(Bloomberg) -- Lendlease Corp., one of Australia’s largest property groups, will stop piping gas into kitchens of new properties around the world by 2030 as it pushes to take fossil fuels out of its buildings by 2040. 

The company, which manages A$44 billion ($29 billion) in funds and owns commercial and residential properties in Europe, North America and Asia, will also retrofit all of its existing buildings to exclude gas appliances by 2040. 

Lendlease is the first global property group to join the Global Cooksafe Coalition, an international initiative being launched in Sydney this week that promotes the benefits of cooking with electric induction stoves over natural gas. Australian domestic real estate company GPT Group has also pledged to end gas in new buildings by 2030. 

The main motivation of the coalition is to reduce carbon and methane emissions -- both of which contribute to climate change -- but it also focuses on the immediate health risks of gas cookers, such as asthma. 

It’s part of a global push to replace gas appliances with electric heat pumps and induction stoves. The idea is that as electricity networks decarbonize, fully electrified buildings will automatically become carbon neutral. A number of cities in the US, including San Francisco and Seattle, have already banned gas in new buildings for this reason. 

Opposition to Induction

But the movement has met resistance. Gas has been “well marketed” as a good fuel to cook with and prospective tenants and homebuyers expect it, meaning developers have been reluctant to abandon the technology, Ann Austin, head of sustainability at Lendlease Australia, said in an interview. 

However, Austin said attitudes were shifting quickly -- particularly in response to increased climate disasters -- and investors were also demanding change. 

“We’re seeing the investor market being very vocal,” she said.  Investors “expect us to be performing well in the realm of sustainability and routinely asks questions in relation to carbonization. So even if government isn’t setting targets, investors are,” she said. 

She said induction stoves were superior to traditional electric hobs and gave as much precision as gas stoves, making the switch easier to sell. She said the cost of switching to induction stoves in new buildings was minimal, but the cost of retrofitting existing buildings would be more material for Lendlease.

In the US, cooking with gas makes up only a tiny portion of gas-related emissions from buildings, with more than 90% coming from heating rooms and water, according to a 2015 study by the US Environmental Protection Authority. 

But Austin said businesses and consumers’ attachment to gas cooking was the biggest ideological hurdle to ending its use in buildings. Lendlease has already stopped putting gas heating infrastructure in its new buildings in Australia, she said.

The Global Cooksafe Coalition has enlisted prominent chefs to promote the use of induction stoves.

The Coalition’s members include the World Green Building Council, the European Public Health Alliance, Asthma Australia and the Climate Council. 

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