On a High Note: $80 Billion Real Estate Company Has Named Its First Chief Carbon Officer

$80 Billion Real Estate Company Has Named Its First Chief Carbon Officer

Hines, an international real-estate firm worth over $80 billion, just took a big step towards decarbonization by appointing the industry's first chief carbon officer -- and this just might set a new precedent. Michael Izzo, the new appointee, told Fast Company that "my sole focus, 100%, is carbon emissions." Under Izzo's guidance, the company will work towards using less resource-intensive materials and processes for construction, and increased energy efficiency in existing buildings.

Of course, the real estate industry still has a long way to go when it comes to addressing the climate impact of both embodied carbon -- emissions from building construction -- and operational carbon. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the building industry is responsible for 38% of total global emissions, more than any other sector. In business districts, like New York, the number climbs even higher, close to 70%. So, when it comes to meeting the emissions reductions targets set at COP26, it is essential that the building industry moves quickly. In Izzo's words:

Real estate tends to be a long game. That's why it's imperative that we move even more quickly. Because the buildings we're building today, they're going to be around for a very long time.

Fifth Wall: How Do We Galvanize The World's Largest Companies To Decarbonize?, October 29, 2020.