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RICS: What Is Their Sustainability Agenda?

RICS: What Is Their Sustainability Agenda?

In 2007, Sir John Harman, chairman of the Environment Agency, advised that “Climate change is happening. Decades of unsustainable development have placed significant pressure on the environment”. He also said that “the built environment had a major role to play in getting us back on course”.

Property Aspects Magazine spoke with Amanda Clack, Partner at EY, President-Elect of RICS, to discuss the current position of RICS’ – and its professionals’ – role in combating climate change.


What is RICS Doing About the Effects of Climate Change?

“I’m incredibly proud that we were asked to join the UN Global Compact. Our Chief Executive, Dr. Sean Tompkins, went along as the only representative from the built environment. He came away with a pretty big mandate, which is to start to look at sustainability, in the broadest context of built environment, and what more we can be doing”.

“We’ve just produced a really great toolkit on this, called ‘‘. It is all about advancing responsibility in business practices in land, construction, real estate use and investment. That report is available to download and it’s really starting to put down some of the issues that we need to be thinking about – particularly around climate change and also about sustainability – in the way in which we think about the built environment”.

“Our President, Martin Brühl, has really been championing this in terms of his role as an investor in the built environment and has been looking at sustainability in investment as being key. You’ll find that there’s a lot that’s been covered in that report”.

“We are very much at the forefront of leading the built environment on thinking about climate change and I think we’ve got to keep doing more going forward”.


In What Way are RICS Professionals Involved in the Sustainability Agenda?

“RICS professionals are involved in every aspect of the sustainability agenda. If you look at some of the key issues, particularly around power, we need 45% more energy by 2030 than we did in 2012, globally. If you reflect that back in to the UK, there’s a real risk that if we don’t focus on energy, the lights could go off. So what are we doing?”

“Look at offshore farms. You’re putting these big wind turbines in the middle of the ocean. If you don’t understand what you’re drilling into and what kind of bedrock is there, then you haven’t got a stable construction. Our professionals are surveying the ocean bed”.

“In terms of the production of turbines themselves and making it all happen, you’ve got cost management at the heart of that. That’s what our professionals do; project management and the physical, construction side of it as well. Our professionals are involved in it and there’s a whole host of planning issues associated and change of land use. Again, our professionals are involved in all of that”.

“In particular, there is the push on new nuclear and what that’s going to look and feel like. These are massive construction projects that are happening here in the UK and our professionals are there, right throughout the life cycle of making that happen”.

“The investment is there, from the government and from the private sector, and surveyors have to be an intrinsic part of all of that“.



Alternatively, you can watch the RICS Futures: Our Changing World video below