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RNS Number : 6607V

Unite Group PLC (The)

15 December 2021

PRESS RELEASE

15 December 2021

THE UNITE GROUP PLC

('Unite Students', 'Unite', the 'Group', or the ' Company ')

PUBLICATION OF NET ZERO CARBON PATHWAY

Unite Students, the UK's leading owner, manager and developer of student accommodation, has today published its net zero carbon pathway, which sets out the activities and investment required to achieve its objective of becoming net zero carbon across both the Company's operations and development activities by 2030. The pathway includes targets for carbon reduction, which have been formally validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The pathway outlines four key steps to achieve net zero carbon:

1. Reduce operational energy consumption: Based on a target 28% reduction in energy intensity by 2030 against our baseline set in 2019. This target is in line with the Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM) 1.5degC energy reduction pathway.

2. Invest in renewable energy: We have a commitment under the RE100 programme to source 100% renewable electricity by 2030 (2020: 74%) and will seek to purchase more energy in the future in a way that supports the development of new renewable energy generation capacity.

3. Reduce embodied carbon: Based on targets in line with the RIBA Climate Challenge programme, which require a 48% reduction in embodied carbon by 2030.

4. Mitigate residual carbon: We will offset any residual operational or development emissions that cannot be removed completely using certified carbon offsets, aiming to prioritise measures that actively remove atmospheric carbon.

The Group has already invested over GBP30 million in energy efficiency since 2014 and, as outlined at our Capital Markets Day in October, has identified a further c.GBP100 million of additional opportunities for capital investment to achieve its carbon reduction targets. This represents an annual investment of around GBP10 million in energy initiatives going forward, equivalent to GBP5-7 million p.a. on a Unite share basis. These initiatives will also deliver an attractive financial return through a payback period of less than 10 years from savings in utility costs.

Richard Smith, Chief Executive of Unite Students, commented :

"Taking bold and decisive action to reduce environmental impact makes good business sense, as well as being the right thing to do. We believe that our 2030 net zero carbon ambition, built on science based targets validated by the SBTi, will help us play our part in tackling climate change for the benefit of generations to come. We will achieve net zero by changing how we design and develop new buildings to cut embodied carbon, investing in existing buildings to make them as energy efficient as possible, and buying renewable energy in a way that directly supports the creation of a new green power generation. We understand the scale of the challenge but believe it will make us a stronger and more resilient business."

The pathway document can be accessed via the following link:

https://www.unite-group.co.uk/sustainability/our-net-zero-pathway

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Unite Students

   Joe Lister / Michael Burt                                             Tel: +44 117 302 7005 
   Unite press office                                                        Tel: +44 117 450 6300 

Powerscourt

   Justin Griffiths / Victoria Heslop                                Tel: +44 20 7250 1446 

About Unite Students

Unite Students is the UK's largest owner, manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation, serving the country's world-leading Higher Education sector. We provide homes to 73,000 students across 173 properties in 25 leading University towns and cities. We currently partner with over 60 Universities across the UK.

Our people are driven by a common purpose: to provide a 'Home for Success' for the students who live with us. Unite's accommodation is safe and secure, high quality and affordable. Students live predominantly in ensuite study bedrooms, with rents covering all bills, insurance, 24-hour security and high-speed Wi-Fi. We also achieved a five-star British Safety Council rating in our last audit.

Founded in 1991 in Bristol, Unite Group is an award-winning Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), listed on the London Stock Exchange and a member of the FTSE 250 Index. Unite is invested in and operates two specialist funds and joint ventures with institutional investment partners: the GBP3 billion Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF) and the GBP1 billion London Student Accommodation Vehicle (LSAV).

For more information, visit:

Unite's corporate website www.unite-group.co.uk

The student site www.unitestudents.com

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December 15, 2021 02:00 ET (07:00 GMT)

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