Global ESG: what have been the major milestones in ESG in 2023 for Real Estate?

With COP28 having come to a close and the end of the year just around the corner, it seems the perfect time to reflect on the ESG developments from 2023. In this article we've collated some of our most read ESG related pieces from across the globe, from biodiversity net gain to green leases, there really is something for everyone.

We kicked off the year with a cross-border article in which our lawyers from the UK, Germany, France and the US looked at how the real estate industry in their jurisdictions has reacted to the global energy crisis.

In April we explored how the EU, UK and US are responding to the climate crisis.  Our lawyers from across the globe considered how the real estate industry could help to achieve the net zero goal and how this is being put into practice across different jurisdictions.

Also in the spring, our real estate disputes team hosted a webinar in which they addressed some of the key ESG issues in the context of the landlord and tenant relationship, highlighting that ESG is everywhere, all at once.

As the days lengthened we celebrated Earth Day and reflected on what the planning and real estate industries are currently doing to support our natural environment.

Next up came our series on smart buildings with the first article in the trio considering how landlords can use smart buildings to boost ESG credentials and meet increasingly demanding regulation.

In the summer our UK Green Team put together a Horizons video and a one page summary to help you steer through the world of ESG compliance from a real estate perspective. We considered the latest on EPCs and MEES, ESG related planning requirements, the current position on green lease clauses and their enforceability, what we can expect from the ‘S’ and ‘G’ of ESG in the coming months and the implications of the new Sustainability Disclosure Requirements in the UK.

Conservation covenants were a hot topic in June. In our article we delved into what they are and how they might be used, particularly with the increased focus on delivering environmental conservation projects.

As summer came to a close we created a helpful summary on nutrient neutrality, something which is bound to be a debated issue in 2024.

ESG and the built environment are wholly intertwined. In the first of our new UK quarterly round-ups we explored how ESG considerations are impacting hotels as an asset class, as well as shining a spotlight on how planning and government policy is shifting in the ESG arena. We also answered some of your thorny questions on MEES enforceability.

As the ESG drumbeat grows louder for prospective investors, purchasers and occupiers, this autumn we were excited to look at green leases from a global perspective. In our first ever global Horizons video we helped you navigate the fast-moving area of green leases in different jurisdictions. We considered where the market currently stands on green lease clauses and their enforceability, key issues to bear in mind in key jurisdictions and how we see this developing globally.

Looking ahead to 2024, the new Biodiversity Net Gain regime comes into force in January and should be front of mind for those in the UK development industry. Our UK Planning team recently launched a Horizons video, a one page summary, and a flowchart to help you to comply with the new BNG regime. While this regime will be another hurdle for developers to overcome, it could present an opportunity for others, including some landowners.

Watch this space as 2024 promises to be another exciting year in the fast-paced sphere of ESG-  we will keep you updated with all the latest developments.


Authored by Stella Bliss, Ingrid Stables, and Rosie Shields.

Jackie Newstead
Hannah Quarterman
Rosie Shields
Stella Bliss
Counsel Knowledge Lawyer
Ingrid Stables
Senior Knowledge Lawyer


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