JLL’s Alexandra Ingram on ESG in Capital Markets

“What differentiates JLL is the fact that I sit within capital markets,” says Alexandra Ingram, who is head of the commercial real estate services firm. responsible for sustainable development within its capital markets division Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Why does this set JLL apart? Ingram says the company, which does business in more than 80 countries, has people dedicated to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in capital markets. Other brokerages simply don’t link ESG and capital markets in this way.

In her newly created role, Ingram is responsible for integrating ESG into JLL’s capital markets teams and advancing the company’s sustainability commitments. His responsibilities also include ensuring that environmental and social values ​​are at the center of clients’ strategies, as well as helping clients achieve their own net zero emissions goals.

Ingram says there are several big trends emerging in the capital markets in 2022. One of the big ones in the deal market is the information that is requested at the acquisition stage. “Many questions asked during the due diligence period now arise in the pre-acquisition phase, even before the offer is filed, which is transforming the transactional market,” she explains.

Decarbonization is another key trend Ingram has noticed. She explains that most of JLL’s customers have set their carbon targets to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. to tenant and landlord emissions,” she adds.

Ingram explains that collecting data and understanding a company’s carbon cost is becoming increasingly important because people are predicting a future global carbon tax. “What we are sure of at JLL is that the legislation will only get stricter; there will only be more,” she adds.

Ingram also says the companies she sees as market leaders are those that set their own internal carbon prices because they help build the financial cost and implications of higher emissions into a business case. She adds that with rising energy prices, tenants and landlords now have more incentive to reduce their energy consumption.

Occupant and owner engagement is another emerging trend, according to Ingram. “It’s all well and good to have a fantastic green building, but it has to be managed the right way,” she says. “You have to have the right tenants and the tenants also have to be involved to make sure it’s used in the right way. Green leases can be a tool to help govern the management of a building, but that’s only part of the puzzle.

Green leases establish provisions that allow landlords and occupants to work together to improve the sustainability of buildings.

Navigating the rapidly changing ESG space is something Ingram identifies as its biggest challenge, with the lack of a standardized global definition of net zero only adding to the complexity. “We need a global standard methodology that is strict, linked to scientific goals, that can be measured, and that means people can be held accountable,” she says.

Embodied carbon and operational carbon is another challenge for Ingram. “I still see investors who think they’ve sorted their carbon,” she says. “They buy new buildings because they are energy efficient, but ignore the fact that there is carbon embedded in a new development. Building new developments is not sustainable, and retrofitting existing buildings can also be difficult.

Measuring social impact is another major challenge, according to Ingram. “You can measure carbon and water, and you can measure social, but it’s much trickier,” she says. “There are challenges in having a comprehensive social impact strategy because each country has its own cultural differences and approaches. You can’t make it too granular locally because it’s not efficient and it needs to be scalable if we want to transform globally. »

Placing people at the heart of sustainable development

Regarding JLL’s future plans, Ingram explains that the company has set up a graduate program in sustainable developmentwhere up to 30 graduates will join the company across multiple disciplines in 2022. The company is also looking to recruit and train 500 new graduates globally by the end of the year as JLL focuses on expanding its capacity to provide sustainable development services.

While it is essential for the future of every company and investor to meet challenges and keep up with emerging trends, these actions show that upgrading and training employees in sustainable development are also essential, given that the ESG is a rapidly changing space and one that staff will need to be able to stay on top of.