Has sustainability had its day? Find out at CREtech London

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Welcome to the second installment of the CREtech London Sessions Series. If you missed the launch last week then, in short, consider this a trailer to CREtech London. A sneak peek into every session we have planned for 8-9 May to give you a taster of the themes we are set to cover and an opportunity to find out more about our brilliant speakers.

Last week we started at the beginning with an idea of what to expect from the opening keynote – a rare fireside chat with JLL’s Chief Executive Christian Ulbrich and JLL Spark’s Managing Partner Raj Singh on how AI is revolutionising real estate. This time around, let’s shake it up and go to the end of the event and the closing keynote which will be delivered by Gensler Principal and ESG Consultancy Director, Juliette Morgan.

The session title is an arresting one; ‘has sustainability had its day?. Context is everything, though, and there is more to Morgan’s plans for this event-closer than a blanket disregard for all things future-proofed. Quite the opposite in fact. It is not the concept she has an issue with, not least given her position in the sector as one of the most thoughtful and outspoken advocates for decarbonisation among many other things, it’s the word.

‘Sustainable,’ she has pointed out in the past, suggests a continuation. And to continue doing things the way we have always been doing them is not the way to promote change.

A fascinating stance on a word that has become ingrained in the way we talk about the future. When we say something isn’t sustainable, the interpretation is that this is almost always a bad thing. But what if it’s not? Morgan’s take on the term - that sustainable means a continuation of the norm for better or worse – makes the use of that particular word in relation to climate, technology, innovation and a whole host of other drivers for change far less clear cut.

And intriguing session title aside, hearing from Morgan always means you can expect something a little different. “My client is Mother Earth,” she told me once. “Whatever company I am at, ultimately, I work for her.”

There is no question that her stance within the sector errs on the side of the spiritual.

But more, fool anyone who assumes this dampens the corporate instincts that saw her rise through the ranks to become head of sustainable development at British Land and, prior to that, a partner at Cushman & Wakefield within three years of joining the business. 

With 20 years’ experience in real estate across brokerage, development and government, her move to Gensler in 2022 was a deliberate next step. Not only is the practice in prime position to wield real power due to its size – it works with 3,500 clients across 50 locations worldwide – but is taking its approach to ESG very seriously. Morgan’s role includes heading the practice’s newly launched global climate action and sustainability practice area which will support the business’s commitment to be net zero on all projects by 2030. Her team will also share findings and collaborate with the wider industry on how solutions can be implemented “because climate change isn’t a Gensler problem, it’s an everybody problem”.

A closing keynote not to miss, Morgan will take to the stage at CREtech London on the afternoon of May 9th. If you missed out on the “people need to stop doing stupid shit” comment in Copenhagen and then the chanting in Stockholm, make sure you don’t miss whatever she has up her sleeve in London. 

Oh, and you can get 20% off your ticket if you register before March 11th with the code EMILY20. Win-win. 

- Emily


Emily Wright

Head of Content


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