18 June, 2024

Retrofit Credits Case Study: The Economist Group

We spoke with Emily Jackson, Senior Vice-President of sustainability at The Economist Group to talk about their Retrofit journey.

Introduction 

The Economist Group is a global media and information-services company, and a buyer of Retrofit Credits in both the 2022 and 2023 cycles. We sat down with Emily Jackson, Senior Vice-President of Sustainability, to talk about the Group’s Retrofit journey.

The Economist Group has supported of Retrofit Credits since the start – can you talk a bit about the Group’s journey with us?  

We have been supporting verified nature-based projects and promising climate technologies through our climate contribution budget for the last four years. These include afforestation and reforestation, innovative carbon-removal and energy efficiency initiatives When we met the Retrofit Credits team at the end of 2022, we were impressed by the innovative approach to decarbonising the UK’s housing stock through retrofitting, and by the positive impact the programme could have on communitiessuch as improving people’s health and wellbeing, developing skills and creating jobs.  

What was it about HACT and Retrofit Credits specifically that you thought made a good fit? 

First, residential emissions account for 17% of carbon emissions in the UK. And, as The Economist newspaper wrote at the end of 2022, Britain’s homes are among the oldest and least efficient in Europe. We were particularly interested in the innovative approach that Retrofit Credits proposed in the pilot phase to cut energy use in UK social housing through energy efficiency measures, and by the potential social benefits to both individual and communities. These measures would contribute to improving people’s health with warmer homes in the winter and cooler homes in the summer, lower energy bills, and create demand for new skills, jobs and technologies.  

Second, there is a lot of negative coverage about carbon credits programmes. It was important for us to support an energy efficiency project that was high-integrity, and verifiable – both in terms of emissions-reductions and social value. The project was developed under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and audited by Verra and using the UK Social Value Bank for the measurement of wellbeing.    

“We’re delighted with the success of Retrofit Credits pilot scheme, and the recognition it has been given with the Ashden2023 Energy Innovation Award, and are pleased to continue supporting it for a second year.”

How does the Retrofit Credits initiative align with The Economist Group’s sustainability strategy? 

The Economist Group has a validated science-based target to 2030 aligned with the Paris agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Our longer-term aspiration is to reach science-based net zero by 2045.  

Cutting our emissions is the main way we’ll make progress on our pathway to net zero—but we’re also supporting innovative technologies to remove and reduce carbon emissions and accelerate the stabilisation of the climate. This approach is in line with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) recommendation that companies invest in mitigation outside their value chains to contribute towards reaching net zero. HACT’s Retrofit Credits programme aligns well with both our overall approach, and with the SBTi’s goals and principles for mitigation outcomes. 

We’re delighted with the success of Retrofit Credits pilot scheme, and the recognition it has been given with the Ashden2023 Energy Innovation Award, and are pleased to continue supporting it for a second year. 

Download the full case study

The Economist Group Case Study

PUBLISHED: June 2024

Download the full case study for your reference, internal learning and to help you on your Retrofit Credits journey.

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