Real estate players join forces with Urban Land Institute to fast-track decarbonisation

real estateThe Urban Land Institute (ULI) has kicked off a new project in partnership with several major real estate organisations – including Allianz Real Estate, Catella, Hines, Redevco and Schroders Capital – that will support the built environment in Europe on its urgent journey to carbon neutrality.

The project, titled Fast-track to Decarbonisation: An Integrated Roadmap for the Built Environment, is part of ULI’s focus on decarbonisation as one of its global priorities as the Institute delivers its mission to shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide.

Fast-track to Decarbonisation aims to support the industry across Europe to speed up and scale up the decarbonisation process by analysing and consolidating the real estate industry’s approach to net zero, assessing progress and the impact of industry frameworks, as well as identifying urgent gaps and barriers that need to be bridged. The anticipated output will be a roadmap to enable the industry to accelerate progress and present an effective and efficient united front to support decarbonisation in collaboration with other stakeholders, such as tenants, the insurance sector and energy and infrastructure/mobility providers.

“A lot is already happening in the industry,” said ULI Europe CEO Lisette van Doorn. “Many investors and managers have already announced net zero carbon targets. However, many experience significant challenges when trying to implement these pledges. These range from legacy regulation or insurance issues holding up new innovations, current real estate valuation approaches not addressing the risks appropriately – hence complicating the business case for making the necessary investments – to lack of knowledge and expertise across the value chain and alignment issues between tenants and landlords.

“These issues show that the industry must collaborate and collectively work through the issues in order to scale up new innovations and speed up the process. Thanks to the early support of these leading, influential real estate companies, we can get started on this important initiative straightaway with more partners also looking to join us on our journey.”


The project

Fast-track to Decarbonisation aims to further the ULI mission by delivering a critical industry evaluation and analysis of the built environment approach to decarbonisation, focusing on the actors within the sector as well as those in close connection to it. The project will provide:

• an overview of the relations and dependencies between the different actors and stakeholders within the built environment in the transition to net zero, including owners and investors/financers, developers, occupiers and users, valuers, the construction industry and consultants;
• good and emerging practice on how data science, technology and innovation (for example, in materials) can help speed up the process and build the business case for net zero; and,
• an overview of the relations and dependencies with other sectors linked to the built environment (such as energy supply, transport, insurance) and analyse hurdles in the transition to net zero, as well as solutions for how to overcome these. The research part of the project includes a review of existing literature and industry guidance from other organisations, a survey among ULI members to get input on barriers, issues and solutions applied, and interviews with decarbonisation experts from the real estate and other industry sectors, academics and real estate practitioners, and other industry organisations.

Besides this core research element, the year-long project includes an active engagement and education programme through a significant number of local, and international, multi-disciplinary workshops, roundtables and webinars to increase awareness and collect input from ULI’s members and the wider industry.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”A lot is already happening in the industry, many investors and managers have already announced net zero carbon targets.”[/perfectpullquote]

The roadmap will be officially launched at a dedicated hybrid summit in summer 2022 and will be followed by at least two Advisory Services panels. These are five-day programmes within specific cities, where ULI members engage with communities dealing with a wide array of real estate and land use challenges to provide unbiased, expert advice and specific recommendations for improvement, to help the city fast-track and scale up the decarbonisation challenge of the built environment.

Fast-track to Decarbonisation is a key element of ULI’s global mission priority to decarbonise the real estate sector and accelerate progress to net zero, as the real estate industry confronts the challenge posed by climate change and seeks to achieve the objective of net zero carbon. Other initiatives already contributing to this effort include the ULI Greenprint Center (formed in 2009), a worldwide alliance of more than 50 leading real estate owners and financial institutions with $1.3 trillion in assets under management, that has been committed to improving the environmental performance of buildings by sharing best practices and performance data.

In addition, the ULI Net Zero Imperative aims to accelerate global decarbonisation at the city scale. It includes technical assistance for hard-to-decarbonise parts of the built environment, and teams of decarbonisation experts helping sponsors develop a cost-effective roadmap to decarbonising their building portfolio.