Helping Grainger achieve climate leadership

Popping cubes
  • Case Study
  • 4 minute read
  • April 09, 2024

The company

Grainger Plc is the UK’s largest listed residential landlord, with a portfolio value of £3.3bn as of 30th September 20231. Grainger has an operational portfolio of over 10,000 homes across the UK and is aiming to grow its Build to Rent (BTR) portfolio.

The challenge

Real estate is one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise, and Grainger wanted to understand what emissions reduction targets were feasible and select the decarbonisation pathway that would be most cost and time efficient. By investigating and scrutinising Grainger’s potential climate targets, PwC was able to forecast how far this pathway could accelerate them towards net zero.

Grainger had already committed to existing emissions reduction activities. They wanted to understand what additional action was required across the value chain to ensure this pathway was scientifically aligned.

Assessing Grainger’s portfolio schedule was key for analysing if it was possible to meet absolute reduction targets specified by the target setting bodies. This was critical as Grainger expanded their BTR portfolio while also having limited control over how tenants use and procure energy. PwC’s Sustainability practice formed a multidisciplinary delivery team with skills in real estate, net zero transformation, Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) target setting and carbon markets to help Grainger explore a science-aligned pathway six weeks before year-end.

“PwC’s support has been so valuable in assisting with Grainger’s decarbonisation target setting approach and helping us quantify the impact of business decisions on our transition to net zero. PwC was able to engage personnel from across the business to support our understanding of the implications of science-based targets on our business operations.”

Charlotte Hopkinson
Head of Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility, Grainger Plc

The approach

Grainger had a carbon accounting baseline for their 2022 operations along with life cycle assessment data for completed developments in that year. PwC was able to project this baseline using Grainger’s portfolio pipeline and divestment strategy along with sectoral and specific decarbonisation projections to forecast this baseline forward. This gave Grainger a business-as-usual emissions forecast to compare both scenario and future year-end baselines and to see the impact of decarbonisation activities.

Grainger had already committed to decarbonisation activities in many parts of the business, including Scope 1 and 2, along with the energy their customers use, business travel and construction activities. PwC forecasted these decarbonisation actions for the year-on-year emissions to assess the impact these levers are going to achieve in the future.

Using PwC’s knowledge of the SBTi buildings sector and corporate guidances, Grainger was able to compare the decarbonisation potential of their existing actions and see if they were aligned to scientific decarbonisation pathways. It was then possible to assess further decarbonisation actions that Grainger could take to be able to align with a number of different target options.

These extended pathway options, along with PwC’s carbon markets specialists, were used to quantify the potential costs of their commitments and the cost effectiveness of actions against offsetting emissions.

“Real estate faces growing pressure to meet ESG targets but needs to navigate complex supply chain pressures, long asset life cycles and changing industry standards around building performance. The industry needs to adapt to navigate these challenges by focusing on business decisions that are both commercially attractive and sustainable.

Our work with Grainger is a great example of how business growth and decarbonisation can work in tandem, accelerating and supporting each other as business priorities.”

Ian Milborrow
Partner, Sustainability, PwC UK

The impact

Grainger was able to assess the carbon reductions they could achieve as a business and avoid costly decarbonisation levers that had smaller impacts on their carbon footprint. PwC helped identify and analyse more attractive and impactful options for Grainger’s portfolio, such as supplier performance tracking, lean construction and engaging with tenants.

PwC also upskilled Grainger on the complexities of the SBTi’s guidance to help develop an appropriate approach to SBTi target-setting and to engage stakeholders from across the business. With PwC’s support, Grainger gained a better understanding of the true costs that emissions reduction and offsetting would bring to the business and how to achieve climate credibility in the market.

Contact us

Ian Milborrow

Ian Milborrow

Partner, Climate Finance and Net Zero, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7738 845072

Christopher Temple

Christopher Temple

Net Zero Transformation Leader, PwC United Kingdom

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