Already 90% powered by renewable electricity, alstria aims to go ‘100% renewable’ by 2016. Here, CEO of alstria office REIT-AG Olivier Elamine explains why the company is taking that extra step.

What are your motivations for becoming 100% renewable?

Alstria is driven by a desire to take a leadership position on mitigating climate change and reducing our carbon footprint. Only once we have a sustainable approach to real estate can we build and create value over time. Procuring renewable electricity is an easy win – it immediately reduces our carbon footprint whilst increasing demand for and investment in clean energy.

How did you decide on your 100% goal?

Having identified greenhouse gas emissions as one of our main environmental impacts, we designed a climate change strategy to reduce our carbon footprint substantially in a short period of time and at a minimal cost, aligning all our existing activities with our vision for a low carbon future. We started buying fossil-fuel free energy in 2013 and are gradually changing our entire contract to renewable energy.

What are your achievements so far?

In 2013 we reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 23%, by procuring 21% of our electricity from carbon-free sources. By 2014, the electricity for 75% of our properties was carbon-free, leading to a 85% reduction on our emissions. This dramatic reduction in our emissions earned alstria its first CDP Climate Action Award. We now use 90% renewable electricity.

Why do you think RE100 is a good initiative to join?

We joined RE100 in 2015 to emphasize our commitment to go 100% renewable. It is a great way for us to show alstria is actively changing the way we conduct business and allows us to influence our peers to perform alike.

What opportunities and challenges have you encountered while working towards your goal?

We are only responsible for powering the common or landlord obtained parts of our buildings – our tenants choose their own energy supplier. But as one of Germany’s largest real estate companies we can raise awareness amongst our tenants, encouraging them to source renewable electricity, to maximize our climate change action. Whilst we understand that the electricity used in some of our assets might still be generated by fossil fuels, we are working to increase demand for renewable electricity and therefore incentivize investment in the field.

How will you reach your 100% target?

By expanding our procurement strategy to a new level - we have centralized the purchasing of electricity for our whole portfolio with the target to reach 100% by the end of 2016.

Why do you think it is important for companies to play a role in accelerating demand for renewable electricity?

Influential businesses can serve as a powerful example of how going 100% renewable makes sense socially, economically and environmentally.

Last updated: November 2015