CRE Leaders Anticipate Sustainability Trends For 2023

Penalty-driven regulations, investor expectations, and tenant demands put pressure on the CRE industry to decarbonize.

Photo: Adobe Stock – troyanphoto

Cortex Sustainability Intelligence released a report detailing what commercial real estate (CRE) professionals predict sustainability trends will be for 2023. To make the challenge of decarbonizing office buildings a more manageable (and profitable) feat to overcome, Cortex enlisted the expertise of industry leaders from GRESB, Savanna Fund, and more.

The report highlights the following topics:

• Growing pressure to decarbonize from expanding sources
• Refining measurement and benchmarking standards
• Prioritizing profitable decarbonization

“Everyone can agree that a low/no carbon industry is the goal,” said GRESB, in the report. “The more complex question is the speed at which an industry can practically progress.”

Key Takeaways

Sustainability legislation and CRE investors have put pressure on buildings to move toward decarbonization, and more recently, additional pressure has come from building tenants. The report cites these three factors—penalty-driven regulations, investor expectations, and tenant demands—as the main drivers of decarbonization for the CRE industry.

Even with concerns about high inflation and a looming recession, external and internal pressures for buildings to decarbonize still remain, and the focus on ESG in the CRE industry continues to increase. Over 100 American cities announced plans to decarbonize in 2022, according to the report, but with buildings accounting for 28% of all emissions, they can’t reach net-zero unless buildings decarbonize.

“Luckily, decarbonization can be made profitable, which means that your sustainability plans do not need to conflict with your recession strategies,” according to the report. “Technological advances, such as sustainability intelligence softwares, are providing options to decarbonize that provide full payback and can actually positively impact your bottom line, with some companies even providing contractually guaranteed savings-over-fee.”

To learn more about the findings, download the report: “CRE Leaders Predict Top 3 Sustainability Trends for 2023.”

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