Property investors cool on issue of climate change

The Earth from space, illustrating how fragile the planet is in the face of climate changeAccording to a RICS global survey of Commercial and Construction market professionals, in the UK, 47 percent of respondents reported that climate change risks are not important or irrelevant for investors. In addition, while 25 percent reported that there is more interest in energy efficient buildings than two years ago, 37 percent noted that investment into energy efficient buildings was limited to niche investors. The study concludes that it still appears that other considerations take precedence in the UK for investors, and the UK is lagging behind China and Hong Kong in this area, where 41 percent reported that energy efficient buildings are increasingly seen as an attractive form of investment. The issue of responsible investment, will be being discussed on the 13 and 14 May at the RICS World Built Environment Forum, Summit in New York.

Marcene Mitchell, Senior Manager for Climate Business, International Finance Corporation – World Bank Group says: “The myriad of challenges facing the 21st century’s people and places urgently require collaborative, international and innovative responses. At World Built Environment Forum Summit New York 2019, senior leaders of the built and natural environment sector will convene to consider our pivotal role in this puzzle. I’m proud to be playing a part.”

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Although investors express interest in resilience, underlying decisions are still based on more traditional cost matters[/perfectpullquote]

In the survey results globally, a majority of construction survey participants stated that although investors express interest in resilience-related factors (e.g. adapted to climate change or able to adapt to disruptive technology), underlying decisions are still based on more traditional cost matters.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, said: “While climate risk and resilience appear to be climbing up the list of considerations for investors in the built environment, the survey results suggest there is some way to go before these issues are treated as mainstream investment criteria.  Indeed, a not insignificant 40 percent of respondents globally actually described the issue as either ‘not important’ or ‘irrelevant’. Nevertheless, the judgement that energy efficient buildings are being increasingly viewed as an attractive investment does suggest that there is a solid foundation to build upon in raising awareness of the importance of sustainability going forward.”


Going forward

On 13 and 14 May 2019,  as part of the RICS World Built Environment Forum, the WBEF summit will focus on responsible investment and the impact we can have on the future of the planet through real estate, technology and infrastructure.

Parag Khanna, opening keynote speaker, comments  “Across the developed and developing world, cities are assuming an ever-greater role in the overall health, wealth and happiness of the planet’s people. At this pivotal point in human history, innovative, ambitious and holistic approaches to issues such as rapidly growing migrant populations and climate change are urgently required – and both the public and private sectors have a vital role to play. I’m excited about the opportunity to participate in this timely, global discussion.”

The World Built Environment Forum Summit 2019 will also explore how climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Ed Walter, Global CEO and Billy Grayson, Executive Director – Center for Sustainability and Economic Performance from the Urban Land Institute will share new research on how investment managers are beginning to factor climate risk into their investment strategy.