Homing in on net zero: do housebuilder pledges make a difference?

Barratt Homes_Cricket Field Grove_Bracknell low carbon

Housebuilders have been bigging up their green credentials of late – but how well are they really doing, asks Joey Gardiner

Whatever your opinion of the deal reached in Glasgow last week, there’s no doubt the growing evidence of the climate emergency facing the planet seems to be finally galvanising major housebuilders to take some action. Whether prompted by a genuine desire to improve the world, fears of reputational damage or exhortation from investors, the UK’s listed homebuilders have in recent months all committed to seriously reducing their contribution to global warming.

The UK’s biggest housebuilder, Barratt, has taken the lead on this issue, setting out more than a year and a half ago a plan, approved by the UN-endorsed Science-Based Targets Initiative, to make its business net zero by 2040. Since then, four others – Persimmon, Berkeley, Taylor Wimpey and Countryside – have followed suit with their own “science-based” targets, with four more listed rivals having committed to publishing their own before the end of 2022.

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