Building Better Green Futures Through Science Based Targets


13 September 2022 – JSE listed Balwin Properties continues to distinguish itself in the green housing market by stepping up to ambitious carbon reduction targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative, a global body for companies committed to halve emissions before 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions before 2050.

Balwin Properties has joined a select group of 1,255 forward-thinking companies around the world that are leading the response to global warming and the risks it poses by taking urgent action based on the latest science to secure our future[1].

The group has had its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)[2] as consistent with reductions required to keep global warming to 1.5°C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement and what the latest climate science has told us is needed to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change.

As such, Balwin Properties is one of only six South African companies – and one of only two local small and medium-sized enterprises – that have both a SBTi-approved near-term science-based emissions reduction target and are committed to setting long-term emissions reduction targets with the SBTi in line with reaching net-zero by 2050[3]. Balwin is the first South African company to have both a near term and long tern net-zero target approved.

The SBTi is a collaboration between Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments. The SBTi defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets.

In terms of the near-term target, Balwin Properties commits to reduce scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions by 38% by 2030 from a 2021 base year, and to measure and reduce its scope 3 emissions. By 2050, the group commits to reduce scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 90% from a 2018 base year. Scope 1 and 2 emissions result directly from company operations. As scope 3 emissions comprise the largest part of Balwin’s carbon footprint, the company is encouraging and supporting its suppliers and service providers to join in its taking positive action based on the latest science.

Balwin is committed to reducing its environmental impact through innovation in design and building techniques. All apartments developed from 2021 were registered with the International Finance Corporation’s Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency (EDGE). About 40 000 apartments from 19 developments were registered for EDGE. A total of circa 12000 apartments registered as EDGE Advanced (40% + energy savings and 20% + water savings).

Eight Balwin lifestyle centres were awarded six-star green rating from Green Building Council of SA (GBSA), as well as the Company’s new head office. Seven lifestyle centres received a Net Zero Carbon rating from GBSA as well as the head office. About 5 000 Balwin green bonds have been secured for clients, providing clients with a total savings of about R325 million over bond terms.

Balwin’s target was approved using a streamlined target validation route exclusive to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  Steve Brookes, CEO of Balwin commented:

“Sustainable development is a key differentiator for us. We regard science-based targets as a business imperative that drives innovation in new technologies and operational practices. This ultimately saves money and increases competitiveness. Our mission is to continue to improve the growth of the low-carbon economy, differentiating Balwin as a responsible brand that cares about its homeowners, the environment and the planet.”

According to SBTi research, approximately half of consumers worldwide believe climate change will have a negative effect on their own lives, and 65 percent of consumers agree that human activity is responsible for climate change. Meanwhile, companies increasingly want to do business with suppliers that are taking climate change seriously so that they can reduce GHG exposure in their value chain.

In addition to ensuring that companies align their emission reduction plans with science, there is an urgent need to ensure this transformation is a just and inclusive one. As companies in all sectors work to halve global emissions by 2030, they will have to account for ensuring positive impacts on their employees and communities while preparing for net-zero, a resilient future and a more equal society.

Read more on the business case for science-based targets and the SBTi here.


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