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Heimstaden’s Climate Goals 2.0: Raising the Bar

07 April 2022

With sustainability as part of our DNA, we have revised our climate targets to further raising the bar. Although the percentage of CO2 reduction was higher in the targets from last autumn, Heimstaden's Chief Sustainability Officer, Katarina Skalare, ensures that the new targets are even more ambitious.

Sharper targets lead to higher investments and Heimstaden's total investment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 exeeds to almost SEK 7 billion. 

What is new in Heimstaden’s revised climate targets?

“In our previous version we only covered two scopes; direct emissions (from gas, oil, and coal) and indirect emissions (purchased energy such as district heating and electricity). In the revised goals, we have included a third scope. The main factor in this scope is reducing energy used by tenants, but also previously communicated requirements for all our suppliers that +70% of purchased goods set targets in line with Science Based Targets.”

How does Heimstaden ensure that the goals set in the strategy are realistic and reachable?

“To succeed in such extensive work, we must be sure that the strategy is feasible and that measures we implement have the effects we want. Therefore, we will submit our targets to the Science Based Targets initiative and are looking forward to receiving validation and feedback from them. With the support from the initiative and a division of responsibilities that extends throughout the organisation, from the Board of Directors and senior executives to line managers and to individual employees, we are confident in our ability to realize these ambitions.”

In 2021 Heimstaden launched ambitious climate goals. This included 46 percent CO2 reduction by 2030. Now this percentage is changed to 42 percent, why is that?

“In the new goal formulation, we have added the third scope because we saw a significant shift in emission between the years 2019 and 2020. In addition, our property portfolio changed radically with our entry into the Czech Republic in 2020. Therefore, we also changed the base year from 2019 to 2020. For a climate target with a base year 2020, the Science Based Targets Initiative requires a reduction target of 42% to be in line with the Paris Agreement. With both the supplier engagement target and suggested target for emissions from energy used by tenants, we do not expect any necessary changes in our climate targets after this review.”

Does this mean that Heimstaden lower their climate ambitions?

“No – not at all. This means that we have a much sharper goal. However, when we make fuel changes in scope 3, we move emissions to scope 2 at the same time as we radically reduce them. This means that scope 2 emissions increase slightly - but seen as a whole, all scope, emissions decrease. The new goal means no changes in the number of measures linked to scope 1 and scope 2, we will invest more than previously communicated – a total of almost SEK 7 billion”

It’s been almost six months since these goals where set. Do you have a quick update on our progress?

“We have started implementation of our climate roadmap and will work intensively to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions across our property portfolio. The effects of energy investments on the properties’ heating systems can only be fully monitored when they have been in operation during the cold period of the year. Normally, trimmings and one calendar year of operation are required before these are fully effective. In addition to this operational phase, most energy investments require planning, and even in some cases, permission from authorities, which also means that project start can be delayed from several months up to one year after a decision on implementation. We started the climate goals implementation last fall and has come a long way in a short period of time.”

Here are some highlights:

  • The intensity figures per square meter on energy (where the heat is normal year-adjusted) have improved in all countries, except Germany where we recently built an energy organization that will focus on energy improvements.
  • Exchanged several old gas boilers in Germany to more efficient ones, leading to an energy reduction up to 30% per property
  • Replaced all oil tanks in the Netherlands for an efficient natural gas boiler
  • Finished five sustainability projects in the Netherlands, with the aim to reduce energy and emissions by, for example, insulating buildings
  • Completed insulation projects impacting 1,400 flats in the Czech Republic, resulting in an energy reduction of around 9,500 GJ/year
  • Installed exhaust air heat pumps in a property in Sweden, resulting in an energy reduction up to 25%
  • Installed control systems in five buildings in Norway, reducing energy usage by a minimum of 7%
  • Replaced 800 windows in 200 apartments in Norway to avoid energy loss
  • Implemented a monitoring and control system as a pilot project in Denmark, expecting to reduce energy usage by 3–7% per property. In the first property we reduced energy usage by 10%.

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