Rio+20 – Greening the Real Estate Market through Policy

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Marion Boulicault
Research Associate at the Envionmental Law Institute

“The real estate market has a very significant role to play in sustainability” according to Paola Deda, Chief of the Forestry and Timber Section at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). On June 21, she spoke at a Rio+20 side event titled Greening the Real Estate Market: The Development of a Sustainable Real Estate Sector.

The focus of the day’s discussions was UNECE’s Policy Framework for Sustainable Real Estate Markets developed in 2010 as a result of cooperation between the private and public sectors. So far, four countries (Ukraine,Portugal,Italy andRussia) have participated in roundtable discussions on how to implement the framework and they shared their experiences with the group. Telman Abbasov, President of the FIABCI Ukraine Chapter, explained how the roundtable discussion led to the passing of a new regulation on city planning creating a more favourable investment climate in theUkraine. Other panelists expressed hopes that the framework could be applied outside the UNECE member states.

The growing demand for green office space, increasingly strict building codes and regulations and the potential risks from greenhouse gas emissions were just some of the many reasons mentioned for greening the real estate market. Although frameworks such as the one created by the UNECE are very useful, real progress will come from strong commitments to sustainability and from partnerships between the real estate industry and other sectors of society.

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