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Brookfield Uses Blockchain Accounting to Verify ESG

At least one real estate company isn’t waiting for the SEC to clarify its new climate-related ESG disclosure rules to up its game when it comes to transparency of carbon emissions. 

Brookfield Property Partners recently announced a five-year agreement with its sister company, Brookfield Renewable Partners, to supply renewable energy to the flagship office tower at its mammoth Manhattan West development.

Brookfield said One Manhattan West, a 67-story, 2.1M SF office tower, will be the first building in its New York portfolio to be powered 100% by renewable energy. Brookfield Renewable Partners, also majority-owned by parent Brookfield Asset Management, specializes in renewable energy, including 70 hydropower plants and three wind farms in upstate NY.

Working with proptech startup Cleartrace, Brookfield Properties is deploying a blockchain verification platform at One Manhattan West that enables investors, tenants and government agencies to get a real-time look at sources of energy being consumed by the office tower.

Brookfield was an early investor in Cleartrace, an Austin, TX-based startup that launched in 2019. Cleartrace says its blockchain platform can match the “instantaneous output of a facility to corresponding (energy) demand.”

JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, also is planning to deploy Cleartrace to monitor and certify renewable energy use at its New York properties as part of a five-year plan to decarbonize the bank’s NY real estate.

In 2020, Brookfield Renewable Partners and JPMorgan Chase announced a five-year deal for Brookfield Renewable to power more than 500 JPMorgan Chase buildings in New York—about 90% of its portfolio in the Empire State, accounting for about 8% of the bank’s global carbon footprint—with renewable energy and to generate associated renewable energy certificates.

“We leverage Cleartrace to provide surety and auditability to our renewable energy portfolio. Cleartrace aligns best-in-class distributed ledger technology and data visualizations with the inevitable need for digital certificates of authenticity and environmental impact,” said Alec Saltikoff, global head of sustainability for JPMorgan Chase, in a statement that is prominently displayed on the homepage of Cleartrace’s website.

According to the company’s website, the platform displays “near real-time data” providing the “source, time, location and grid carbon intensity for every hour of energy (a building) receives, produces and consumes.” The platform monitors on-site generation, storage, grid-procured energy and consumption, also displaying renewable energy certificates for a property.

Last month, NY Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the state would spend more than $4B to install new power transmission lines that will carry hydropower from the Niagara region to New York City.
Reprinted with permission from the Thu, 05 May 2022 07:52:04 EDT online edition of GlobeSt © 2022 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-256-2472 or reprints@alm.com.