Climate change challenges are a global phenomenon and those involved with the built environment in particular must share information and best practices, said PwC’s ESG Legal Co-Leader, Christiane Conrads speaking at Real Asset Media’s recent, Outlook 2023: Europe & Asia – Capital, ESG & Key Investment Drivers, held in Singapore.
Conrads reviewed the progress with adopting ESG principles in Europe, particularly under the auspices of the European Union. But she emphasised, “when we’re speaking about ESG, it’s really important to keep in mind that it’s a global development, a global transition. The physical risks don’t stop at borders and regulations also have an impact on other regions around the world.”
She pointed out that there are those who think that there should be less focus on ESG because of the current crisis in Ukraine. “When the war started at the beginning of this year we had several discussions where it was ‘do we need to focus on the war, now the new uncertainty, and less on ESG?’ Eight months later I’m saying ‘no’.”
She added that the various crises are all interrelated and for Europe the war in the Ukraine is also a catalyst for renewable energy projects. Conrads also pointed out that in Germany energy independence is now one of the bigger concerns.
A major part of the solution to climate change and mitigating its effects will be provided by information sharing she said. “Collaboration is the new competition,” she added.
“Many in the industry have started to acknowledge that and have begun to jointly develop environmental and social concepts.”
Conrads pointed to Singapore’s City in a Garden project and the biodiversity which that embraces. “We won’t have climate change mitigation without a high degree of biodiversity so that’s something which is necessary for climate protection, but also for climate change adaptation.”
One example is the intensely green facades now on some buildings. These help cool the facades of buildings which then need less energy for air-conditioning, and also have a beneficial impact on the environment in adjacent buildings.
Singapore also has roof gardens that are combined with photovoltaic power plants. “This increases the efficiency of photovoltaic power plants due to the lower temperatures.”
Sharing this kind of knowledge is key, Conrads said.