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Expanded Training Course Aims To Give Real Estate The Skills Needed To Fight Climate Change


A training course aimed at providing real estate firms with the skills needed to make their portfolios more sustainable and hit net-zero targets has been expanded.

The course, run by the Better Buildings Partnership and advisory firm Hillbreak, will now provide new modules giving real estate advisers a broader range of skills as well as deeper knowledge on topics related to decarbonising the real estate sector. 

More than 500 real estate professionals from a group of more than 90 property companies completed the course in 2022. That's when it was expanded to provide modules for real estate advisers in addition to fund managers, investment managers and direct investors, like REITs. 

The demand for real estate professionals with environmental, social and governance skills is climbing dramatically as more and more owners and developers pledge to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

That means asset owners need more professionals with specific sustainability skills. And they are demanding the advisers who work for them have those skills as well. 

Last year, 25% of the placements taken on by specialist property recruitment firm Madison Berkeley were for staff with ESG skills, Bisnow revealed last year. The recruiter said staff with those skills were seeing a 20%-30% uplift on their base salary when they moved roles.

“When the BBP created the ESG training course, its aim was to upskill property professionals in the industry to allow them to fully integrate ESG requirements into their day-to-day roles,” GPE Sustainability and Social Impact Director Janine Cole said. “Ultimately it was hoped that it would increase the pace of change on sustainability across the industry and deliver transformational change."

Industry interest has been "incredible", Cole said, far exceeding original expectations.

"We are delighted that the course continues to go from strength to strength as a better educated industry will lead to a more sustainable built environment,” she said.

The course is split into two modules, which cover areas such as market drivers and trends – client impacts; ESG risks, opportunities and value impacts; integrating ESG into a deal process; and thinking beyond the deal by understanding touch points across the wider investment life cycle.

There are five new elective modules that participants can take to dive deeper into topics, including sustainable finance and social value and impact. 

“More than ever, our colleagues need to understand a lot more about ESG than they did previously,” JLL UK Head of Sustainability Emma Hoskyn said. “Our clients are much more knowledgeable and sophisticated in their asks of us than they used to be. To be a relevant real estate adviser, we have to increasingly integrate ESG into our core advice.

"So we need to help each other in that upskilling, we need to challenge the normal ways of doing work and thinking, and make sure the whole industry is moving forward.”