Sharing Global Trends and Best Practices in Sustainable Development 

As the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) landscape continues to evolve globally, ULI Greenprint’s research and member engagement keeps ULI members abreast of best practices that improve the built environment.  

In late 2020, ULI Greenprint conducted a series of interviews with ULI Sustainable Development Product Council participants to identify a set of key ESG issues that will likely affect the industry’s decision-making in the months ahead, and beyond. The resulting report, ULI Sustainability Outlook, informs ULI members and the broader real estate industry on the sustainability themes that are on the rise, why they matter, and the actions the industry should pursue to address them. District and national councils like ULI South Korea and ULI Mexico leveraged the outputs of the report to program local events for members to raise the topic of sustainability in an approachable and practical way. Ten themes were identified:  

  1. Real estate’s increasing role in advancing sustainability throughout the market 
  2. Increased appetite for ESG investing 
  3. Heightened emphasis on health and social equity 
  4. A baseline expectation for energy efficiency in real estate 
  5. Tenants driving sustainability innovation 
  6. Emissions reductions through embodied carbon of building construction materials 
  7. Increasingly grid-interactive buildings 
  8. Resilience and climate risk as a priority for investments 
  9. Water as a resource to be conserved and leveraged 
  10. Waste reduction over a building’s life cycle 

As these themes show, building owners, investors, occupants, cities, and communities have an expanding number of opportunities to find value in sustainable real estate. Collaboration between all these stakeholders was also emphasized in Global Goals: A Primer on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals for Real Estate, which outlined the business case for real estate to align with materially relevant sustainable development goals (SDGs) using current examples from the industry. The 17 SDGs aim to end poverty while also improving global health, reducing inequality, and protecting the planet and have become a common framework for governments and businesses to use for communicating ESG initiatives.  

With more ULI members integrating sustainable practices into their portfolios than ever before, the real estate industry is well positioned to be part of the solution to myriad challenges related to climate change, energy conservation, health, racial injustice, and economic inequities across the globe. 



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