JLL: Demonstrating accountability through transparent reporting on climate action
JLL is a $19.4 billion U.S.-based commercial real estate company, with over 100,000 employees in 80 countries. As the built environment accounts for approximately 40% of CO2 emissions globally, JLL can have a significant impact by taking climate action with its clients, colleagues and communities.
The firm made its first global commitment to address its carbon footprint in 2011. In 2018, JLL set a science-based target to cut Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 68% by 2034. This target was aligned to the emissions pathway needed to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5°C. JLL also set a Scope 3 target to reduce emissions from the space managed on behalf of clients by 53% per square foot over the same period. It was formally approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in 2020.
In 2021, JLL embarked on even more ambitious climate action by setting a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 that encompasses its entire greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory. This commits JLL to reduce absolute Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 51% by 2030, and 95% by 2040, from a 2018 base year. Accepting that there will be some residual emissions in 2040, JLL has committed to offset no more than 5% of its 2018 baseline. In October 2021, to ensure full accountability, this target was certified by the SBTi to its new Net-Zero Standard, making JLL the first real estate company in the world with a validated net-zero target aligned to climate science.
Published in June 2022, JLL’s 2021 Global Sustainability Report provides a thorough report on progress. The annual report disclosed a 17% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions (verified by independent auditor Achilles), an 8% reduction in emissions from vehicle fleet and a 26% drop in Scope 3 purchased goods and services emissions (down from 409,397mt CO2e in 2018 to 303,118 in 2021).
JLL has also published two recent reports to explain the steps it is taking on the Transition to net zero, and how it is applying the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures to assess climate impacts on its own business. The findings show mitigation measures planned or already in place. 2022 saw the third published report under the guidelines of the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
The process of carbon accounting and reporting helps uncover risks and guide strategy. Transparent reporting on progress highlights barriers that markets and sectors are facing, which can spur policy, incentives and tools to help close the gap between corporate ambition and action. JLL’s reporting makes clear the potential barriers to progress, warning, “the physical risks to real estate are significant and the need to act cannot be understated,” stating that “over 96% of our emissions arise from the consumption in those buildings we manage on behalf of our clients. For JLL to be successful in achieving net zero by 2040, we need to support all clients in their own climate action journeys.”
Accountability is coupled with international advocacy. JLL became one of the first U.S.-listed companies to participate in the International Integrated Reporting Council and has continued to adopt the principles of the Integrated Reporting Framework in its financial reporting and sustainability materials. In 2020, JLL signed the World Green Building Council Net-Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, pledging to only occupy offices which are net-zero carbon in operation by 2030. While in late 2021, JLL partnered with the World Economic Forum to establish 10 Green Building Principles and a related roadmap to decarbonize the built environment. As a member of the High-Level Climate Champions Team for Race to Zero, JLL was the co-lead for the real estate sector at COP26. It will lead a delegation to COP27 to drive action and implementation of the sector commitments made at Glasgow.