On the Road to Zero

At MIPIM we are committed to championing the work the built environment sector is doing to tackle climate change and providing a global forum to drive progress. With COP28 featuring some key commitments that will impact on buildings and cities, we will have an opportunity to understand more deeply what this means for our sector and how businesses, organisations and governments need to act.

It is well documented that the built environment has a significant impact on the planet – the built environment contributes 40% of the world’s carbon emissions and research by Statista in 2022 suggests that 80% of UK citizens are concerned about climate change.

According to the Chief of Staff at the Green Finance Institute, Emma Harvey-Smith “ ‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’ is a proverb that goes back 400 years. While the majority of our homes might not go back to the 1600s, the UK has some of the oldest and least energy efficient homes in Europe, with buildings responsible for 23% of the UK’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. But it’s not just homes that are the problem. PwC has estimated that as much as 85% of the UK’s office stock falls short of proposed standards.”

Whilst the topic itself is not new, we are seeing a growing level of awareness and urgency.

This can be seen in new initiatives with the ‘Buildings Breakthrough’ initiative recently launched at COP28 which sees 27 countries, including the UK, join forces to transform the sector with a view to making near-zero emissions and climate resilient buildings the new normal in the UK.

We can also see that sustainability is influencing both rental and capital prices. The latest RICS Sustainability Report published in December 2023, asked participants to “…indicate to what extent green and sustainability features of a building impact rents and capital values in their country. On a scale from 1 (green features having no impact at all) to 5 (green features having a significant impact), around two-thirds of respondents globally selected a rating of between 3 and 4. Judging by this response, sustainability features of a building appear to have a fairly strong impact on rents and capital values. Only around 6% of contributors globally suggest that green features have no impact at all on rents and prices.”

This is backed up by research by Legal & General published at the end of 2022 which suggests that buyers looking for a new home are willing to pay a 10.5%  premium for a low carbon property.

However, making an impact needs collaboration and new ways of thinking. As Harvey-Smith says “According to the UK Climate Change Committee an investment of £350 billion is needed to decarbonise the UK’s building stock. This investment cannot be met by the public purse alone – we need to mobilise private capital towards retrofitting our existing buildings and delivering net-zero construction of new properties.

While investors, governments and corporates are forming multi-billion dollar sustainability coalitions, there exists an execution gap to deploying this capital. To maximise impact, these coalitions need the right data, institutions and operating model to create risk/return opportunities for investors – this is exactly the role of the Green Finance Institute.

The Green Finance Institute applies a sectoral transition model, alongside unique institutional capability, to close the execution gap. Our work in the built environment, transport and nature sectors has supported the creation of new markets – from scaling the Green Mortgage market from 3 to 60+ products in 4 years to establishing a Utilisation Linked Finance market to support EV chargepoint investment – and we are expanding our impact with new offices in Spain and Denmark.

By testing, demonstrating, and scaling financial solutions across sectors and geographies, with a tenacious focus on practical outcomes, the global finance industry can bridge the execution gap and deploy the trillions needed to reach net-zero.”


Nicolas Kozubek, Managing Director of MIPIM says “MIPIM has an important role to play in enabling the necessary industry collaboration and conversation around sustainability and we are working hard to do this whilst also ensuring that the event itself has a reduced impact on the planet.”

Nick Walkley, Principal and UK President, Avison Young, said: “Global events such as MIPIM have a real responsibility to show leadership on sustainability. At Avison Young, we’re striving to take more positive and visible steps in our own journey towards net zero. As part of that commitment, we are asking more of our colleagues to take the train and the majority of our attendees will be doing so as we head to Cannes. The AY team invite not only our colleagues but also our clients and competitors to join us or consider a similar shift either this year or in the future. It’s a collective effort, a shared journey towards a more sustainable future. If the carbon saved isn’t enough, our French colleagues have also promised us lunch in Paris. Keep an eye out for us on the way down.”

According to Kozubek, “We will be supporting the conversation and awareness around the topic at MIPIM 2024; we will again have the Road to Zero stage and we will be recognising sustainable projects in our awards and MIPIM 2024 will be our most sustainable exhibition to date.

In terms of minimising the impact of the event on the planet, RX is a founding member of the UFI pledge committing to achieving net zero carbon by 2050 and we are taking practical steps at MIPIM to meet this:

  • We are minimising waste throughout the event, maximising re-use and recycling of exhibition stand materials. MIPIM generated 32% less waste in 2023 than in 2022, despite more visitors and our goal is to continue to reduce waste by around 10% every year.
  • MIPIM’s official caterers and food & beverage suppliers are certified on matters such as sourcing products sustainably and commitments to both reducing waste and disposing of waste correctly.
  • We are improving the impact of transport where we are responsible for it or promoting attendee and partner initiatives. For example, all official MIPIM cars are now electric or hybrid.

The impact the built environment has on the planet will continue to be a vital issue for the sector and for MIPIM and we are committed to playing our part in supporting the sector with this journey.”


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