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Is the status quo fit for future purpose?

To make positive steps toward the global net zero goals by 2050, climate change should drive every decision the property and real estate industry makes. It should lead our innovations and inform every step we take. Because if we’re going to make a difference, climate change has to be at the front of our minds. That’s what we believe at Landmark.  

As the first UK property data business to make a Pledge to Net Zero, we wanted to take action and take others on the journey with us. We reached out for conversations with industry experts to bolster our understanding of where the property sector is now and where it’s heading.  

From those conversations, we curated a collection of learnings and published them as the Climate Change Reports: The New Frontier of Real Estate Due Diligence. The paper explores the ways the property and real estate industry is working to build a better planet. 

Reporting: who to turn to? 

Alexandra Holsgrove Jones, Senior Knowledge Lawyer at TLT, is also an active participant in The Chancery Lane Project, creating and promoting net zero drafting for the property industry.  

In our conversation, she considered who is best placed to interpret the risks as climate change reporting evolves to potentially garner a new generation of searches and risk data. She explored the conveyancing point of view and how the scope of lawyers’ responsibilities in the property transaction process is being challenged. 

“Is climate change risk truly a legal issue?” she asked. “Theoretically, not really; it has nothing to do with the legal title of a property, which is our primary concern. But in practice, lawyers are increasingly likely to find themselves obliged to do more and more searches around climate change risk.  

The challenge for property lawyers, she explains, is they are not climate risk scientists. They are limited in their advice to clients in response to the emerging risk data. 

 Everyone’s responsible 

As new climate change risks emerge, it is more important than ever before that property buyers understand the impact (or likely impact) of climate change on their purchase. This, says Alexandra, requires collaboration across the sector to make sure all parties in the conveyancing process are aware of the risks, their potential impacts and what can be done to mitigate or minimise those risks. Yet some responsibility must rest with the buyer. Education is key, but this constitutes a significant cultural shift. 

 “For most people, a home is their biggest ever investment, so they should do their homework: they might check local crime statistics or find out Ofsted ratings for local schools. When it comes to climate change is it any different to due diligence homebuyers themselves undertake?”  

In our Climate Change Reports: The New Frontier of Real Estate Due Diligence paper, you can read her full exploration and explanation of lawyers’ and conveyancers’ evolving roles in climate change reporting. She also discusses how, as an industry, we need to make relevant and adequate information available to buyers, and ensure there’s an alliance of advisors to support buyers in their choices. 

It’s a fascinating read that will give you and your organisation plenty to think about as you build your own clearer picture of the current state of climate change reporting and where it’s heading.  

Read the executive summary of the white paper.

Article Original Source: Landmark Information Group.