HAS GREEN BUILDING’S
WHILE INTEREST IN SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS IS GROWING, THERE ISSTILL MORE GROUND TO COVER FOR BOTH INVESTORS AND TENANTS.
BY LES SHAVER
In his annual note toinvestors, BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink said, “I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance” because of climate change. The BlackRock chieftain pledged to adopt climate considerations when managing its client’s $7 billion in assets.
Fink isn’t alone in seemingly newfound interest in climatechange. Buoyed by activist investors and violent wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes, along with the rising temperatures, largecapital providers are looking for solutions to climate change.
“It was a really interesting moment when Yahoo finance added
the sustainability tab on their website where anybody can go and
find out what the ESG [Environmental, Social and Governance]
performance of a company is and how that compares to its com-
petitors,” says Rachel Gutter, president of the International WELL
Building Institute. “These things are really being brought into the
As companies begin to consider climate change, it only makes
sense that they look at the buildings they inhabit and own. Real
estate is responsible for around 40% of global carbon emissions,
according to the World Economic Forum. Large cities are also get-
ting into the act. For instance, New York City passed the Climate
Mobilization Act, whose goal is the reduction of building carbon
“Many cities and states are progressing their own environmental
regulations and energy codes,” says Erin Hatcher, vice president of
sustainability for AMLI Residential. “We’re seeing a shift in focus,
particularly around energy efficiency. Enhanced building envelope
requirements are commonplace and sometimes even renewable
energy or net-zero goals are being pushed.”
At the same time, many companies are also focusing on the well-
ness of occupants. For instance, MetLife recently became the first
life insurance company to earn Fitwel certifications for its commit-
ment to healthy workplaces.
“Health and wellness have been a major focus for the industry
and continues to be,” says Keara Fanning, sustainability director at
JLL. “We recognize that the spaces people occupy have profound
effects on human health and wellbeing and we have an ability to
influence this for the better.”
From afar, it may seem like big business and the CRE community
have reached a tipping point with green and healthy buildings.