Net zero carbon and climate action

Introduction - if not now, when?


80% of the buildings that will exist in 2050 have already been built.

10 years left before we use up all of the global carbon budget based on today’s economic output.

40% of carbon emissions are from the built environment.

45% of FTSE 100 companies are committed to net zero carbon by 2050

By 2025 over 75% of the workforce globally will be Millennials or Gen Z

These are some pretty shock-inducing statistics. And to address them, last year, the UK government became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.

Your portfolio of buildings is no doubt made up of assets that will need to meet the requirements emerging from this net zero carbon goal, with regulatory, customer and economic pressure.

Taking action to tackle the climate crisis requires a transformation to the way you plan and operate your business today.

“The sustainability revolution has the magnitude of the agricultural and industrial revolutions but the speed of the digital revolution...
...This is the battle of your lifetimes, but we can turn the corner in the next 10 to 15 years and the assets you control can make a huge difference.”

AL GORE Generation Investment

Avison Young’s impact

We provide practical net zero carbon intervention options to help decarbonise your business and portfolios over time to minimise cost, maximise impact and de-risk your business.

We aim to integrate initiatives into your business model to create attractiveness for employees and clients, create long term transformation in your supply chain, optimise operational efficiency to reduce costs and ultimately protect asset value.

How do you feel about reaching net zero carbon?

  • We feel this is an important success factor for our business
  • We want to deliver technical results or better performance
  • We believe prioritised investment will deliver sustained benefits and add value to assets
  • We have ambition to transform in line with our peers and shareholder expectations
  • We believe it is the right thing to do
  • We don’t know where to start
  • We don’t have a strategic plan
  • We don’t know how to translate a corporate target into action
  • We don’t know how to prioritise interventions
  • We need to balance investment with emissions impact
  • We don’t know how and what to change

At Avison Young we recognise this opportunity as a key success factor for the resilience and health of your businesses, now and in the future. We also recognise the enormity of the challenge, with the need to plan and do things properly over time. We are here to help you along every step of your pathway to a net zero carbon future and adapt your business to a changing climate.

In the market place, industry frameworks and definitions, design standards and new and emerging policies are already helping to standardise approaches to net zero carbon buildings.

The direction of travel is for a managed transition of assets, enabling decarbonisation over time. There is a need to have an informed, prioritised and investable strategic plan and roadmap of activities for your portfolio of buildings.

The tools to implement your plan range from existing real estate levers, such as refurbishment and maintenance routines, supply chain engagement and leasing activities, to innovations, such as adoption of radical design standards and heat decarbonisation or renewable strategies and technologies.

The starting point

All of the main asset lifecycle stages present key intervention opportunities to make progress towards your net zero carbon target.

AY professionals have specialist tools and experience in all of these areas:

How we can help you – our services

Our approach to climate action and energy management is to first understand your needs in the context of your own organisation, portfolio and buildings.

We then work with you to create a strategic plan and net zero carbon roadmap that is tailored to your business goals, and finally help implement the necessary process changes or asset plans to achieve the desired outcomes.

If you are already on this journey, we can extend support at any stage in the following areas:



Step 1

Vision and commitment



Step 2

Strategy and planning



Step 3



Step 4

Measure and verify


Step 5

Disclose and improve

Why us?

We recognise the big challenges facing businesses. We have the expertise and resource to help you integrate this new thinking into your business strategy, portfolio management and projects. To demonstrate our leadership in this area, we committed to become net zero carbon in all of our operations by 2030, by signing the World Green Building Council’s ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment’.

In addition to our previous work in this area, we now have a very unique perspective on how to tackle the challenge and are able to share insights with clients seeking the same objective.

  1. We have the experience and expertise to deliver a comprehensive strategy. We have been working collaboratively with many teams on net zero carbon, from advising central government, city and local authority clients on making sense of – and breaking down – ambitious net zero carbon targets, to advising on low carbon measures on new build projects or existing building retrofits for asset managers.
  2. We are active members of groups across professional practice in public and private sectors, and members of the UK Green Building Council Net Zero Carbon Buildings Forum. Our work with the UK Green Building Council (UK GBC) and the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) enables us to develop and shape emerging industry best practice.
  3. All of our professionals are to be trained in carbon literacy and benefit from knowledge sharing across our global business.
In response to the global climate emergency, we made a commitment to reduce operational carbon emissions in all our UK occupied buildings to net zero carbon by 2030.
In doing so the company has signed up to the World Green Building Council’s (WGBC) Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.

The Rt Hon. Lord Deben (Chair of Committee on Climate Change) presenting to AY and clients on the challenges faced by the industry in achieving NZC and the importance of not delaying action.

November 2019

Real estate roadmap to net zero

Track record / experience

Drawing on our multi disciplinary team, comprising a blend of strategic and technical expertise, we have been successful in winning significant mandates to advise clients on specific net zero carbon strategies. We are also implementing the thinking and best practice into our existing services to ensure alignments with planned investment, programmed works and intended outcomes.

We have worked in the public and private sectors on behalf of owners, investors and corporate occupiers.

Case study 1

Anonymous public sector client (high profile, large portfolio strategy work)

Case study 2

Support ambitious private equity investor to develop a net zero carbon strategy for their portfolio

Case study 3

Local authority client planning and sequencing preventative and lifecycle works to decarbonise buildings over time

Knowledge and insights

All of our expertise is underpinned by up to date market knowledge and insights:


Trends and reports


Benchmarks, risks, opportunities and costs


Best practice working group participation, establishing consistency, advocacy


Design and retrofit, internet of things, monitoring systems

Contact your multi-disciplinary team of specialists