External Affairs

Proposed: Social Changes/Societal Leadership and Disruption (Top Ten 2018-19)

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    Alyssa Bray

    Various social issues were frequently cited by our members as an issue for the 2018-19 Top Ten. Here are some of the responses we’ve received so far.

    • Homelessness despite full employment – large groups of people are living on the street.  Our ability to help this complicated group of people with mental illness, alcohol and drug addiction has been minimal.
    • We all see a lot of discussion about the need to fix the homeless problem by helping those in need.  I assume that CRE and others are considering the impact it is having on Real Estate values.
    • Gun Laws
    • Gender roles and real estate
    • In response to recent political polarization (paralysis?) and global economic uncertainty, we are beginning to see new voices emerging (#meToo, #Time’sUp, the youth-driven gun control movement, etc). The call seems to be for Social/Societal Leadership to address the difficult and damaging issues. Members characterized it as almost a “Vietnam 2.0” movement, similar to the anti-war and social justice movements of the 1960s.
    • ESG and Doing Good–Early in 2018, Laurence D. Fink, founder and chief executive of the investment firm BlackRock, informed business leaders that their companies need to do more than make profits — they need to contribute to society as well if they want to receive the support of BlackRock. (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/business/dealbook/blackrock-laurence-fink-letter.html)  This was an amazing statement and reflects tremendous advancements in integrating ESG concerns into business generally and real estate specifically.  With the continued expansion of GRESB, which is now a critical component of real estate investing, and scores of other sustainability/ESG rating systems now becoming more important—the business world really is changing.
    • Impact Investing has also taken off in the last year.  The ability of Impact investing to provide a new capital source for social/affordable housing is an important new issue.

    Have anything to add? Share your comments below, and feel free to share articles and data illustrating this issue. 

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