RICS President Clement Lau. Photography by Virgile Simon Bertrand
Our connection is of course enshrined in the Royal Charter granted to us in 1881. In enjoining RICS to promote the usefulness of the profession for the public advantage around the world, societal benefit is placed at the core of what it means to be a professional. It also emphasises we must produce good outcomes not in the abstract, but in the real context of our times. This dual promise demands constant evolution based on dialogue with our surroundings, and as professionals and an institution we must continually update our understanding of the goals that guide us and our ways of working to meet society’s changing needs.
Like me I am sure all members are keen to read the recommendations of the Bichard Review, which will be submitted to Governing Council presently. This will be an important moment, and I am hopeful that Lord Bichard’s recommendations will provide the clarity to allow our professional institution to continue working sustainably and with confidence to the public advantage in the years ahead.
Combatting climate change is one of the most important areas of our profession and I am pleased to see the urgency professionals are bringing to the task. Senior Vice President Tina Paillet FRICS has been busy in recent weeks raising awareness on this topic, speaking on webinars and panels in the UK, Poland and Belgium. In Brussels, Tina spoke at the launch of the World Green Building Council’s EU Policy Roadmap, which provides an ambitious blueprint for achieving net zero in the built environment by 2050 and in which RICS played a leading role.
Tina also highlighted the recent Red Book update covering ESG and RICS plans for an updated whole life carbon assessment standard that embeds International Cost Management Standards (ICMS). There was keen interest in the environmental and commercial benefits such standards bring, which is a positive sign of the pivotal role that RICS professionals and their expertise will play the built environment’s fight against climate change.
Finally, I am delighted to note several member-led initiatives that are making positive contributions on issues of importance for the profession. Under its chair Rory Murphy FRICS, the Member Engagement, Experience and Value (MEEV) working group gave an update on recent progress. This included news that more than 1,500 members have so far met online and in-person since the start of the year across 19 countries as part of member-led events, with funding agreed to support further gatherings.
I would also highlight a recently published summary of an RICS Scotland session focussed on sharing advice and insights for women in the built environment. With Pride celebrations in June, and the recent establishment of a strategic oversight group for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by RICS Governing Council, there has never been more focus on ensuring the profession becomes as supportive and welcoming as it needs to be so that everyone can thrive. Much remains to be done, but I look forward to seeing progress in these vital endeavours.
My best wishes to Her Majesty and all RICS members.