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Call for corporate action to fight climate change


Colliers’ sustainability leads respond to the outcome of the World Leaders Conference at COP26

Despite strong words from world leaders at the opening of the UN Conference on Climate Change and early commitments around reducing deforestation and methane production, Colliers’ sustainability experts warn that while scrutiny is needed of government commitments, action is also needed by the corporate world now.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told delegates at COP26 in Glasgow: “It’s one minute to midnight on the doomsday clock and we need to act now. If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to get serious about it tomorrow.” While leaders from the US and European Commission urged attendees to be on “the right side of history”.

However James Pay, Head of Client Sustainability at Colliers, warned that strong words are not enough. He said: “This needs to be the conference of actions not soundbites. Our own government policy needs to rapidly change to supports these vital aims: such as banning new coal mines, which Boris and the UK government is still leaving to local planning authorities despite saying now is the time to get real on coal. Or banning new gas boilers through the new Heat and Buildings Strategy rather than setting an ambition to phase them out, and not reducing domestic flight taxes.

“We need strong leadership now from our government with legislation that matches their stated aims, but legislation alone will not achieve these wider aims. While we scrutinise the actual actions of government, the corporate world needs to act now too. As David Attenborough said: ‘Is this how our story is due to end?’, by working together, now, we have the opportunity to make sure it isn’t.”

So far there have been commitments from 100 countries to stop deforestation by 2030 and a host of nations are pledging to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

Andres Guzman, Head of Sustainability within Colliers' property management team added: “While we’re hoping that our leaders agree to a plan to decarbonise our economy that will be delivered in time to prevent irreversible climate damage, this conference highlights how challenging it will be to incentivise developing economies to leapfrog building an infrastructure based on fossil fuels. Big business could really show leadership and help with this aim by ensuring that their net zero aims are on the agenda for their global property portfolio, which in turn will build resilience and put pressure on individual countries to develop utilising more sustainable methods.”

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James Pay

Head of Sustainability


London - West End

James has joined Colliers to help drive our sustainability offering and ensure that we are well equipped to meet and advise on the challenges of the Climate Emergency in a practical and meaningful way for our clients and in-house.

Prior to joining Colliers, James worked in the construction and demolition industries and has over 12 years’ experience working within sustainability for principal contractors and engineering consultancies.

During this time, he helped drive sustainability performance with a particular focus on strategy, the circular economy, carbon reduction and the setting of Science Based Targets, and sustainable certifications such as BREEAM and WELL. He has delivered the sustainability requirements on projects across London, including a global investment bank’s new London Headquarters, the Francis Crick Institute, Chelsea Barracks Phase 4, 100 Bishopsgate, 22 Bishopsgate and Crossrail.

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Kim Inam

PR Manager

Marketing & Communications

London - West End

I'm a communications professional who has previously worked as a journalist for eight years covering a broad range of topics including politics, crime, health and housing in north London. In recent years I have worked in corporate communications for local authorities across London  and joined Colliers in October 2019, initially providing maternity leave cover.

I provide strategic public relations advice to various business lines within the UK organisation to secure recognition for their work in the property press as well as key target media, and work with our experts to produce thought leadership pieces which are of interest to our clients and colleagues within the commercial real estate sector. In addition, alongside colleagues in the PR and wider communications team, I provide media and social media training for our in-house experts to prepare them for media opportunities and raise their personal brand within the sector.

As well as supporting various teams within the UK business, I also I curate and edit regular content for the blog, which drives credible business leads to our experts.


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