The stats speak for themselves - there is no question that the real estate industry has a significant part to play in addressing the environmental issues with which our society is increasingly concerned. This is not just because of public perception of the industry, which clearly needs to be improved (particularly the view of developers), but simply because it is the right thing to do.
In a challenging but ultimately optimistic article, Cressida Curtis (head of corporate affairs and sustainability at British Land) calls on the real estate industry to embrace the challenge of halving emissions within a decade, and to get on with it now, not in 9 years. The target is difficult, but achievable - a lot of the necessary solutions are known, and technologies available: they just need to be implemented more widely.
Steps taken to reduce operational carbon intensity may be unglamorous, but they are cost-effective, so they should be good for the bottom line - and have the further benefit of putting us on the road to a cleaner, safer and happier planet.
The IPCC says emissions need to be halved within a decade to avoid the physical destruction and social unrest that a hotter world would deliver. The UKGBC says our industry directly creates 22% – one fifth – of the UK’s emissions through the operation and construction of buildings, rising to 42% including exogenous factors.