Energy and environmental efficiency
Buildings represent approximately 40 per cent of the final energy consumption of Finland. Correspondingly, a significant proportion of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions, approximately 35 per cent, are created by the built environment. Recognising this, at Sponda we pay particular attention to the energy efficiency and environmental impacts of our properties. Energy efficiency is an integral element of all of our operations, ranging from property development projects to the renovation, maintenance and use of properties. Energy and environmental efficiency is one of our six responsibility priorities. The significant components of this priority include:
- The energy efficiency of properties
- Carbon footprint and renewable energy
- Supporting customers and increasing environmental awareness among employees
- Environmental efficiency of own operations
- Environmental certification of properties
- The sorting and recovery of property waste
- Water consumption at properties
We have set annual targets and actions for each component.
Energy efficiency is part of everything we do
Every day, nearly 35,000 people work in the office properties we lease to our clients and, on average, some 95,000 people visit our shopping centres each day. As much as nearly one third of the maintenance costs of an office building arise from electricity and heating costs, which means that co-operation with our customers, the tenants of our business premises, aimed at reducing energy consumption is of crucial importance.
Climate change is one of the significant megatrends affecting Sponda’s operations, and the current climate policy also influences our business. Accordingly, Sponda actively monitors the development of stricter EU regulations and national legislation as well as the implementation of international agreements aimed at mitigating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The year 2016 saw the entry into force of the Paris Climate Agreement, which is aimed at holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels.
In addition to the Paris Agreement, the Finnish National Energy and Climate Strategy was published in 2016, which is aimed at increasing the share of renewable energy of Finland’s final energy consumption to more than 50 per cent in the 2020s. The longer-term goal is a carbon neutral Finland. Through its own energy efficiency programme, Sponda aims to be among the pioneers of the property industry in promoting the achievement of these goals.
Sponda made a commitment to a new Energy Efficiency Agreement
In autumn 2016, Sponda made a commitment to the Property and Building Sector Energy Efficiency Agreement 2017–2025 which was executed by Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Finnish Ministry of the Environment and the Finnish Energy Authority. The aim of the agreement is to cover half of Finland’s binding energy savings target pursuant to the EU Energy Efficiency Directive by 2020. The indicative energy savings target stipulated by the agreement is 7.5 per cent by 2025, using energy consumption in 2015 as the baseline.
The target of Sponda’s own energy efficiency programme is to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in energy consumption by 2020, using the average consumption in 2001–2005 as the baseline. We are on schedule to achieve this target.
The management of energy and environmental targets
At Sponda, we monitor energy and water consumption, carbon footprint and waste management volumes for our properties located in Finland on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.
The management of Energy and environmental efficiency is the responsibility of the Sustainability Manager. She reports to the Senior Vice President, Property Development, who is in charge of environmental responsibility at the Executive Board level. Sponda’s Executive Board monitors the progress of company-level environmental targets on a regular basis. Sponda has an environmental responsibility steering group dedicated to environmental and energy efficiency in a broader sense. The group meets approximately four to six times per year and consists of the Sustainability Manager and five members of the company Executive Board.
Assessing the risks and opportunities associated with climate change
Sponda uses effective risk management to ensure the continuity of the company’s business operations, a good operating capacity and the achievement of key objectives. Risk management is integrated into the company’s planning and day-to-day operations. Sponda manages the risks associated with its operations by identifying, measuring and preventing key uncertainties. Risks are assessed in terms of their probability as well as their financial impact. Sponda’s key risks are classified as strategic risks, operational risks, damage and asset risks, and financing risks.
Environmental responsibility is one of Sponda’s strategic priorities and its importance is reflected also in the risk management process. The risks and opportunities presented by climate change were incorporated into the Executive Board’s regular risk assessment in 2014. The climate change risk assessment is updated annually. The impacts of climate change on Sponda’s operations are assessed on the basis of their probability and the magnitude of the impact. The assessment also covers the potential financial impact, risk management measures and risk management costs that would arise if a climate change risk were to materialise.
Examples of climate change-related risks to Sponda’s operations include increased extreme weather phenomena and a rise in the sea level.
Green Office premises complement Sponda’s own activities
Our head office in central Helsinki and our coworking space MOW (Mothership of Work) are part of the WWF Green Office programme. As part of the programme, the properties have focused on areas including energy savings, waste sorting, environmentally friendly procurement and day-to-day environmental awareness among personnel. In addition to the environmental aspects of office work, at our head office we have invested in environmentally friendly commuting in the form of company bicycles and low-emission company cars.