Q COSTA RICA – JLL, a multinational real estate company, has recently released a research report entitled “Descarbonizando Ciudades y Bienes Raíces” (Decarbonizing Cities and Real Estate). The report covers 32 cities around the world and provides a comprehensive view of the tools used by major cities to move towards net zero and reduce carbon emissions from buildings.
Decarbonization is currently a prominent issue in the global agenda, and meeting its objectives is a top priority for the coming years. Despite political conditions in the global north that may be stalling progress, the deadlines are approaching and more robust action and strategies are necessary.
In the case of Costa Rica, the government has implemented a voluntary program that permits public and private organizations, communities, and event organizers to report their greenhouse gas inventories, reductions, eliminations, and offsets.
“It is available to public and private organizations, communities and event organizers. The program was launched in 2012 and, since then, more than 200 organizations, 21 municipalities and 2 districts have signed up,” the report explains.
In the report, it is indicated that the city of San José is aiming to achieve full decarbonization by 2050, as well as 100% clean energy by 2030.
In another context, and with other needs, Latin America is also working towards the same goals set forth in the Paris Agreement and the United Nations’ sustainable development objectives. When looking at the major markets in the region, various strategies can be identified to help meet these goals.
In Latin America, some countries have adopted the sustainable practices that are most effective in other leading markets. Green taxonomies enable governments to make connections between the financial sector and their respective markets’ climate objectives. These policies provide a standardized way to measure sustainability in a region, making it easier to identify which economic activities are sustainable and encouraging the flow of capital into these types of investments.
In 2015, the French government developed the first green taxonomy and this became the foundation of the European Union Taxonomy, implemented in 2020. Subsequently, many Latin American nations applied similar taxonomies adapted to their own economic systems.
“Colombia became the first Latin American country to launch a green taxonomy in April 2022, and Mexico followed in March 2023. These taxonomies are setting a precedent for emerging economies and together offer an opportunity to define what constitutes a sustainable investment, taking into account both climate objectives and the specific characteristics of a region.
“Following the example, Peru, Brazil, Costa Rica and Chile have each developed a taxonomy roadmap, with Peru declaring a clear objective of adopting a local taxonomy by 2025. The need to consolidate these actions remains to be evaluated in the future. for the positioning of the region in the global context”, said Mercedes Balmaceda, JLL’s GLA Sustainability Director.
The decarbonization process cannot be achieved without the involvement of the construction industry, given that buildings are responsible for 41% of the carbon emissions in cities (which represent 60% of the total). In order to regulate such emissions, building codes are a crucial tool for developers. The built-up area of the region is projected to increase by 65% by 2050.
“It is important to mention in this case that while some developed economies are still struggling to make the necessary progress in decarbonizing their energy grids, Latin America has proven to be a leader in this space. Throughout the region, renewables represent about 25% of its energy source, above the 20% representation that we can find in the US, just as an example,” said Balmaceda.
Ultimately, as cities are at different points on their decarbonization journey, sharing experiences, collaboration, and partnerships between organizations are effective tools for municipal governments to accelerate decarbonization of their buildings and meet their climate goals. . Decisions regarding the built environment need to be made across decades, and as many local decision-makers aim to deliver on their climate commitments in the same timeframe, they should look to property owners, developers, investors and occupants as long-term partners.
The real estate sector has the expertise, resources, and long-term commitment to work in conjunction with local governments in order to create partnerships that are based on responsibility and mutual gain.
“Many local governments are already taking advantage of the commitment of this stakeholder group to advance their city’s sustainable development goals,” Balmaceda pointed out.