Decarbonisation at MIPIM 2023: rising to the challenge


While we manage our carbon impacts and continually scrutinise the decisions we make in order to reduce them, industry events like MIPIM pose a dilemma. To go or not to go? How do we make attendance worthwhile and create positive impacts from doing so? Our industry’s gathering in Cannes creates huge possibilities for connections and personal discussion which is unrivalled globally. But we want to put progress at the forefront of those conversations. Those connections should be valuable to our goal for tackling decarbonisation with the widest viewpoint, and to contribute more positively in the long term.

Managing Partner Alistair Allison spoke with MIPIM News, to highlight this mission and explain why the goal of decarbonisation is central to our work at TFT. He summarised the conversation for us here:

Will we all leave Cannes with a clearer focus? Specifically, a focus on delivering a resilient and sustainable built environment? I hope so.

Any real estate investor, developer or occupier will know what sustainability looks like today – a huge array of certifications all claiming facets of success. But the harder, less visible work is for our whole industry to align itself with the same priorities: decarbonise our assets by reducing energy use and improving building efficiency. If we can do it, we can deliver short-term benefits like boosting ‘green’ economies and reducing energy costs, while also improving our long-term prospects of achieving Net Zero Carbon.

Our team is part of an industry-wide effort to create a clearer and more consistent approach to the decarbonisation of real estate. We helped deliver the British Property Federation’s ‘Towards Net Zero’ report, finding that 9 in 10 property leaders don’t believe our industry will achieve Net Zero Carbon, and identifying targeted policy areas which could change that outlook.

It’s far from a British issue, and impacts the industry globally. We work with major funds, occupiers and developers globally who are taking the lead with their own ambitious standards. But that leaves a large proportion of our industry left to engage.

We know 80% of the buildings in use by 2050 have already been built. We propose that only widespread, economical and effective retrofit schemes can make those buildings ready for the future. The great barrier to doing so is the investment required.

So I’m encouraged by several examples of policies which nudge retrofit economics in the right direction, and expand their benefits in the process.

In the Netherlands, companies are offered tax reductions equal to 45% of their retrofit investment, to bring costs within a more manageable range. In Italy, there is a 110% ‘superbonus’ tax scheme, for building owners who invest in improving their buildings’ efficiency. Both of these policies cover insulation upgrades, installing technology like heat pumps and solar panels, and replacing old boilers.

But what about the skills required to meet the surge in demand as works become more affordable? In the UK, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority has launched a scheme in conjunction with local education centres, providing sustainable construction skills for all, including installation of renewable technologies.

While we wait for policies like these to become commonplace and raise the standards of the industry not just in the UK but internationally, I hope MIPIM will be a forum for inspiration and action. I look forward to more debate and agreement on best practice and new opportunities for decarbonisation.

With so much to talk about, I will be saying three things clearly to everyone who will listen: we can achieve a more sustainable, resilient built environment. We can make decarbonisation a responsibility for every stakeholder in our industry. We can meet today’s urgent and acute challenges while we do so.

Read the full article in MIPIM News, here.