As the new chair of ULI Europe, Hines CEO-Europe Lars Huber spoke at the ULI UK annual conference, addressing ongoing shifts within the industry. Most importantly, he stated that the biggest priorities for the real estate industry are the need to curb climate change, drive social impact, and further advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The Top Five Priorities for the Real Estate Industry
Hines CEO - Europe, Lars Huber, presented key real estate trends at the ULI UK Annual Conference
The top five takeaways from his speech cover what the industry is doing right and what else can be done.
1. The environmental agenda - moving in the right direction
Climate change and inequality are long-term ills, and if their resolution is further postponed, it will become an even bigger crisis than the tremendous challenges that we’re seeing now. That being said, progress has been made. The industry is on its way to accomplishing the transition to net zero and it is encouraging to see the demand for low carbon space, which we believe will only intensify.
I firmly believe that we have the power to make real change to save the planet, to pressure governments to do better, and to innovate our industry in ways that benefit the world.
Lars Huber, CEO, European Region / London, UK
2. The call for more innovation
While a lot of the necessary technology is already available, more innovation and its commercialization is still required. Even more importantly, we believe the wide-spread adoption of the knowledge to use new tech and adapt industry practices is key. This is a call for the industry to unite. Together we can contribute to the private sector's effort to fight climate change, and hopefully increase collaboration with the public sector.
3. Time to level the playing field
As the global housing crisis continues, affordable housing has become one of the most pressing issues for society and for our industry. Eliminating this stressor could have a great collective impact on people’s quality of life, on the environment and on social advancement. Our industry needs to play a key role in solving this issue. We have the potential to bring about a sense of togetherness and community through more inclusive placemaking, both as real estate leaders and individuals.
4. A new era of transparency
The concept of greenwashing, as well as the more recent ESG-bashing in some parts of the media, has colored the conversation around ESG and has made it seem like accountability is an unachievable goal. This shouldn't be the case -- the result should be a real estate sector that is highly transparent when it comes to carbon and other ESG performance, because we believe it will be essential to investors and the people using our buildings.
5. We're in this together
Everything mentioned here requires a collective effort from our industry, and luckily, it seems as though we're on the right track. It doesn’t help if one company manages to fulfill goals on its own without sharing those advances to help others. Success is about achieving this mission together.
One of the biggest challenges facing the built environment is how the use of carbon impacts the climate, our environment and society at large. That's why Hines has set a target of net-zero operational carbon in our building portfolio by 2040.
To learn more, visit: A Plan For Our Planet