Sustainability answers known – trick is to implement and thrive

Collaboration is a fundamental necessity for sustainability to succeed, whether that is regarding net zero, biodiversity or social value, said CBRE Investment Management’s EMEA head of sustainability Robbie Epsom.

“Things like the impact community are absolutely fundamental if we’re going to get to where we want to get to, not just within our sector but across all the sectors,” he said. “So the more platforms we have to collaborate the better.”

Epsom added that it is important to build on what is already happening.

“We’re going through an industrial revolution that is probably bigger than any in human history – not just climate change and environment and sustainability, all those things – but with AI also coupled in.”

Epsom said that we are at the point where we have the data to understand the situation, although there are still gaps, “we understand what technology we need to change, we know we have to turn off fossil fuels across the economy, we just need to know with what technology and when we do it.”

“That’s where we are right now and that’s really exciting because it means we’re making those changes at the asset level. But also, in parallel to all this, we’ve got to the point where we’re  seeing impact funds launching across the market to address things like carbon removal to look at climate technology all these sorts things.

“The fact that we’ve now got the information, the data, the technology, to do it means we can have a tough but exciting conversation about what’s the next step.”

He acknowledged that any changes are disruptive to business.

“The big challenge is doing it in a way that is fair, and doesn’t put an environmental impact onto a different lifecycle stage, doesn’t solve an environmental problem but create a social problem.”

“We know the answers, we know what technology is needed, we know we need to switch off fossil fuels. We know these things, the challenge is to make it work in a way that allows us to make our business thrive.”