Home » Climate Action » Businesses must act now on the climate and nature emergency

Gemma Piggott

UK Head of Corporate Sustainability, JLL

For any business, adopting a purpose-driven approach and collaborating deeply will help bring about a sustainable future.  

Buildings are a key component of a sustainable future, with focus needed on both carbon and nature. We must equip people with the skills to deliver greener businesses and better buildings. 

Buildings as part of the solution 

With buildings responsible for nearly 40% of carbon emissions globally, decarbonising the built environment is critical. This includes identifying opportunities to reduce energy consumption, procuring renewable energy and adopting a circular economy approach.  

The need applies as much to existing buildings as new ones, with 80% of buildings today likely to still be in use by 2050. Our research estimates that across the world’s most mature cities, at least 90% of office buildings are over 10 years old, and most would not meet today’s energy efficiency standards for new builds. In that context, we need to triple the current pace of retrofitting — the practice of refurbishing existing buildings to reduce carbon emissions. 

Prioritise nature 

The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries. The Dasgupta review highlighted that our economies, livelihoods and wellbeing depend on nature, yet inequality of access to natural green space is significant; only 35% of low-income households are within 10 minutes of accessible green space.  

Emerging frameworks and legislation will drive change, but we must act now. At JLL, we enhance and restore nature across our buildings and supply chain and support our clients — the owners and occupiers of buildings — to install nature-based solutions in and around their buildings and within their communities. We’re also collaborating with the UK Green Building Council to accelerate action on nature.  

We must accelerate decarbonising the built environment today to ensure a secure future for all.

Every job is a sustainability job 

To bridge the gap between intent and action, businesses must reimagine their workforce and embrace the opportunity to upskill their teams. At JLL, for example, we have embedded sustainability leads in key service areas, launched a firm-wide sustainability training programme and introduced a sustainability graduate pathway focusing on our next generation of employees.  

Through our partnership with WWF, we are supporting the Sustainable Futures programme to equip young people to thrive in a future green economy. Free for all UK secondary schools and colleges, there is a specific commitment to engaging students from underrepresented groups, including those from ethnically diverse backgrounds and low-income households.  

If we are to address the climate emergency, collaborative efforts are critical. We must accelerate decarbonising the built environment today to ensure a secure future for all. 

To learn more, visit our Sustainability Services page

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