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Ben Farnell

Ben Farnell is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Real Estate Practice Group in London. He focuses his practice on commercial property law, planning and development, and real estate sustainability.
Ben is listed as a "Next Generation Partner" in the Legal 500 UK 2021 directory.

Our Global Real Estate Group recently hosted a webinar on current hot topics impacting the global warehousing and logistics market. Lawyers from our real estate and construction team were joined by Marcus de Minckwitz, EMEA head of Industrial and Logistics at Savills, and Michael Smith, president of First Mile Refrigerated Ventures, a US private equity firm investing into cold storage and processing facilities.

Environmental sustainability, social justice and proactive corporate governance will increasingly underpin the ESG agenda in the real estate sector for investors, occupiers and stakeholders alike. Buildings are responsible for almost 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, meaning our industry clearly has work to do if the UK is to achieve net-zero by 2050. The terms “net-zero” and “greenwashing” do not sit well together, and if the former is to win out, the UK will need an ambitious regulatory framework, coupled with unwavering buy-in from the boardroom to the living room. “Action, not aspiration” is the UK government’s message.

We know that the construction and operation of buildings has an enormous impact on energy-related carbon emissions, contributing around 40% globally. To deal with this, many real estate investors are committing to transition their real estate portfolios to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or earlier. Owners, occupiers, investors and funders of the built environment will come under increased pressure to reduce emissions and substantiate their sustainability credentials.