Rabobank Office Portfolio Sustainability Strategy – Arup

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Rabobank Office Portfolio Sustainability Strategy
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At a glance
Climate change, sustainability and decarbonisation are among the most pressing issues facing the built environment this century, and fast becoming a major concern for the real estate industry as a whole.
Net-zero commitments, fast-moving sustainability requirements and reporting standards, alongside growing tenant demands for more sustainable buildings are colliding with rising energy prices and the all too real consequences of a changing climate with extreme weather events such as flooding.
For Dutch cooperative lender Rabobank, a signatory of the Paris Agreement, the fundamental challenge was how to embed this climate commitment at the heart of its own office buildings in the Netherlands. What does the Paris climate pledge actually mean for its 125-strong office building portfolio? And how do you break these decarbonisation ambitions into actionable goals, with measurable KPIs to track progress?
The legally binding Paris Agreement sets a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C. While Rabobank had already drawn up a CO₂ dashboard to monitor energy-related data from its portfolio, it did not contemplate interventions on the circular economy, biodiversity or climate adaptation front.
Our team of property advisors, digital consultants and sustainability specialists put together a proposal to help the bank develop an all-encompassing sustainability strategy with interim goals focused on four key themes: energy, climate adaptation, circular economy and biodiversity.
Harnessing our proprietary digital methodology, our team carried out an extensive energy performance assessment of Rabobank’s office portfolio, highlighting that about half of the office building portfolio was in fact consuming more energy than expected. 
 
Project Summary
125buildings
790,000m2GFA
Managing real estate transition risk as we move towards a low-carbon economy is essential. Our property advisory team is helping a growing number of clients to carry out energy gap assessments across their building portfolios, helping clients to course correct towards net zero pathways.
Under the EU Green Deal, asset owners, developers and investors are also readying for the influx of sustainability regulation that will redraw the real estate corporate landscape – and revenue streams  for years to come.
Bringing together our design and regulatory expertise, our team worked with Rabobank to navigate this complex environment, helping translate requirements into practical advice and building a roadmap to meet the Paris Agreement commitments.
Digital methodologies are a powerful ally in the journey towards net zero, helping property owners to screen their portfolios for carbon and climate related risks. Our building design and digital specialists provided a data-driven technical and economic assessment of the 125 buildings, harnessing the existing Building Management System (BMS) data to identify a major gap in energy performance.  
Using a proprietary methodology, Arup carried out an assessment of the energy performance of Rabobank’s building portfolio, and benchmarked it against the local energy labels, showing that about 50% of the portfolio had higher energy consumption rates. This was partly due to variations in the overall square footage assessed, inefficiencies in building and floor use, as well as the impact of overly lengthy refurbishment works. 
On this basis, the team has drawn up recommendations to help Rabobank decarbonise its office buildings and avoid stranded risk, including a range of measures from renewable energy power purchasing agreements or a move to fully electrify its real estate portfolio. 
 
Our property advisory team and digital specialists have helped Rabobank assess the deviation between the modelled vs actual energy performance of its office portfolio, and helped the client develop a measurable, holistic sustainability strategy to honour its Paris Agreement pledge considering biodiversity, circularity and climate adaptation. ”
Rabobank had already carried out extensive work on its energy performance and adaptation work. Our team put together a proposal to help the bank draw an all-encompassing sustainability strategy, considering climate adaptation, circular economy and biodiversity as well as energy performance. The strategy focuses on creating processes alongside a governance framework and solid KPIs to measure progress, all of which will drive decisionmaking in the years to come.
On the circular economy front, the Netherlands already acts as a frontrunner in Europe, with an ambition to become fully circular by 2050. Our strategy contemplates a range of actions beyond recycling and waste reduction, looking at refurbishments, digital processes, traceability and above all – a comprehensive, unambiguous way of monitoring circularity.
Climate change is another essential aspect, as extreme weather events including flooding become increasingly prevalent. Our team has proposed an approach to map risks and provide an initial estimate of weak spots and potential mitigation measures.
The team also makes considerations that move biodiversity from a ‘nice to have’ to indispensable, including future considerations such as structural compensations for biodiversity loss and monitoring. At a later stage, the sustainability strategy proposal also envisions the setup of strategic lighthouse projects, designed to provide scalable solutions for the bank.
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