On October 2023, ESREI and BIG jointly kicked off a project in partnership with Sciences Po Urban School. A group of students will work on a European cross-country analysis to review the regulatory context and public policies regarding building and biodiversity in Europe. As international and European ambitions become clearer, the results of this work will contribute to the understanding of the general biodiversity context in Europe for the real estate sector and to the enlargement of biodiversity indicators developed by the BIG programme.
In a context of climate change, real estate is at the forefront of biodiversity issues
The fight for the preservation of biodiversity is all the more essential as it has many advantages in terms of the actions to be taken for adaptation to the effects of climate change. The building sector has a great responsibility in this regard, since it contributes to the main pressures on biodiversity: changes in land use, resource extraction, climate change, and pollution emissions in particular.
While it was ranked 3rd on the podium of pressures in the IPBES assessment in 2019, climate change is now an increasingly important threat. In this context, the new mobility needs for biodiversity are often hindered by the built environment, which breaks the connectivity essential to this mobility.
Thus, concrete actions that are part of a long-term dynamic must be put in place, to enable the sector to fully assume its responsibilities regarding biodiversity issues.
Emerging international challenges and objectives
The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties at the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) was held in December 2022 in Montreal. To address the alarming findings on the continued loss of biodiversity and the threat to nature and human well-being, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was adopted. In particular, it sets out four main objectives to be achieved by 2050 and 23 intermediate targets for 2030, some of which highlight the key role of private companies and city stakeholders.
The four main objectives announced are the preservation of life, the sustainable use of biodiversity, the equitable sharing of value and the development of resources. In a desire to achieve concrete results, this new framework specifies 23 intermediate targets, some of which propose quantified objectives. This is the case for Target 3, which aims to protect and sustainably manage 30% of terrestrial, inland and coastal areas by 2030.
However, these figures must be put into perspective. According to data aggregated by the Biodiversity Information System for Europe (BISE), nearly 26% of the EU’s territory is protected, a figure that is higher in some countries (information can be found in the country factsheets produced by ESREI). The target set at 30% is therefore not so binding, especially since the level and effectiveness of protection is not targeted or specified by any quantified objective. In that way, there is a long road ahead both in terms of ambitions and the achievement of objectives and effective actions.
A student project offering a European regulatory overview
The various regulations and international initiatives encourage a general mobilisation of stakeholders to reintegrate Nature into urban spaces. As the liveability of cities is at stake here, sixty of them signed the Montreal commitment in parallel with the COP15 on biodiversity. They therefore committed to implement measures for the protection of biodiversity at the scale of their territory.
As part of the 2023-2024 year, a group of students from the Sciences Po Urban School will produce a research, synthesis and comparison work on the implementation of biodiversity conservation and restoration measures in different European countries. Their work will look at what normative and regulatory tools are used in European countries to conserve and restore biodiversity for buildings and urban planning, what strategies regarding protection of land (and aquatic) areas (list, level of protection, …) exist, how do public policies ambition to restore biodiversity, in particular in urban areas.
Today, we invite you to get involved in this project!
Depending on the needs of the project and the students, you may be asked to share your experience, your needs as a company in the sector, etc. by making you available occasionally by spring 2024. Don’t hesitate to let us know your interest!
The European Sustainable Real Estate Initiative (ESREI) brings together real estate stakeholders to discuss ESG issues and the situation regarding ESG regulations across Europe. ESREI is now sponsored by Advenis REIM, AEW, Amundi Asset Management, Axa Investment Managers, BNP Paribas Real Estate, CBRE Global Investors, Ivanhoe Cambridge, La Française REIM, Mazars, Ofi Invest and Pimco Prime Real Estate.
Contact the ESREI team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested to join us !