Although government policies have traditionally been slow to evolve in this area, COP26 shone a spotlight on the UK and it was encouraging to see the developments and commitments which followed. The UK Green Building Council have published a comprehensive road map to net zero. In 2022, we must see a transition of the rhetoric into action.
More recently, it has been behaviour which is influencing change. Fuelled by demand, investors, developers and occupiers are increasingly focused on developing and managing their estates sustainably.
With more industry players committing to ambitious net zero carbon targets, collection and monitoring of data will be fundamental to provide baselines against which future performance can be measured. Organisations looking to reduce their emissions will find many opportunities from improving their property usage – switching to green energy supplies, taking advantage of PropTech and smart building monitoring and retrofitting rather than rebuilding. Owners and managers may benefit from new analytics tools which measure sustainability performance across their portfolios.
Collaboration is key and everyone will benefit – landlords and tenants will need to work together to share data to improve energy performance together. Retrofitting existing buildings will be essential to meet the increasing market demand for sustainable space. Employee health and wellbeing is in the spotlight and occupiers will not want to compromise here. A healthy building supports physical, physiological and social health and wellbeing and owners will find more sustainable properties attract a green premium. The financial risks of ignoring sustainability – with investors, occupiers and buyers looking elsewhere - are too costly to overlook.
The response to the pandemic demonstrated an unprecedented ability to respond collectively to the risks posed by Covid-19. Climate change is an even greater existential risk and we must take advantage of this capacity for collective action, combined with the growing appetite for change to fuel the green recovery. We will only achieve our net zero targets by working together.
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