COP26 (COP is short for the Conference of Parties of the United Nations) took place in Scotland earlier this month, leaving many wondering how heightened awareness and talk of climate change might affect our habits, consumption, energy costs, our daily lives and our homes.
Glasgow received some 120 world leaders who attempted to reach solutions and agree on global legislation to avoid the planet’s temperature rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times. Ominous headlines of an apocalyptic, yet evitable, future dominated global news cycles, with many an industry leaping into action if they had not already prepared themselves for a shift in consumer demand or began preparing for first-mover advantages ahead of potential changes in legislation.
Even before COP26, in May CNBC reported that ESG investments (Environmental, Social and Governance) could reach the 1 trillion USD category by 2030 according to Blackrock’s head of iShares America, Armando Senra. Real estate royalty, Knight Frank, published their annual “Prime Global Forecast” with the cities to watch, namely Lisbon, and trends to watch in 2021. Top of their list was ESG citing “Green and ethical investing is set to filter all aspects of global property markets as the pandemic and the Biden Presidency push purpose-led investment up the global agenda”.
PWC’s forecast for 2022 also had climate at the core of its real estate trends issuing a virtual warning that the matter of the race to zero is not as vague an obligation as many might think, it’s happening now. PWC state that it is as much about investors, as it is about demand from a climate-conscious population as well as about legislation: “investors see sustainability having an impact on real estate investment in the here and now rather than at some vague future date. More than 61% of survey respondents say they are concerned about sustainability requirements, up from 49% last year”. On the legislation front, PWC remind us “The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050 – an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. This matter remains the ultimate challenge for an industry which is one of the biggest generators of carbon in the world.”
According to Pictet, the Swiss multinational private bank, “it’s a time of change for real estate development… with demand for more efficient and environmentally-friendly buildings growing”. In good business fashion, the Swiss bank sees this as an opportunity in the long term rather than a threat.
Portugal had already prepared for this era out of necessity as much as out of innovation. Energy efficiency, renewable energies and technology being an integral part of daily life for two decades for the Portuguese, as a smaller market than most in Europe, it was deemed a test market, with the luxuries of smart technologies being tested on the Portuguese before spreading to the rest of Europe.
Real estate developers have been integrating electric car chargers in central Lisbon’s ‘Avenidas Novas’ parking garages, more sustainable materials are being used, and general energy efficiency had already taken centre stage to cater for the growing demand for increased sustainability and hikes in electricity costs.
With a more climate-conscious generation moving to Lisbon and Portugal in swathes, digital nomads in particular, who also choose Lisbon for its climate and innovation-loving government, are increasingly conscientious about how they live as well as where they live. Climate and climate-conscious seals the deal. Lisbon’s developers are answering their call.