Net zero needs innovation in approach not just technology

Net zero decarbonisation of the real estate industry needs to accelerate because 2030 is “right around the corner”, stated Ella Etienne-Denoy, senior director, head of ESG business development and innovation, Continental Europe, CBRE

At the recent EPRA Sustainability Summit she sat on a panel that looked at net zero decarbonisation and what needs to be done.  

“We spoke about common definitions and standards, also all the work that’s been carried out over the past 10 years, the question of data reliability, embodied carbon and we had a really interesting talk about the initiatives,” she explained to Real Asset Insight’s Richard Betts, referring to the CRREM (Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor) initiative and the ULI’s C-Change programme.

Innovation is necessary, but has different facets, Etienne-Denoy explained.

“When we think about ‘innovation’ we often think about technology. But innovation is also in the approach that you take. For instance, when we’re talking about sustainability currently in the industry, what we’re saying is ‘a race to net zero carbon’.”

“But that’s only part of the carbon story,” she added. Climate resilience needs to be addressed and there are other topics. “You can choose to be following the trend currently in the industry, focusing only on net zero, or taking a more Innovative approach maybe giving you an edge where you’re going to have a holistic view addressing net zero, climate resilience, biodiversity, and resource optimisation.”

Obviously there is a need for innovation in terms of technology, “but I think we need to be innovative in the ways we think and in the tools that we implement,” Etienne-Denoy added.