The rise of ESG – Environment, Social, Governance – has been a guiding principle for global investors and institutions for a while, but the pandemic has really brought these issues to the fore. ESG has become na unavoidable priority rather than a 'nice to have'. Institutional investors are now as focused on achieving net zero carbon as governments around the world are. But to what extent do deeds match words? Is investors' stated commitment matched by the real estate sector’s strategies? What are the biggest issues the industry faces in addressing the challenge of ESG? Moving to net zero is a challenging task. What are the challenges and the opportunities? What innovations are under way? Is 'green washing' now finished as stricter new regulations come into force at EU as well as national level? How can investors put together a cohesive strategy across their business? How can investors transform existing buildings and what role does green finance play? Will the role of embedded carbon be key to this transformation? Is it time to look at valuation in a different way? How is the drive to net zero affecting the different sectors? To what extent is it a catalyst for significant change? What is the role of certification and does it address all the issues? What data are essential to the process of moving towards net zero carbon? Is it possible to use data to make meaningful cost comparisons?
The disruption to society forced by the health crisis has created a greater focus on the “S”, making social aspects more relevant than ever. There has been a significant growth in investor demand for responsible investment and impact strategies that target positive environmental and social benefits in addition to market-rate returns. Impact investing is now on the agenda for investors and occupiers, but what does this mean in practical terms? What are the key drivers and the key strategies? What are the main trends in the market? What are the opportunities and what are the challenges? How easy is it to measure the impact of a specific strategy? What are the key sectors that fit an impact strategy? How does it apply to the office sector? What about residential? Will the trend focus more capital on areas such as Senior Living, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Affordable Housing? What about urban transformation plans or infrastructure projects? How is impact investing developing in different markets and countries across Europe? Is it a 'one size fits all' approach or are different markets at different stages? As more companies now articulate a social purpose, what do we mean by 'social value' and 'social purpose'? To what extent has our understanding of impact investing changed during the pandemic?
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