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RICS and UN Launch Global Real Estate Sustainability Initiative

Building & Construction

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the United Nations have issued a call to organisations in the land, construction and real estate sectors, and those working with them, to take a leading role in responsible and sustainable business practices.


The UK headquarter RICS and the UN’s Global Compact organisation, are undertaking its first initiative to promote responsible business that focuses exclusively on one specific economic sector, launched a new report in New York.

It examines the sector's impact in relation to the UN Global Compact's four focus areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption and identifies some of the most critical issues facing the sector.

It points out that the land, real estate and construction sector represents up to 70% of global wealth, contributes around one tenth of the total global gross domestic product (GDP) each year and represents 7% of overall employment.

The sector also has a substantial impact on land development, resource use and waste generation. There are also issues related to human and labour rights during development and construction.

‘Responsible action needs to become business as usual within global real estate markets, driving prosperity, innovation and investment, and helping to secure vibrant and transparent markets, thriving economies, inclusive communities and a greener, healthier planet,’ explained Sean Tompkins, RICS chief executive Officer of RICS, speaking at the New York launch.

The launch heard that although many businesses in the sector have corporate sustainability strategies and policies in place, the challenge for many is to translate those policies into actions that are practical, achievable and repeatable, across organisational and geographic boundaries.

The resource is the result of a two year collaboration between the UN Global Compact and RICS, a global professional body representing more than 100,000
members in 146 countries. It is the product of extensive dialogue with diverse stakeholders in the sector.

‘The land, real estate and construction sector has an enormous impact on global economies, the environment and people's lives. With this resource we want to show businesses how to operate responsibly and sustainably, generating substantial social, environmental and reputational value and long term financial success in the process,’ added Tompkins.

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