MIPIM 2023: Road to Net Zero

MIPIM 2023: Road to Net Zero

The Mipim property conference in Cannes, the biggest global real estate event by number of participants and country representation, is always a litmus test for the market.

The 2023 edition of Mipim, which will be held between 14 and 17 March, will be significantly bigger than last year’s return to face-to-face meetings. Around 73 of the world’s top 100 investment managers, advising on EUR 3.9 tn of assets, will be there.

In 2022’s conference, people were wondering if life will continue as it had. As the world is going towards sustainability, right solutions and the necessity of understanding the connected sectors such as energy and transport have to be discussed.

Thus, the event is launching a “Road to Zero” stage dedicated to decarbonization. It is one of six new stages to be launched at Mipim 2023 and will be curated by Urban Land Institute, along with the World Green Building Council and the World Business Council For Sustainable Development.

In this regard, Invest-Gate conducts an interview with Nicolas Kozubek, MIPIM Director, to discuss 2023’s main theme, Road to Net Zero.

1- Why selecting Net Zero for 2023 edition? What does it mean to you now – and in the future?

As the real estate industry strives to achieve net zero, MIPIM aims to assist exhibitors and attendees by providing them with best practices and case studies. MIPIM 2023 will facilitate concrete solutions coming from different perspectives on this crucial issue of creating a future business model that is environmentally sustainable.

This year, we are launching a dedicated 400 sqm Road to Zero area that will combine exhibition, networking and conference space with a focus on practical methods to decarbonize the real estate industry. The Road to Zero demonstrates MIPIM’s role in helping the industry to come up with innovative solutions to the global problems we face. MIPIM is a catalyst for solutions, combining face-to-face discussions, thought leadership, development opportunities and global capital to drive change. Our aspiration is to connect and inspire the international real estate community to create more sustainable, livable and prosperous places for all.

To achieve net zero, real estate cannot work in isolation. That is why MIPIM 2023 will also feature five other new stages, including the Infrastructure Stage, which looks at the impact of water, energy, data centres, transport and more have on property development and how they can work together to solve global issues such as a changing climate. The Make It Happen Stage will feature conversations about use cases and collaboration.

2- To what extent do you see environmental, social and governance (ESG) pillars are embedded into developers and investors plans? 

No real estate player today is silent about decarbonization. Many investors and developers now view ESG factors as critical to managing risks and creating long-term value. For example, some developers are designing buildings with energy-efficient features and incorporating renewable energy sources, while others are incorporating green spaces and water conservation measures.

In my opinion, a gap will be created between unfit real estate assets and highly sustainable assets attractive to investors. The most valued assets will be not just that they are perfectly located but that will answer such requirements as, for example, accessibility and low carbon footprint. At the same time, properties that do not comply with these criteria will be disqualified so either they must be innovated to keep up or convert. I see that as a chance for the industry to come closer to reaching sustainability goals as many renovation projects are going to be completed in the upcoming years. MIPIM’s role here is to support real estate players navigate their path to net zero. That is why we will continue to curate the MIPIM’s program in a way highlighting the innovations and ideas of our exhibitors, and to discuss the major issues facing the industry.

3- How could “Road to Zero” be supported by ESG, innovation and technology solutions?

It was crucial for us to have a space that is exclusively dedicated to this topic, so we created the Road to Zero area. Our goal is to bring together start-ups and exhibiting businesses to discuss the necessary steps to reach net zero carbon and exchange experience. Additionally, there will be a stage set aside for three days of discussions on this topic. Our goal is to spark conversations so that everyone can work together to come up with practical answers.

The program of the Road to Zero panel talks will cover the topics of decarbonizing energy infrastructure and investing in low carbon technologies, implementing smart urban tech solutions to develop sustainable cities, increasing biodiversity in urban areas, sustainable retrofitting, and other crucial issues including implementing net zero data strategies.

4- How do we implement smart urban tech solutions to develop sustainable cities? 

From my time at Propel, I saw how proptech folk clearly have some of the answers to real estate’s biggest challenges, including sustainability. That is why the Propel Station, where tech players from all over the world showcase the latest technologies for the real estate industry, is now an integral part of MIPIM.

This year, we are launching a new conference format in Propel Station – the fishbowl. The format of the fishball erases the barriers between experts and the audience to allow as many people as possible to participate and share their views. In a fishbowl, the audience is placed in concentric circles around four central chairs, on which everyone is invited to sit for a few minutes to speak and enrich the discussion. In one hour, the debate becomes a real demonstration of collective intelligence and horizontal revolution.

At Propel Station, we will have two sessions in a fishbowl format – one about the models of smart cities vs low tech cities, which will take place on Wednesday and will be in French, and another in English on Thursday, where we will explore how to encourage the scaling up of promising solutions.

As MIPIM program is designed in a way to explore the ways in which cutting-edge urban technology can help create cities that are sustainable, we have several sessions dedicated to cities. One of the sessions led by our keynote speaker Véronique Bédague, CEO of Nexity, will explore how cities will reinvent themselves to best serve their citizens and adapt to new challenges such as possible future pandemics and global warming. This session will take place at The Leaders’ Perspective Stage on Wednesday, 15 March.

Another important debate ‘Reenergizing cities for the future’ exploring ways to revitalize town and city centres in a post pandemic environment, will be led by Henning Koch, CEO at Commerz Real AG.

At the infrastructure stage’s panel ‘Revolutionary infrastructure to help realize tomorrow’s cities’, participants will debate strategies to attract investment and citizens’ expectations regarding infrastructure development.

Another important keynote will be given by Cristina Gamboa, CEO of World Green Building Council, shining a lens on the ‘Social’ element in ESG. ‘Realizing the ‘S’ in ESG’ session on Wednesday afternoon explores what can be learnt from other corporates, cities, countries and regions to enhance societies.

5- Is the world on the right track to reach net zero carbon goals by 2050? How? 

MIPIM reflects where our industry is and where it wants to go. It is therefore highly encouraging that we have had such strong demand from our clients and partners to put Net Zero at the heart of this year’s program with ESG, even where it isn’t directly named embedded throughout all panels and conversations. This gives me confidence that we are on the right track. There is appetite in the industry to come together at MIPIM and find the solutions we need to reach net zero.


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