The appetite for collective action on climate change by real estate businesses has never been stronger

02/04/2019

The Better Buildings Partnership marked its tenth birthday this week by bringing together the senior executives and sustainability leads of the BBP member companies for a celebratory dinner with a focus on climate change.

Hosted by Hammerson Chief Executive, David Atkins and LaSalle Investment Management Head of UK Business, Alan Tripp, this was an important opportunity for business leaders to receive an update on climate science and to debate how our respective businesses can, individually and collectively, reduce our climate change impacts. 

Professor Chris Rapley of University College London spoke on climate science, and his update left no one in doubt that real estate and infrastructure assets are at risk of and already being impacted by climate change. 

BBP members have collectively reduced energy demand by 18% across a portfolio of hundreds of properties over the last six years and have targets in place to do more. However, it was clear that targets need to be more ambitious and that they need to be adopted by the sector as a whole for the impact to make a meaningful difference. We need to look to the future, and set a target of zero carbon emissions by 2030, and businesses need to make a commitment that encourages the development of the technology needed to realise this.

Some particularly encouraging messages came out of this dinner. One was the clear appetite for collaboration and the understanding of the limitations of acting alone. The BBP will be capitalising on this collaborative spirit to develop a climate change commitment for our members over the coming weeks which will be available for non-members to adopt too.  Another was from Professor Rapley himself, who recognised that the commercial real estate sector is one that is taking climate change seriously.

Investors are also increasingly interested in how businesses are approaching climate change, and there has been a strong drive towards investment in low carbon assets. If commercial real estate can offer a management platform, and carbon efficient assets, it makes for an increasingly compelling investment proposition

This was exactly the sort of event that makes it such a privilege for me to be Chair of the Better Buildings Partnership as it moves into its second decade. There is a big programme of work to deliver including our major projects; the Real Estate Environment Benchmark and the Design for Performance initiative, whilst also producing practical tools and advice for the market. These outputs only happen through collaboration and we need to leverage the power that collaboration brings, now perhaps more than ever. 

More information on how the BBP plans to take this forward available here

 

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn here