Pandemic changes priorities to bring renewed focus on ESG

The pandemic has accelerated the focus on environmental sustainability in particular the climate crisis, according to Abigail Dean, global head of strategic insights, real estate, at Nuveen.

She said that the last year has seen an incredible mobilisation of the scientific community in  developing vaccines, and unprecedented social and economic changes to deal with the threat.

“This has set an example of how the world can mobilise to tackle existential crises such as the pandemic or the climate crisis,” she told Real Asset Insight’s Richard Betts.

As we emerge from the crisis there is now an opportunity to build back better, she said. The investment community accepts that climate risk is synonymous with investment risk which she says will translate to the creation of low-carbon buildings.

While social aspects of ESG have been somewhat neglected by the property industry the pandemic has shone a light on social inequalities. Real estate has an obvious role directly through provision of socially useful buildings but also an indirect role in being able to invest in under-represented areas.

Another trend is the rise in impact investing, she said.

Click on the video above to watch the full interview or listen to the podcast below.