In a rapidly changing landscape, where environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are progressively becoming central to corporate decision-making, the integration of these principles into corporate real estate strategies has emerged as a critical imperative.

Recently, a collaborative effort between Colliers and CoreNet Global brought together industry experts to delve into this pivotal shift, offering insights into the current status and future trajectory of ESG in the corporate real estate realm.

The interactive panel session served as a sounding board for diverse perspectives, sparking discussions that uncovered eight crucial takeaways for corporate real estate leaders. Here are some key insights that emerged from this enlightening discourse.

Current Status of ESG in CRE

One resounding revelation from the discussion was the prevalence of ESG strategies among corporate real estate entities. Impressively, a staggering 94% of surveyed respondents either possess an existing ESG strategy or express a keen interest in developing one. However, only 19% of these companies consider their strategies well-defined and implemented.

It’s clear the road to effective ESG integration comes with obstacles. Surveyed leaders highlighted resource allocation, aligned capital expenditure, and conflicting company priorities as the top hurdles in developing and implementing ESG strategies.

Tracking the impact of these initiatives also remains a top challenge, with only 14% of leaders indicating they’ve achieved optimal, clearly defined results. The push is on to refine reporting mechanisms and align resources more effectively to transform some-impact results into substantial, high-impact outcomes.

Balancing Crucial Components

Within the existing strategies, environmental concerns take precedence, with 49% of audience respondents primarily focusing their ESG strategies on the sustainability aspects. This prioritization, though essential, shouldn’t overshadow the significance of social and governance factors, which collectively contribute to a well-rounded ESG framework.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives are being recognized as pivotal components of a robust ESG strategy. While 19% of surveyed respondents acknowledge the high effectiveness of their DEI initiatives, 24% lack a program for driving more impactful DEI efforts.

Future of ESG by 2030

Despite these challenges, there’s a collective vision for the future of ESG. By 2030, stakeholders anticipate a shift towards standardized global measurements, making ESG a mandatory aspect crucial for corporate success. Furthermore, this transformation is expected to integrate increasingly with technology, becoming a vital part of attracting and retaining talent while being a part of daily business operations. In the coming years, ESG won’t just be an acronym; it will be an expectation.

The findings from this panel session underscore the mounting importance of developing robust ESG strategies for corporate real estate. Looking ahead, it’s evident that ESG will not merely be a checkbox but a cornerstone for sustainable and successful business operations. The journey toward holistic ESG strategy is ongoing, promising an era where responsible business practices intersect seamlessly with corporate excellence.

Authors: Chris Zlocki, Michelle Needles and Michelle Cleverdon