‘Net zero demands a generational shift in thinking’

RICS President Clement Lau discusses the importance of collaboration with a network of global professionals who can all learn from one another


  • Clement Lau

06 May 2022

As we near the mid-point of the year, I have been reflecting on the importance of connection.

It is fundamental for human beings to associate with one another, facilitating both the cooperation required for attaining material necessities, and creating social bonds with all the creative and supportive potential that this entails. For professionals, our public advantage responsibility charges us through our work to produce the material fundamentals that sustain human society and to foster the indirect social goods and network effects associated with interacting.

This is why I am so pleased to see so much positive action taking place across the profession, with face-to-face member-led activity and engagement events playing a prominent role. As in-person gatherings continue to re-establish themselves, I am reminded of the great opportunity they present to learn, share insight and connect with fellow professionals working in common cause. This is a point I have heard often in feedback from members, so it is great to see progress in this area.

For example, President Elect Ann Gray FRICS recently met members and policy-makers at the RICS Cayman conference in April. She discussed the role played by these islands’ geography and existing built environment footprint in shaping local approaches to managing climate risk. Ann went on to argue that professionals like you are supporting communities to make the generational shift in thinking and practice that challenges like net zero demand, and that we can all draw strength from being part of our global profession. 

Our connections and networks help us grow, learning lessons from one place and applying it to the challenges experienced in others, with professional expertise and ethics bridging the gap to provide solutions that meet local needs. We can also observe the role that connection plays in building our awareness of experiences that differ from our own, where listening to others is the first step towards positive change. 

Industry-wide progress on diversity, equity and inclusion

Following on from the many excellent events where professionals shared insights for International Women’s Day as part of Women’s History Month, I would like to highlight the landmark memorandum of understanding (MOU) RICS signed in April. The MOU will increase collaboration and progress on diversity, equity and inclusion with other built environment bodies. The conversations and engagements that these initiatives collectively support are an important step in making our profession as welcoming and inclusive as it needs to be. I hope that members will use the opportunities this creates to reflect better in our work the world that we aim to serve.

Of course, your insights are valuable not just in professional practice and for shaping our sector, but also for helping RICS support you better. To that end, I should also flag that this year’s Survey of the Profession will be open for your responses until 30 May. Every view shared makes a difference, and I am encouraged to see so many initiatives now in progress focussed on improving member engagement, experience and value. 

These include member-led events, increased transparency and more focussed communication of relevant support and resources available to members, a summary of which is available and regularly updated here. I am grateful to the many members who have already taken part in this latest survey round, and I encourage all members to share their views before the survey closes using the invitation link emailed directly.

My best wishes for the coming month.


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