In 2022, Pontos defined a goal of having a carbon-neutral real estate portfolio by 2030. Pontos’ real estate holdings are currently focused on Finland and Estonia. Properties also include the sustainable development project in Algarve, Portugal.
Pontos’ carbon neutrality goal includes properties’ use-phase emissions’ (scope 1 and 2) carbon neutrality by 2025, and the carbon neutrality of the entire lifecycle (including scope 3) by 2030. Properties’ use-phase and project lifecycle emissions are minimized in business operations, and properties’ energy consumption is reduced by 15 percent in total.
In order to reach its carbon neutrality goal, Pontos has laid out an operating model for environmental management based on active ownership. In addition to Pontos’ real estate portfolio, the operating model also includes Pontos’ private equity companies that include real estate and construction as significant parts of their business.
In 2022, Pontos continued its work towards promoting diversity. The company’s “Diversity in Recruiting” operating model created in 2021 was applied to the group’s own recruitments. As part of active ownership, Pontos also promotes diversity in its portfolio companies.
For example, Investment Director of Real Estate, Päivi Tomula, was appointed as the Chair of AVIA Real Estate’s Board of Directors.
Petra Teräsaho was also appointed as Valmet Automotive’s CFO and Sabine Neuß as its board member. Pontos’ CEO Timo Kokkila is a member of Valmet Automotive’s People and Culture Committee.
In November 2022, Pontos’ Investment Director of Real Estate Päivi Tomula was appointed as a member of the board of Green Building Council Finland network. The network seeks to incorporate the built environment as a central part of solving climate change.
For Pontos, this marks a significant step in the company contributing to the estate and construction industry’s journey towards a sustainable built environment and carbon neutrality. The network is an excellent forum for players in the industry to promote courage, determination, new innovations and utilization of technology together, come up with new operating ways and communicate between stakeholders operating at different stages of the value chain.
Several different practical measures were carried out in Ombria Resort in the Algarve, Portugal during 2022 to promote biodiversity. The measures were related to preventing forest fires, reducing negative effects from invasive species, new planting and maintaining water systems.
The company, for example, pruned a total of 57.8 acres of too densely growing forest and pruned and deforested a total of 4 acres with a high density of combustible material. Forest fires are a common problem in the nearby area. The region is particularly vulnerable to forest fires during the warmer months.
In addition, as part of its commitment to sustainability the company removed harmful invasive species from nearby streams, planted nearly a thousand new trees, established new compensation areas and planted the seeds of 50 different endangered species and onions at a nursery created for this purpose. In addition, the quality of groundwater and surface water lines were monitored carefully so that any interference in the ecosystems could be identified in time and thus the vitality of flora, fauna and habitats can be preserved.
In November 2022, Viru Keskus became the first shopping center in the Baltics to receive Leadership and Environmental Design (LEED) Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Platinum Certificate, which is the highest level. The recognition marked the second time the shopping center was awarded for its efficiency in water and energy use, recycling and sustainable use of materials and resources. This high environmental rating for old buildings is unique. LEED is the world’s most used global rating system for buildings.
The company received full points for its energy use. Viru Keskus has for long reached 15-percent energy savings annually by utilizing a self-learning, AI-based software by Pontos’ other portfolio company R8 Technologies. The software uses nearly 40,000 sensors to monitor central real estate control systems and reacts in real time to for example, changes in the indoor and outdoor climate, electricity prices, indoor CO2 levels and properties’ use rate. With the software, commercial properties save a quarter of their energy costs on average.
Since 2021, the center has carried out an extensive renovation of its interior design ending in 2023. The center has also improved several vital infrastructures and taken several circular economy measures.
In fall 2022, AVIA Real Estate launched a new energy savings program for its properties, aiming for 20 percent savings in energy consumption. Key measures in the savings program are lowering indoor temperature, making ventilator use more efficient and reducing electricity use in different ways. The company has previously carried out energy renovations at its Avia Fleet and Avia Wing buildings.
The measures are part of the company’s sustainability strategy for curbing climate change and increasing sustainable energy production methods. The company also found it important to take part in shared action for ensuring the full-time availability of electricity and heat production during the energy crisis of the past winter.
The company also joined the government’s Down a Degree energy savings campaign.
In late 2022, Renor made a decision to build its own solar power plants in Pori and Forssa. Solar power will be used to cover a part of the electricity required by the company’s well-being and care services in Forssa, and the Puuvilla shopping center. The share of solar power produced by the company in Forssa, for example, is approximately 45 percent. At Puuvilla in Pori, the power plant will be put to use in June 2023.
The initiative is exemplary both environmentally and financially, and it demonstrates the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
Renor will also look into the possibility of building solar power plants in its other locations.
During 2022, R8 Technologies saved up to 15,000 tons of CO2 emissions in the real estate of its customers using its AI-based real estate energy management system. The average energy savings in the real estate operated by customers was 20.2 percent, i.e. 40 kWh/m2.
The company’s Digital Operator add-on automatically optimizes the management of heating and cooling systems in commercial real estate. It continuously monitors and optimizes the indoor climate, detects system failures and manages the tasks of building service companies.
The company has also produced results in smart solutions for buildings in the Estonian capital Tallinn, which was recently named as the European Green Capital 2023 due to its environmental measures. The award results from commitment towards reducing CO2 emissions, strengthening biodiversity and promoting green innovations and sustainable development.
In fall 2022, Valmet Automotive signed a public document, committing the company to set science-based climate targets for its operations. The targets will meet the requirements of the Science-Based Targets Initiative seeking to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees in accordance with the Paris Agreement. The Science-Based Targets system demonstrates how much and quickly the company still needs to reduce its greenhouse emissions. Valmet Automotive thus joins 3,000 other companies that are at the forefront of environmental work and committed to curbing global warming.
The automotive industry plays an important part in greenhouse emissions. As a leading service provider in the automotive industry, Valmet Automotive is committed to accelerating the transition to a low-carbon society – the company’s operations have been carbon-neutral since January 1st 2022, as confirmed by the classification society DNV.
Climate actions have been central in Valmet Automotive’s operations for years. By basing its follow-up measures on the Science Based Targets system, it ensures that its future climate goals are in line with the latest scientific information and cover the company’s entire value chain.
Valmet Automotive’s development areas include replacing fossil fuels with renewable ones, reducing actions requiring compensation and measures impacting emissions in crucial areas of the value chain, such as logistics.
Next, Valmet Automotive will complete the commitment document by developing science-based climate targets and ensuring their approval by the Science Based Targets organization.
SRV’s emissions reduced by 85 percent in 2022 compared with 2021. The reduction in emissions cover emissions which the company can directly impact and which emerge on site as a result of the company’s own operations (scope 1 and 2), for example on construction sites and offices. The decrease in emissions was aided by the transition into emission-free electricity and heat, increasing electric machinery and using bio fuels in all machinery.
SRV also considers general energy efficiency on sites. The company measures all the energy it consumes, which enables all emissions from energy consumption to be measured on the construction site level. Sites also recycle all waste from construction, enabling the reutilization of materials in other industrial processes. SRV’s sites have been net zero emission sites since the start of 2022.
Since fall 2022, the entire of SRV has had net zero emission operations. For example, SRV encourages its personnel to use lower-carbon methods of travel, such as public transportation and electric and hybrid vehicles. The company compensates remaining emissions by planting trees.
Attempts to reach net zero emissions has been part of SRV’s goal of creating a lifecycle-wise future, which involves curbing climate change and reducing biodiversity as part of this work. In terms of indirect emissions in the company’s value chain, including the supply chain, SRV seeks to reduce scope 3 emissions by increasing the share of low-emission and recyclable materials in buildings and by transitioning towards the use of emission-free heating and cooling systems.