MIPIM 2022 Key Takeaways: Sustainability and the future of real estate
Net Zero initiatives have been launched right across the world, with many countries already working on delivering carbon-neutral projects and cities. This was a major focus at MIPIM, a premier real estate event that took place in Cannes, France, at the Palais des Festivals, between 15 – 18 March 2022. The event brought together industry leaders from all over the world to drive urban change and discuss the future of real estate sustainability and decarbonization. Monstarlab participated in MIPIM and put forward its latest insights and views on the technology and innovation needed to increase sustainability for buildings and cities.
The opening keynote was delivered by the former president of the French Republic, François Hollande, who shared his beliefs and positions regarding the significant issues our society is facing with climate change and the economic and social problems that every nation is experiencing. The former president highlighted that the real estate industry must drive the change and work on essential values: livability, sustainability, resilience, and affordability.
Key themes that emerged over the three-day event included:
- Green is the new black
- Cities for residents
- The office uprising
- Real estate – Much more than an asset
- Housing first
Below is a summary of these key discussion points with insights from some of the world leaders in real estate.
1. Green is the new black
During the event, Abigail Dean, global head of strategic insights from Nuveen Real Estate, said: “The most significant challenge for the real estate industry is bridging the skills gap to achieve net-zero carbon for all buildings by 2050 at the absolute latest.” She explained to the audience that this requires rapid change in the real estate industry over the coming years and the need to transform existing buildings and design new buildings.
Following COP26, the major climate change event in Glasgow last year, countries around the world have committed to Net Zero targets, with the aim of rapid decarbonization to help protect the planet. The real estate industry has a major responsibility to ensure that buildings are equipped with the latest digital technology to support greater sustainability and efficiency.
Abigail Dean suggested that “There is a lot of demand for greener buildings now, and not many are available.” She added that “there is a window of opportunity for those who can get up to speed quickly to take advantage of the potential value uplift, deliver green buildings to the market, and satisfy that demand.”
Building managers and operators around the world are implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics to help drive improved efficiencies in energy consumption. We expect this to continue to rise as more buildings go through digital transformation in the coming years.
We’ve spoken to Founding Partner at Nordic Sustainability and expert on sustainability and corporate strategy, Esben Lanthén, who adds
“The buildings sector (Incl. construction) is responsible for almost one-third of total global final energy consumption and nearly 15% of direct CO2 emissions. We won’t solve the climate crisis without radically changing how we build, use, and reuse our buildings.”
2. Cities for residents
Another key takeaway from MIPIM was the need for residents to be more involved in the planning process of buildings and cities. This particularly needs to happen at the local level to ensure that residents’ needs are being met.
Guillemette Colombe, head of consultations at civic tech start-up Make.org, explained that with the rapid rise of social media usage, residents challenge local decisions more and more and want to make their voices heard. She added that residents involvement brings better decisions which leads to better cities. It generates solutions that are more adapted with better resident appropriation. Colombe commented that in 2022, many new tools, ideas, and methodologies are available, using field and digital participation. There is also a strong resident will to participate, especially in the topics that impact them most.
Many local governments worldwide, such as Amsterdam, Visakhapatnam, Phoenix, or Mexico City, have demonstrated their commitment to data-informed, local decision-making by adopting e-governance methods or by initiating ‘smart city’ programs. Such programs aim to improve technological capacities and increase data availability to support effective decision-making. More importantly, they highlight governments’ preparedness to innovate and undergo institutional, local-driven change.
Esben Lanthén comments that
“Cities are obvious partners for the real estate sector in addressing energy consumption and carbon emissions from buildings. Almost 200 cities worldwide have committed to science-based carbon reduction plans that will keep the world on a 1.5 warming degree trajectory and align with the Paris Climate Agreement. More cities are on the way, and they won’t reach those goals without partnerships.”
3. Real estate: much more than an asset
Neil Slater, global head of real assets from abrdn, highlighted that collaboration between the private sector, central and local governments is key. He added that the key opportunity for the real estate industry is to demonstrate that it can truly positively impact both the environment and society.
Slater argued for the need for all stakeholders to build the right ecosystem for communities and, where possible, to anticipate change, plan accordingly, get the infrastructure and environmental considerations correct, and ensure that cities offer an attractive place to live and work.
4. Housing first
Housing affordability will continue to be a hot topic for 2022 as the continued escalating demand across tenures and key locations is not matched by available supply. This was the view of Alex Notay, placemaking & investment director of PfP Capital. She believes that there is a gap between that often-mentioned ‘wall of money’ and the availability of appropriate stock.
Notay said that stabilised portfolios of sufficient scale are thin on the ground, and construction cost inflation, supply chain issues, and development risk all present challenges around delivering new housing at scale.
Globally, more efforts need to be made to create greater housing affordability for residents in order to keep up with demand and provide comfortable and cost-competitive homes for current and future generations.
5. The Office Uprising
With COVID-19 downsizing from being a pandemic to an endemic, climate change is now the biggest challenge for real estate and the world in general. Beverley Kilbride, LaSalle Investment Management, emphasised that investors in offices will need to reassess their assets’ carbon footprint and implement carbon-cutting procedures to comply with advances towards a net-zero future. Kilbride added that institutionalised working-from-home habits would be hard to shift, and companies must look to re-imagine office spaces to lure staff back.
The building and construction industry is responsible for more than a third – 39% – of all global carbon emissions, and daily energy use is only a part of those emissions. Architects and engineers need to create inherent efficiency within the permanent structures of new buildings at the start of projects.
Digital solutions for a more livable future
Monstarlab has built mechanisms to operate and manage elements of buildings from single applications powered by IoT. This has made it possible to increase building efficiency and sustainability. Monstarlab’s work with Otis is an excellent example of this. To future-proof, its customer experience and promote efficiency throughout the service lifespan of each product, Otis partnered with Monstarlab to develop the IoT platform “eCall”. eCall enables the cloud connection of elevators to an app for which Monstarlab has also developed an SDK for smartphone apps and third-party developers.
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