Greater Manchester Combined Authority has partnered with CBRE’s ESG Consultancy team to create a new commercial Occupier Retrofit Guide to support the city-region’s ambitious drive to be carbon neutral by 2038.

The collaborative guide aims to help commercial occupiers understand the actions they can take to play their part in delivering the Greater Manchester’s carbon neutral ambitions and wider sustainability strategy.

To achieve this target, Greater Manchester has taken steps to tackle emissions across multiple sectors, especially in buildings and transport, where emissions are the highest. The scale of mitigation activities is increasing year on year, however there is much more to do. Commercial buildings account for 6% of Greater Manchester’s total carbon footprint.

Councillor Tom Ross, Greater Manchester Lead for Green City-region, said: “To achieve our ambitious environmental aims, we must not only build better, greener buildings, but must also improve the quality of our many existing buildings across the city-region. Local Authorities are already leading by example, with 240 public buildings having been fitted with energy efficiency measures and low carbon heating systems over the last four years.


“But improving public sector buildings will only get us so far – we need to encourage commercial building owners and occupiers to do the same. This new guide will provide examples of good practice to help them do just that, all whilst supporting our wider sustainability strategy, which includes increasing the energy efficiency of fuel poor homes, installing more local renewable energy generation and improving public and active transport.”

The purpose of the guide is not only intended to steer occupiers towards what to look for, but to help them understand the associated benefits linked with effective retrofit. It focuses on two areas including best practice certification, giving an overview of current market certifications and the benefits related with each; as well as guidance on landlord engagement and green leases, with advice on how to maximise the impact during the term of a contract, and energy provision and management.

Part two of the guide expands on circular economy solutions, covering design principles for the future based on the dynamic of reduce, reuse and recycle. It helps to crystalise the direct benefits to organisations, such as direct cash impacts through lower energy bills and reduced operating costs; enhanced strategic and corporate alignment through ESG strategy compliance and ESG messaging to stakeholders; and ultimately improved wellbeing and talent retention through a healthier work environment, and better employee facilities.

Lucinda Lay, Associate Director, ESG Consultancy, CBRE, said: “Greater Manchester has one of the most ambitious targets in relation to the climate emergency. By collaborating with the team on this project we can play an important role in helping them realise the city region’s ambitious plans to reach carbon neutrality by 2038, with the role of retrofit playing a significant part in its push.

“Sustainability and real estate trends are accelerating. We have investor demands expanding, increasing sustainability and climate change regulation and we have tenant demands evolving. It’s all coming together to actually need greater consideration of ESG and sustainability in the built environment. That’s why guides such as this commissioned by the Council are crucial to get ahead of the climate curve.”