Headwinds will test ESG commitments

Global Real Estate Perspective November 2022

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The war in Ukraine, the energy crisis in parts of the world and rising economic headwinds all make for challenging times that will test the commitment of the real estate industry to decarbonization. However, compared to previous economic slowdowns, we are now in a world with much more disclosure, greater risk and urgency around climate change. We are seeing that progressive investors are doubling down on net zero carbon (NZC) interventions in the knowledge that it is impacting positively on value. The current severe supply-demand imbalance of NZC buildings will benefit early adopters of low carbon new builds and retrofits by boosting rent, reducing financial risk and making it easier to attract and retain tenants.

This article is part of JLL’s Global Real Estate Perspective

November sees COP27 (the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference) take place in Egypt, the most important climate conference globally. This year’s COP is billed as the ‘implementation COP’ and will be a critical test of whether countries and organizations can move beyond the lofty pledges and commitments made at past summits to actual global cooperation and comprehensive action.

In September, Climate Week NYC, an annual summit which takes place alongside the UN General Assembly in New York, brought together international leaders from business, government and civil society to showcase global climate action. Key takeaways from the summit are:

  • Governments and business leaders have to remain committed and accountable to their climate targets. A shift in mindset is required among business leaders, away from thinking of sustainability as a cost to realizing the value and opportunity for growth it brings.

  • The technologies needed to decarbonize exist today, but rapid and large-scale changes in policy and investment across sectors and governments are essential to effectively reach net zero. AI, data, transparency and visibility across value chains will be key to this transition.

  • Collaboration is vital both within and across organizations, industries and governments. The conversation must expand, and engagement needs to happen with leaders outside the sustainability sector so that everyone can get on the pathway to a low carbon economy.