Tuesday March 28 2023.
2 minute read
Delivering a sustainable built environment: why mindset matters.
The conversation around sustainability in property is evolving rapidly.
Once, good environmental performance meant delivering energy efficient buildings. It now encompasses so much more, from reducing embodied carbon in designs to delivering biodiversity net gain through development.
Investing in people with the right skills and knowledge, harnessing new technologies and data are all vital to achieving the sector’s ambitions, but I was struck recently by how much those aspirations also rely on cultural change.
Two examples spring to mind. The first is about how we secure investment for retrofitting and adapt our way of working to fit the challenge that property now faces. At a recent real estate investor event, participants discussed one of the bigger barriers to unlocking institutional and private equity funding, namely how organisations model returns and payback periods. There was agreement that traditional five-year models are just too short to effectively evaluate the return on money spent on decarbonisation and efficiency upgrades. A change in mindset to embrace a longer-term outlook could open the door to far greater sums of money for climate action.
The second is about not seeing the bigger picture, delivering specific, more narrowly focused sustainability aims at the expense of wider environmental impact. I spoke to BNP Paribas Real Estate’s sustainability transformation manager for our Camargue podcast who argued that too often property teams ‘hit the target but miss the point’ on net zero. The problem is that people naturally lean towards interventions that are easier to measure, for instance planting large numbers of the same tree species to achieve decarbonisation goals. However, this has unintended consequences for biodiversity, resulting in monocultures which damage local ecosystems.
Two stories from either end of the development lifecycle – investment through to delivery – but they illustrate the importance of thinking differently to drive transformational change. How we communicate and share best practice is vital to helping us break mental, and in some instances emotional, constraints and challenge outdated norms. Technological progress will give property the tools to deliver net zero, while regulation will push it to get there. However, we mustn’t forget the human bit and the part that people have to play in making it happen.
Nov 27, 2023
3 minute read
Can you win an election as a YIMBY?
Speaking to the BBC after October’s three-day Labour party conference, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer surprised many when he identified openly as a ‘YIMBY’.
Senior Account Executive
Nov 23, 2023
2 minute read
Autumn Statement 2023: Returning to base – but is it too late? The Tories seek to restore confidence with supply side measures
The 2024 election looms and the Tories have begun a bidding war for business and ‘Blue Wall’ backing. How? By going back to their base.
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