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The path to net-zero is taking another step forward, as one of the world’s highest carbon-emitting sectors says it is amplifying its focus on sustainability and decarbonization. We know the scientific rationale driving the worldwide push for decarbonization: The process minimizes the total greenhouse gas output largely by relying on low-carbon energy sources. This is critical for mitigating climate change and, according to a new survey, it offers a compelling business opportunity for real estate owners, occupants and investors. 

The real estate industry, specifically building and construction, is responsible for 38 percent of global carbon emissions, according to the U.N. Environment Program. Key players within the sector are starting to reply in kind: The worldwide commercial real estate services company JLL recently released a survey that revealed real estate senior executives are now more focused than ever before on sustainability. By and large, they have accepted the reality that climate risk is a financial risk. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic added a sense of urgency to taking on climate change risks while ensuring the safety of the buildings the real estate industry builds, sells and leases. Meanwhile, people are demanding safer and more sustainable spaces in which they live and work.

“People are beginning to see buildings as becoming agents of change and a force of good again rather than a cost ramification but that’s exactly what’s going to have to happen for all of these commitments that are coming out to be met,” said Robbie Hobbs, JLL’s global product group leader of sustainability and workplace management, during a recent interview with TriplePundit.