1 March 2021

‘C’ stands for future: The fight against climate change is on all agendas

Exploiting the full power of data will enable our industry to fight against climate change - the second C from the World Economic Forum’s report released in Mid-January.

I talked about the first C (Covid-19) and its impact on our industry in this blog article here.

Governments have been rightfully focused on Covid-19

With the Covid-19 pandemic rapidly gaining momentum from spring 2020 onwards, our collective focus shifted almost exclusively to combating the virus.

One casualty of this shift has been the Fridays for Future movement, which had previously managed to raise awareness of the urgent need to tackle climate change. Supplanted by coronavirus, Fridays for Future seemed to fade into the background as it struggled to maintain a profile across the digital landscape. For almost twelve months, governments have been almost entirely focused on limiting the spread of Covid-19.

2020’s CO2 balance sheet is deceptive

Against the white noise of the pandemic, the far larger issue – CO2 emissions – has only tentatively managed to return to the public consciousness. Even so, the CO2 balance sheet for 2020 could prove to be deceptive. Globally, carbon dioxide emissions declined by an average of 7 percent. In the EU, they were down by 11 percent. However, this “corona effect” is largely due to the decline in freight transport. Emissions from land use, for example, remain largely unchanged.

Real estate accounts for 40 % global emissions

And it is well known that the real estate sector is one of the largest emitters, accounting for 40 percent of global CO2 emissions. Achieving savings on the scale of 2020, but without scaling back public and economic life, will clearly require a great deal of effort.

Sustainability has risen up the agenda

Within the real estate industry, the CO2 tax that has been levied since the start of the year may be just as much a driver of emission reductions as the imminent introduction of the EU Taxonomy for environmentally sustainable economic activities.

However, there is another factor that is taking us a decisive step forward: On the day he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America, Joe Biden got the ball rolling by signing an executive order for the United States to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

Almost in real time, corporate priorities shifted, including within the real estate industry. Sustainability has risen up the agenda and billions have been released to mitigate climate change across all sectors of the economy.

How are you putting sustainability on your company’s agenda?

In the wake of Biden’s policy shift, we expect to see positive gains and continued progress, which can only be amplified through cooperation. But that’s not all: There is actually a fourth C. We will focus on this in a next blog post.

Learn more about real estate’s challenge to become sustainable while remaining profitable here: https://buildingminds.com/sustainability

Jens Mueller, CEO BuildingMinds


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