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Time is running out, but effective options are already available to tackle climate change

Blog 10 11 21 time is running out hero

As COP26 in Glasgow approaches its end, it may still be seen as one of the most significant COPs since Paris, in terms of specifying ambitious long-term targets to accelerate our global journey to net zero. 

The all prevailing message here at Climate Action’s Sustainable Innovation Forum is that time is running out, action, and significant action at that, is now required. To fully engage public opinion sustainability must be made irresistible, easy to understand and achieve. Industries and businesses exist, and are here at COP26, to make this happen.

The journey to net zero requires truly global collaboration and it will not be an easy journey –many different approaches and solutions will be required. Consumer demand is already changing and suppliers are waking up to this. Partnerships, particularly between the public and private sectors, working towards Nationally Determined Contributions (short term goals to deliver local changes) will stimulate the market and are poised to take advantage of unique market conditions and investment opportunities. Earlier this week the CEO of the World Green Building Council said this is the best time to invest in green for a decade. Arguably it might be the best time to invest in the century.

Essential investment in the future 

For building owners and managers the message from COP is that a delay in starting the net zero journey is going to damage the attractiveness and value of their assets. The cost of implementing green initiatives is not simply an operational cost – it’s an essential investment in the future. Landlords must change their perception and deliver green solutions, many occupiers already realise this and are increasingly demanding more sustainability and wellbeing measures in  their property requirements.  

Part of the solution then is to manage and operate the existing building stock effectively, especially given that 80% of buildings that will exist in 2050 are already here. Did you know that 15% of world carbon emissions come from HVAC systems alone? 

Education and upskilling are clearly part of this process and the importance of effective data capture and analysis cannot be overstated. Innovation and technology together with appropriate modelling tools are fundamental to identify the path to the future. Colliers’ property management team is already deploying technology to measure and manage building operations. In partnership with Measurabl we have an accurate reporting tool to analyse the energy consumption data available to us so that we can share this information with occupiers, to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes and deliver change.

We leave the Climate Action Sustainable Innovation Forum this afternoon recognising the urgency and scale of the challenge ahead but assured that, acting with our clients, we can take effective steps to contribute to the goal of net zero.

About the author:
Douglas McPhail is head of the Scottish office of Colliers and lead for the property management team in Scotland and the north of England. He works with a wide range of clients from blue chip companies to public sector organisations managing multi-disciplinary portfolio services across the region.

To contact Douglas, email

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Douglas McPhail

Head of Scotland

Investment Property Management


As department head, Douglas has overall responsibility for approximately 500 properties under management with a total rent roll in excess of £230million.  Helpdesk for tenant/occupier use and a full property accounts team.  He has developed the business management procedures required for ISO9001 accreditation used by the CCRE IPM department across the UK.

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