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WASHINGTON (November 21, 2022) – By taking steps to preserve biodiversity, real estate and land use professionals can protect critical natural resources, dramatically reduce carbon emissions, and enhance the value of their properties, according to a new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
“The loss of biodiversity, the degradation of natural resources, and the climate crisis are interconnected in many ways,” said Marta Schantz, co-executive director of ULI’s Randall Lewis Center for Sustainability in Real Estate. “Investing in nature creates strong returns on investment and can bring a range of benefits for businesses, employees, and communities alike. Practitioners in the real estate industry are increasingly recognizing this reality and taking steps to adapt and even reverse the loss of biodiversity.”
The report – Nature Positive and Net Zero: The Ecology of Real Estate – is the latest from ULI’s Greenprint Center for Building Performance. Drafted in partnership with Jacobs, the report argues that the natural environment is the foundation of real estate value, community health, and resilience, and provides a comprehensive framework for implementing real estate developments that deliver positive environmental, social, and financial returns.
Termed “nature-positive” solutions, these strategies seek to conserve or enhance biodiversity in site and building design and restore ecosystem health. Beyond the benefits for local wildlife, nature-based solutions are poised to provide up to 30% of the emissions reductions needed to reach net zero worldwide and are therefore a great investment for companies with net zero goals.
With the planet’s loss of biodiversity accelerating every day, reversing this trend is urgent for the health of the economy. According to the World Economic Forum, half of global GDP – $44 trillion of economic value – is reliant upon the natural environment.
The report offers five insights to help real estate developers implement nature-based solutions that can improve biodiversity:
“The natural world offers us an endless source of inspiring and novel ways to reimagine how we solve pressing challenges to help our clients achieve next-level sustainability performance,” said Jacobs Senior Vice President, Office of Global Climate Response & ESG Jan Walstrom. “As we continue to look toward the coming decades, we play a pivotal role in addressing the climate emergency. The planning, commitments, and response steps we take today are critical to leading the world to a more climate-resilient existence for all generations to come.”
The full Nature Positive and Net Zero: The Ecology of Real Estate report can be found on ULI’s Knowledge Finder platform.
A comprehensive discussion and analysis of the report was presented during a webinar on Wednesday, November 16. The webinar featured commentary from Christopher Allen, Director of ForeseeableTM Net Zero + Nature Positive, Jacobs; Lauren Winkler, Senior Director of ESG, The Green Cities Company; Thierry Laquitaine, Director and Head of SRI, AEW Capital Management L.P.; and Nicole Miller, Managing Director, Biomimicry 3.8. You can view a recording of the webinar here.
About the Urban Land Institute
At Jacobs, we’re challenging today to reinvent tomorrow by solving the world’s most critical problems for thriving cities, resilient environments, mission-critical outcomes, operational advancement, scientific discovery and cutting-edge manufacturing, turning abstract ideas into realities that transform the world for good. With $14 billion in revenue and a talent force of more than 55,000, Jacobs provides a full spectrum of professional services including consulting, technical, scientific and project delivery for the government and private sector. Visit jacobs.com and connect with Jacobs on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter.