As COP26 comes to a close, one thing is clear: extremely challenging net zero targets will only be achieved by bold partnerships, whether that is between national governments or private sector organisations.

Mike Wiseman

Mike Wiseman

Richard Howling

Richard Howling

We can only hope that national governments renew their spirit of collaboration at COP26, but from the property industry’s point of view, there is so much we can do – particularly through owners and occupiers working together to create the most sustainable buildings.

At 1 Broadgate, where JLL has agreed to lease a new headquarters from British Land, a partnership approach is key, particularly in achieving our shared sustainability goals. British Land was already very focused on this, but the sustainability brief set by JLL was the most challenging it had seen.

JLL was the first real estate adviser in the UK to set a net zero carbon ambition and wanted to find a building that met its agenda of net zero carbon in operation, low embodied carbon in fit-out and having leading certifications, including WELL. In an evolving landscape, JLL also wanted a partner that could continue to push the boundaries.

In making this a reality, JLL and British Land have signed a green lease at 1 Broadgate, reinforcing the joint goal of achieving net zero. British Land is targeting net zero across its whole portfolio by 2030.

Next, both parties recognised that with buildings achieving net zero being measured according to their total energy output, collaboration needs to focus not only on building design and engineering systems, but also to base-build energy and energy consumed by the occupiers.

The Green Building Council benchmarks for 2030-35 are very challenging and will not be achieved without an occupier and investor partnership.


1 Broadgate: JLL’s new headquarters will be net zero carbon in operation

We recognise that delivering net zero at 1 Broadgate requires us both to take responsibility for our share of the building’s energy budget, using advanced approaches like NABERS UK’s energy rating system to optimise energy performance in the areas we each control. This will not be possible without collective responsibility and a single vision.

Collaboration crucial

Since signing the agreement for lease for 1 Broadgate earlier this year we have continued to work together to find solutions to further enhance the sustainability credentials of the scheme. We are exploring how to use recycle aggregates, procuring green energy and optimising supply chains to find local suppliers.

We are also planning to introduce a ‘materials passport’ focused on monitoring each of 1 Broadgate’s components and have created a lifecycle plan that enforces a circular economy approach throughout the project.

We can only achieve all this through collaboration between developer and occupier. The old cliché of the developer and tenant at each other’s throats has never been more irrelevant than when we are considering the spectre of climate change.

Developers now need to spend time properly understanding what is important to their customers and to tailor an occupational solution to each of them. A collaborative approach to the challenge is crucial, because this allows the developer to communicate with as many people as possible within the customer organisation.

At 1 Broadgate, JLL created a ‘Challenger Group’ to stress-test all aspects of the development. This group was a hand-picked selection of 20 people aged 25 to 55 from diverse backgrounds and disciplines who tested the JLL team leading the project and British Land at every turn.

All the data from employees at JLL and its wider workforce research across geographies and industries shows that people want to return to the workplace, pointing to a sustained appetite for a modern, flexible and digitally enabled workplace to support collaboration, innovation and teamwork. Customers across the office sector are asking for a new type of office that is modern, flexible and digitally enabled, to make the workplace an appealing prospect.

If that isn’t a big enough challenge, climate change and the net zero imperative are also acting as a catalyst for collaboration between developers and their customers.

The best buildings will be based on iterative design and refinements – custom built for their occupiers by developers willing to work in a spirit of partnership.

We anticipate seeing more detailed co-operation clauses written into partnership agreements to ensure that all sides achieve the best result. There is no alternative at this time: net zero is finally forcing the property world’s hand.

Mike Wiseman is head of office leasing at British Land and Richard Howling is head of UK consulting at JLL