Edge commits to zero carbon – with no offsets

The developer behind some of Europe’s most iconic smart buildings is among real estate’s first major players to commit to absolute zero carbon.

Edge’s ambition is to reduce all emissions – including those from its supply chain – to absolute zero by 2050 or earlier.

Best known for The Edge in Amsterdam, which received widespread coverage for its boundary-pushing digital connectivity and impressive 98.36% BREEAM sustainability rating, Edge has a reputation for being at the forefront of smart, green developments.

Backed by the Science Based Targets Initiative, Edge’s net zero roadmap targets are:

  • Now: cut embodied and operational emissions in all new projects by at least 50%. Buildings will have a maximum embodied carbon target of 500kgCO2e per sq m. Landlords have an annual operational energy target of 25 kWh per sq m. Residual emissions (including in corporate operations) will be offset.
  • By 2030: corporate emissions will be down at least 50% on the pre-Covid baseline. Developments will be within the 50% reduction pathway, if not more. Remaining offsets will be reduced 50% compared to 2022.
  • By 2050: no carbon emissions, no offsetting

Collaboration is key

Coen Van Oostrom Founder And CEO Edge

Coen Van Oostrom, founder and CEO of Edge

The developer said that achieving absolute zero carbon will require “significant change” in the construction industry.

To reach its targets, Edge will work with partners to develop new building methods and reduce reliance on offsetting. Sustainable materials, such as timber; recycling and reuse; and renewable energy will play a major role in that.

Coen van Oostrom, founder and CEO of Edge, called on the industry to work together in responding to climate changing.

He said: “We believe success relies on cross-industry co-operation towards radical change. From now on we are halving all carbon emissions of our newly announced projects.

“And while we are currently using offsets, we do not see these as a viable solution to our climate problems and are totally committed to reducing our reliance on them to zero.”

In the meantime, Edge will work with Compensate, a not-for-profit organisation that helps businesses identify what it calls “high-quality offsetting projects”.

Regarding indirect Scope 3 emissions, which rely in part on convincing tenants and the supply chain to cut its emissions, an Edge spokesperson told PlaceTech: “Edge’s commitment to cutting Scope 3 emissions will rely on data collected from the company activities and the project supply chain to measure and accelerate the roadmap in the coming years.”

The spokesperson added that while it is impossible to “completely eradicate” carbon from development at the moment, it has set up a “clear framework and process” to reduce emissions in all its markets.

“As a leader in the field, [Edge] will also encourage its partners and suppliers to commit to similarly ambitious targets.”

Is the Edge pledge unique?

While net zero pledges are hardly new or surprising, Edge’s commitment to cut carbon emissions altogether is more ambitious than most.

In Europe, few developers have gone that far. Lendlease Europe was perhaps the first recognisable name to come out with an absolute zero plan back at the end of 2020. You can read its roadmap to absolute zero by 2040 here.

Not to be outdone, NREP released its (even more ambitious) plan to hit absolute zero by 2028 last October. The plan hinges on three exploratory projects – which it calls “earth shots” – in the residential, logistics and retrofit sectors to find a way to “re-engineer” the building process and hit that target.

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