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Canary Wharf Group 

We supported Canary Wharf Group (CWG) to set an approved 1.5°C science-based target in-line with climate science.

Canary Wharf Group becomes the first commercial district in the world to set science-based targets for reducing carbon emissions.

emissions reduction by 2030
of suppliers to commit to a science-based target by 2025

The Company

Canary Wharf Group (CWG) oversees the development and management of 97 acres of premium real estate in East London’s Docklands which has become a destination where people can work, live and relax.

A sustainability strategy built to last

The challenge was building a carbon emissions reduction strategy to support CWG’s long-term ambitions with a clearly defined vision for sustainability, taking into account the significant growth and evolution of the Estate.

CWG needed to better understand its current and future sustainability challenges and identify the steps required to address them. Science-based targets are now seen as the only carbon targets that stand up to scrutiny, so by aligning its emission reductions to science CWG developed a strong foundation for its climate strategy. CWG have shown market leadership in their commitment to set an approved science-based target that aligns with a more ambitious, 1.5°C scenario.

Demonstrating climate ambition

Science-based targets are one of the strongest and most credible ways a company can demonstrate their commitment to tackling climate change. Setting an approved science-based target requires companies to fully understand their Scope 3 value chain emissions and set a baseline for reduction, which can be challenging.

Setting credible science-based targets (SBTs) marked a shift in CWG’s thinking towards managing their climate change impacts through long-term strategic planning. With the size and scope of the opportunity and challenge for CWG, it was imperative to form a robust, future-proofed and strategic approach, developed with engagement throughout the business.

Gaining full buy-in from across the organisation, particularly from the leadership team, was of utmost importance in moving  SBTs beyond a ‘tick-box exercise’ to becoming a strong platform for long lasting sustainability success.


Science-based targets are highly ambitious and require wide-spread engagement and senior involvement, so CWG wanted to split the process into two distinct stages. The initial phrase was intended to clarify business understanding and implications for wider, long-term corporate planning to establish confidence in the programme and accountability before then committing to the SBT process.


Fact Finding & Engagement

Stage one involved extensive engagement with senior management in the form of interviews, calls and workshops in order to develop thinking around methodologies, outputs and the short and long-term implications of committing to the process.

This engagement exercise allowed CWG to make an informed decision on their choice of SBT methodology and build confidence within their management team about the feasibility of undertaking this commitment.

During this stage, Carbon Intelligence calculated the full Scope 3 footprint of the CWG estate and ensured their baseline was complete so that when CWG decided to move forward with the SBT process they could do so with a foundation of robust and accurate data.


Developing the strategy

Stage two built on the outputs from the feasibility exercise to develop the SBT in line with the agreed methodology, scope and baseline year. This involved CI and CWG teams working closely together to conduct a comprehensive review of the options to achieve the defined target, proposing an investment framework, managing the submission process and collaborating on the communications of the approved SBT.


Key Benefits


Engaged Senior Management

Engaged stakeholders ensures cross-level accountability for the programme and equips them with the knowledge and confidence to drive the strategy forward

Market leadership

CWG is paving the way for commercial real estate and showing that SBTs are feasible for this sector

Stand up to scrutiny

The SBT process ensures robust understanding of baseline emissions and aligning targets to climate science avoids reputational risk associated with greenwash

Overcoming challenges

A key challenge of this programme is that CWG has already maintained its buildings to an excellent standard, so it was difficult to understand how to reduce emissions even more and  move away from gas. In order to tackle this CI brought in their optimisation experts to find opportunities to decarbonise the CWG estate.

Working in collaboration with CWG we have been able to find insights and opportunities such as a number of passing valves, set point optimisation, opportunities for a more harmonious operation of main plant and tenant areas; and a number of CAPEX upgrades. This has been possible through a new way of looking at data from the BMS and working with CWG and other stakeholders collaboratively.

Another significant recommendation was to engage with tenants and suppliers to reduce their footprints, as 99% of CWG emissions sit in their value chain. To tackle this the recommendation was to set a target to have 60% of CWG suppliers commit to a science-based target by 2025.

Services used in this case study