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Home » Commentary: Asian real estate can be more than a climate change victim—it can also be part of the solution

Commentary: Asian real estate can be more than a climate change victim—it can also be part of the solution

Asian real estate can be more than just a victim of climate change. It can be part of the solution, too

Asia is on the front line of the climate crisis: 10 of the 15 nations most at risk from flooding and extreme weather are based in Asia. That can be why, when it comes to talking about Asian real estate and climate change, we often talk about resilience. How do we protect buildings from rising waters, hugely damaging storms, or even just high temperatures?

But we can miss thinking about buildings as a cause of the problem themselves: 40% of annual carbon emissions comes from real estate which—even for those in the know about sustainability—is an eye-popping statistic.

Alarm bells should be ringing over the large role our buildings play in changing our climate. But what role can real estate companies—the ones responsible for constructing, operating, and maintaining these buildings—play in reducing that role?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report was a rude awakening for business leaders and global policymakers, highlighting the carbon emissions generated by the construction and operation of buildings. Emissions are released during construction, and from the energy used to heat, cool, and light up buildings. Then you have the emissions released from making the building materials themselves—which will make up almost half of the entire carbon footprint for real estate between now and 2050 as the global building stock doubles in size.

A desire for change

Business and public stakeholders are increasingly paying attention to the environmental impact of their real estate portfolio. In fact, according to our data, 83% of real estate occupiers and 78% of investors in the survey accept that climate poses a financial risk.

Driven by heightened global scrutiny around sustainability after the IPCC report, companies that were perhaps less-than-diligent in their plans are being pushed to change.

Real estate companies must play a critical role in helping Asian businesses turn their sustainability ambitions into reality.