Sustainability remains top of mind at Davos

JLL’s Global Head of Sustainability Services & ESG, Guy Grainger, explores how leaders are facing up to the climate challenge

May 27, 2022
  • Guy Grainger

At a time when there are plenty of economic and social troubles in the world to concern governments and businesses, has climate change slipped down the agenda?

Well….I am relieved to report that at World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos this is not the case. The climate challenge was front and centre. 

There are times, I admit, when there is too much talk about the future and not enough talk about what is happening now. But this is an event where NGOs and not-for-profits take to the stage with business leaders listening in the audience. So it is not long before an innovator, charity or leader from a developing nation puts new perspective about the overall impact of economic decisions. It is humbling and inspiring. 

My biggest takeaway were the conversations around nature based solutions. After all, leaders still need to be reminded that their business is actually dependent on nature. The critical role of water, biodiversity or pollination to the success of the global economy was very much a feature of this event. In fact, the supply of food itself will be a challenge for nearly 50 countries in the next few years. Leaders were left in no doubt that responsible capitalism has to find ways to drive profits in a nature-positive way.

This is where the our real estate industry can, and should, play an important role. Our research on the Decarbonization of Cities and Real Estate has brought the role of retrofitting buildings to the forefront of the discussion around the transition to a net zero economy.  

Despite the presence of high-profile leaders, this event brings home the role of individual behaviour and responsible decision-making. We all have the opportunity to make a real impact now. Let’s do it with purpose.