Prologis UK and Planet Mark celebrate 15-year sustainability partnership


Prologis UK, owner and developer of logistics property, is celebrating a successful 15-year partnership with Planet Mark, a sustainability certification body serving organisations across industry sectors, which has seen the company significantly reduce its carbon impact.

In 2022, Prologis announced a goal, which will be submitted to the Science Based Targets Initiative for validation, to achieve net zero emissions by 2040. This is consistent with the company’s longstanding focus on ESG. Over the past 15 years, Prologis UK, with Planet Mark, has put sustainability firmly at the forefront of its development activities; embedding it into the design and construction process from start to finish.

An example of such initiatives is the work Planet Mark undertake with Prologis UK to engage the full construction supply chain, including all contractors, to ensure end-to-end visibility of carbon emissions, thereby identifying opportunities for reductions. 

To mark the 15-year partnership, Prologis UK and Planet Mark have published a joint report about Prologis UK’s approach ton reducing and mitigating carbon emissions, along with some facts and figures about its sustainability achievements. 

A key finding of the report is that based on 74 projects, spanning more than 19 million sq. ft. of development over a 15 year time period, Prologis UK has achieved a reduction in carbon emissions of 476,819 tCO2e. This represents an average reduction in whole-life carbon emissions of 25 percent.

Simon Cox, Head of Development Management at Prologis UK said: “This has been a ground-breaking programme, implemented at a time when the measurement, reduction and mitigation of carbon emissions was new to the real estate sector. Through our work with Planet Mark, we have gained invaluable experience and expertise, which will enable us to better serve our customers as we pursue of our newly published 2040 net zero goals.”

Steve Malkin, CEO Planet Mark said: “Over the past 15 years our work with Prologis UK has put sustainability firmly at the forefront of their developments. By striving to reduce embodied carbon in every building, engaging with communities and their supply chain, and mitigating unavoidable emissions by protecting endangered rainforest, they have stretched way beyond compliance to set a new standard for best practice. We recognise that net zero is imperative and definitions are rapidly evolving alongside innovation, and we look forward to embracing this evolution together.”

The whole-life carbon emissions of each project are measured using a Lifecycle Carbon Assessment (LCA), which follows recognised standards (BS EN 15978:2011) and methodologies, including the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ Whole Life Carbon Method, 2017. As it is impossible to eliminate all embodied carbon emissions when constructing new buildings, Prologis UK and Planet Mark also created a bespoke carbon mitigation scheme. 

While it was put in place several years earlier, the approach to carbon emissions reduction, elimination and mitigation employed by Prologis UK and Planet Mark aligns closely with the UK Green Building Council’s recently published frameworkdefinition for net-zero buildings. 

Prologis UK’s innovative carbon mitigation scheme has proved particularly successful in mitigating unavoidable carbon emissions through investment in large-scale rainforest protection programmes to avoid deforestation and lock-in carbon. These activities have been implemented in partnership with the global climate change charity, Cool Earth. The report quantifies the positive impact this scheme has had over the past 15 years; mitigating total embodied carbon emissions of 879,158 tCO2e  through the protection of 17,683 acres of ‘at risk’ rainforest. This has prevented the loss of 4.1 million trees to deforestation, which would have resulted in potential emissions impact of 4.8 million tCO2e. 

The whole-life carbon emissions of a typical distribution centre are typically 30 per cent operational and 70 per cent embodied. Operational emissions can be reduced through energy efficient design and onsite renewables. Although embodied carbon can be reduced through careful material selection and detailing it can never be entirely eliminated. The sustainability model put in place by Prologis UK and Planet Mark has been successful in mitigating – 100 percent of the unavoidable, embodied carbon emissions for all 74 projects assessed. 

The report highlights the importance of stakeholder engagement and quantifies the social impact of the 74 projects surveyed. There is a community engagement programme in place for each of the projects assessed. This has included sustainability workshops through which  for 63 local primary schools and 68 schools and colleges have achieved Planet Mark certification.

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