Sustainability must be a priority for cities seeking to benefit from renewed travel, a new report from JLL and the World Travel and Tourism Council claims.
The Destination 2030: Global Cities’ Readiness for Sustainable Tourism Growth report assessed 63 global cities to assess their readiness to benefit from post-pandemic travel.
A recovery in travel and tourism is crucial to the global economy; $4.9 trillion of GDP and 62 million tourism jobs were lost in 2020, the report says.
The report ranks cities in eight pillars, one of which is “environmental readiness”, assessed on the basis of factors such as air and water quality, use of renewables and the risk of natural disaster. The top ranked cities were: Sydney, Seville, Bogota, Paris, Barcelona, Venice, Rome, Amsterdam, Macau and Chengdu.
Sustainable tourism is a priority for more that 80% of travellers, so cities need to factor it into their tourism planning, the report says. Technology-aided measurement of sustainability factors and sustainable growth plans will boost cities tourism planning.
This year will see Hong Kong’s major real estate players strongly focus on ESG compliance, Cushman & Wakefield claims.
In its latest Hong Kong Market Direction report, C&W says real estate investment trusts and investment funds will lead the way, following last year’s consultations from the Securities & Futures Commission (SFC) on management and disclosure for climate-related risks, requiring fund managers to undertake climate risk consideration as part of their investment process.
Under the SFC requirement, managers with more than HK$8 billion ($1 billion) of assets under management are expected to meet climate-related risk requirements as part of their investment strategy by August 20 this year. All other fund managers must meet the same requirements by November 20.
“We forecast that ESG objectives and greener real estate practices will be more influential than ever, especially as we have already witnessed government-backed SFC regulations to actively engage fund managers to implement climate risks. And, linked to the focus on ESG, multinational firms will be further incentivised to seek green and wellness-certified office buildings," said John Siu, managing director, Hong Kong, C&W.
The broker predicts ESG mandates from regulators and occupiers will drive greater development of newer and greener energy efficient buildings, particularly among the most established landlords and developers.
At the close of 2021 there were 58 Beam Plus Platinum certified commercial buildings or units in Hong Kong, compared with only 34 at the end of 2019, a jump of 71% in just two years .
Sustainability will be the driving force for stakeholders in Indian real estate in future, a new report from CBRE argues.
The Indian Real Estate’s ESG Landscape and its Progress to a Sustainable Future report highlights ongoing progress in sustainable real estate practices and outlines themes for the future.
Abhinav Joshi, head of research, India, Middle East & North Africa, said: “ESG is fast becoming embedded into the collective conscious of businesses and investors. As commitments to decarbonise rise, demand for sustainable buildings is expected to follow suit. Our analysis of the certified built environment in India shows that this transformation is already underway.”
India’s supply of green certified buildings has grown by 37% in the past five years, compared with the previous five, adding more than 78 million sq ft of space. More and more developers are seeking certification, with LEED and Indian Green Building Council certification being the most popular. Both national and state governments offer incentives for green buildings, for example a rooftop solar subsidy equivalent to 30% of installation costs.
The share of certified buildings in total commercial stock is as high as 44% in Delhi NCR and Hyderabad, but certified buildings make up only 16% of total stock in Mumbai. Certified buildings tend to be new developments in peripheral office markets; there have been few refurbishments upgrading building certification.
CBRE predicts further Indian real estate will come under more regulatory pressure, both domestically and internationally. Coupled with this trend, benchmarking and reporting will also be crucial going forward. At present much regulation focuses on larger companies, but this is expected to change.
The property adviser also predicts that proptech will be critical to achieving ESG goals, whether it is used to measure building performance or improve the tenant experience. An important focus of technology and other measures will be increasing the energy efficiency of buildings.
Green finance will also grow strongly in India, CBRE says. India introduced a regulatory framework for green loans in 2017 and last year $16.5 billion of green bonds were issued.
Joshi said: “Going forward, we believe that regulatory requirements around ESG adoption would continue to tighten, and sustainability reporting standards and benchmarks would gather more steam. As a result, markets with a proactive approach and a continuous focus on sustainability and climate risk mitigation strategies will be frontrunners as investment destinations.”
Real estate advisor Savills has identified 10 trends which it says will be of increasing importance for investors in 2022. Some of these trends derive from resolutions made at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow, UK, while others reflect the developing sustainability landscape.
1. INTEGRATED SUSTAINABILITY
All businesses will be expected to have sustainability woven into the fabric of their organisations. Dedicated experts are needed more than ever, but there is also a growing requirement for sustainability to become a part of everyone’s day-to-day job description.
2. ZERO TOLERANCE FOR GREENWASHING
The public understanding and subsequent scrutiny of sustainability commitments has never been higher. The expectation for honesty and accountability will impact organisations which fail to comply.
3. DISCLOSURE AND REPORTING
More and more countries will be following the UK to make sustainability reporting and disclosure mandatory. Data will be needed to meet the pledges made at COP26. The UN-backed non-profit Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is set to help companies collect more comprehensive inventory of their emissions, avoiding greenwashing.
4. SUPPLY CHAINS
At present, many companies exclude their supply chains although they typically account for 80% of Scope 3 emissions. The trickle-down effect of sustainable supply chain management has the potential to significantly raise standards.
5. ENERGY RISK MANAGEMENT
Globally, as the world shifts to a lower carbon economy, moving away from coal, there will be an increase in the uptake of gas and nuclear power. The price of renewables-derived energy will continue to fall and reliability will increase, driven by technological advancements and widespread adoption. As organisations learn to cope with this new reality many will be driven to develop, for the first time, energy policies which include energy security and prices within corporate risk registers.
6. LOW CARBON TRANSPORT
A huge push is coming to decarbonise transport and electric vehicles are leading the way. Following the COP26 declaration to sell only cars and vans with zero emissions by 2040, more manufacturers will be shifting to electric cars. This should lead to the acceleration of EV infrastructure.
COP26 delivered on a groundbreaking pledge to end deforestation by 2030. While there is currently no alignment, framework or clarity on how this will be achieved, the importance of nature for maintaining the world economy may inspire investors to consider the loss of biodiversity and deforestation as a systemic risk.
8. REGULATING AND MEASURING THE ‘S’ IN ESG
Traction is building on the clearer measurement and regulation of the social element of ESG. This may include human rights, diversity and inclusion or health and wellbeing considerations in real estate.
There are over 400 sustainability standards, benchmarks and certifications which organisations can voluntarily choose to adopt, creating a complex and confusing landscape for many. To cut through the confusion, a streamlining is expected to be called for by many industry players.
10. ENGAGEMENT, NOT AVOIDANCE
For some, sustainability strategy has pushed for an avoidance approach to risk. For example, selling less sustainable assets. However, there is an increasing awareness that this merely shifts the problem and does not help reach decarbonisation and sustainability goals. Investors and asset managers will need to engage with occupiers to address these issues.