strengthening our social impact.”
URW also provided additional detail regarding its plan to cut carbon emissions 50 percent by the year 2030, including:
- Designing sustainable buildings: Through the use of innovative design and construction solutions, URW will minimize its centers’ environmental impacts, including a 35 percent reduction in construction emissions by the year 2030(1). In addition, 100% of the company’s development projects will now integrate a circular economy design solution alongside long term climate risk mitigation plans by the year 2025.
- Improving eco-efficiency: URW teams will closely collaborate with retail tenants and contractors to reduce operations emissions 80 percent by the year 2030(1), while improving all centers’ energy efficiency by 30 percent, aiming to send zero waste to landfills, ensuring that each URW asset develop a site-specific climate change risk adaptation plan by 2022, and increasing by five times the on-site renewable energy capacity group-wide(1).
- Developing connectivity and social mobility solutions: URW will reduce transport-related emissions across its global portfolio 40 percent by the year 2030(1), while simultaneously striving to ensure that more than 50 percent of all worldwide guests utilize a sustainable means of transport when visiting a URW center and that all development projects connect with significant public transportation solutions by the year 2025.
- Integrating nature and biodiversity: URW will contribute to greener cities by protecting biodiversity, including the implementation of biodiversity action plans for 100 percent of the company’s development projects and existing assets (with significant biodiversity stakes) by the year 2022.