Although, Nigeria moved up 15 spots on the Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index from position 83, the challenges in housing and sustainable development in Nigeria are enormous. The extremely limited access to mortgage continues to prey on Nigerian lives, while housing struggles to match up with population growth. The limited quantity of long-term housing development loans has impeded on the nation realising the full materialisation of the real estate sector.


This has yet to break the spirit of a people who have endured more than just limited sustainable housing. Nigerians are as sustainable as they are resilient. Just as sustainable development has been defined in the Brundtland report as development which meets our current needs without hindering the ability of future generations to meet theirs, resilience is basically all decisions made to tackle the challenges that hinder such developments. However, it is no longer news that sustainable housing has been one of the crucial needs that Nigerians have found difficult to access.


It takes a peculiar kind of people to experience irregularities and still emerge optimistic and resourceful especially when these irregularities touch on one of their most basic needs. 

Although, our architecture today has aligned itself with global standards, it can only remain so unfortunately, as long as sustainable policies are formed. Therefore, celebrating 61 years of independence should not be draped in Nigerians weakly clawing for makeshift options of shelter but for the cream they deserve: sustainable housing –– which is still very within our reach and quite possible to realise.


Happy 61st Independence, Nigeria!





More than just 61 years but for hundreds of years, Nigerians have creatively made decisions in the most challenging of times to deal with the elusive essential of sustainable real estate. This was notably present in the Hausa Pre-Colonial architecture of mud, stones and grasses which helped shield the Northern people from the scorching winds from the Sahara. Also evident in Igbo architecture in the same period were cave-inspired tight encasements of pitched roofing with priority given to warmth and wind aversion. The Yorubas prioritized termite-resistance which they found in bamboo rafters in the same era.


Although the modern history of housing provisions in Nigeria has been a dramatic one, Nigerians endured the journey and are now presently looking forward to the possibilities of housing solutions with closer proximity to their need for sustainability.


Formulation of good policies and seeing to their implementation; development of new building materials as well as improvement in the efficiency of local building materials have been proposed by Obianyo et al. (2001), as solutions to actualizing mainstay sustainable housing. These could be the modern version of Nigerians yet again manifesting resilience or at least a variety of it in protecting sustainable living. The solutions prescribed are centered on the practice of research which is only necessary for viable outcomes.

Research and Housing Policies

Agbola and Alabi (2000) defined policy as a plan of action, a statement of aim and ideas. Housing policy is thus a guideline provided by government which is aimed at meeting the housing need and demand of the people through research and a set of appropriate strategies including fiscal, institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks (Agbola, 1998).


Therefore, results of research in the real estate sector can be used in policy making to aid the advancement of the Nigerian housing and urban development sector, and creating a repository for storing research findings will make it easy for policy makers to access information to be used for formulating well informed policies for sustainable housing and urban development.


Development of Functional Designs


The efforts of the government in its approach to achieving the goal of the National Housing Policy and its institutional framework has continuously proven futile. Therefore, it has become very necessary to carry out incisive research to develop new functional designs for housing and urban infrastructure for providing adequate housing and urban infrastructure in Nigeria.


Reinforcing the Efficiency of Local Materials

Research is also beneficial to optimizing already existing local materials. Applying research findings aimed at improving the strength, durability and efficiency of local materials will enable them to compete favorably with foreign ones.


Although these solutions are yet to be effective, the real estate sector in Nigeria is ever expanding as was evident in demand rising by double digit figures in 2019. According to Nigeria Property Centre, enquiries of listings increased by 72% that year.


Bilaad Realty, like the nation continue to brave the storm in the mission to building sustainable cities. 61 years, and more before then, have been ample time for all our memorable challenges to heat this land into solid rock and like in the words of Gordon Hinckley, “You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation”.



According to Richard Watkins in an article published by the HR magazine in 2017 “We are born into groups; we live in groups and everything of value is always in groups. No one has ever really achieved anything on their own.” (Richard Watkins, 2017). While collaboration might be as old as humanity itself, it has never been more important in the world of work. The power that is collaboration has with time, gained momentum and has been recognized as an effective tool towards a nation’s growth.

Across Nigeria and African real estate industries, associated sectors, and regulators, there is a crucial need to understand that cross sector collaboration is important to achieving large scale sustainable development as each sector has a vital role to play. As a means of coordinating different ideas to generate a wide variety of knowledge, collaboration has shown to positively impact performance and outcomes of innovation.

The concept of sustainability is focused on developing society to a state where it can exist in the long term. This means taking into account the partnerships between government, private sector and civil society. Over the years, countless efforts by the government and other stakeholders have been made to tackle several complex changes but many have failed because of competitive self-interest, conflicting priorities and a lack of a fully shared purpose.

Every sector faces the challenge of moving from an industrial past to a sustainable future, and the real estate industry is no exception. While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to respond to the changes the industry is experiencing, it is evident that individuals and organizations need to develop, implement and integrate a clear strategy to stay ahead of the curve.






Because collaboration in business is generally intended to confer benefits to the parties involved as it revolves around the exchange of knowledge, monetary resources and other forms of value, such collaborations go through good and bad phases leaving both parties asking questions like: Who stands to profit the most in this sustainable collaboration development?


From Self Interest to Shared Interest


The automotive industry, for example, has shaped a sounding statement of success through collaborations and partnerships within its industry. Toyota is the largest car company according to the world atlas with a production of over 20 million cars in the year 2017, and over the years managed to reduce production costs and increase vehicle quality by adopting Just-in-time (JIT) and Lean production systems. This model simply extracts from the values of collaborations and partnerships.


Another example of an organization that strives for strategic collaborations is the Institute of Real Estate Management which is a collaboration of 29 real estate-related organizations focused on raising awareness and attracting diverse talent to the many careers available across the built environment.

The initiative to highlight the diverse career paths within the real estate sector, was both ground-breaking and exemplary.


More than ever, businesses are being challenged to help tackle social and environmental issues. As a result, an increasing number of top firms are taking the sustainability challenge seriously, not only to decrease their environmental impact and improve their reputations, but also to improve their operations and financial performance.


Collaborating for Sustainability


(Rangaswami, M et al., 2021). Long term value from a customer or consumer perspective can imply so many things. In context of our complex, and service-driven global world, trade relationships between countries (like Nigeria and the rest of the world) influences industry outcomes particularly in real estate where supplementary input materials need to be sourced. Accordingly, what we find is cross border collaboration to achieve mutual benefit and sustainable success that satisfies customer and consumer expectations.

It is important to understand collaboration requires the right blend of values that are shared across participating stakeholders to create the sustainable outcome as planned. While it is easy to think that the brightest minds would yield most favourable results in activity, their size, composition, competence, and dispositions can make or break a vision. Interestingly, “the qualities necessary for success are the same as the qualities that destroy success” (Harvard Business Review, 2021) in complex projects. 

Whether public or private, local and international organizations are faced with this paradox and the solution could not be any simpler; the more complex a team is, the more you require a uniting purpose. It could be in a product they love, or a shared, passionate vision for the future.


To Collaborate or not to Collaborate?


Sustainable Collaborations raises a number of questions. What are the pros and cons of partnering with other entities from multiple sectors? Does this approach live up to expectations?  Who stands to profit the most? The reality is that successful collaboration is no easy feat. For some, opening up their companies to partner with other stakeholders may be perceived to be too high a risk –– issues such as trust, mutually shared benefits and imbalance of power often come into play.


Progress and breakthroughs cannot be achieved in isolation, as such, working collaboratively with partners to create opportunities will serve as the needed energy to fuel creativity, growth and innovation. At Bilaad Realty, we recognize the importance of collaborating for sustainability and the need to develop approaches that go beyond philanthropy, towards generating shared value. Although the future is unpredictable, one thing is certain – the future of businesses will be defined by collaborations.





Not all choices are created equal. Decisions can have a wide range of value and complexity, which makes streamlining and making a choice strenuous. From choosing a career path, meal, school, spouse, home, we live to keep making decisions that not only make or mar us, but also see us parting ways with our hard earned cash.

For many consumers, the purchasing process is routine: you see a need and satisfy that need by going for the most convenient option or trusting a known brand to deliver. Consumers remain, however, who despite the reputation that leading brands have built, still verify multiple details in terms of features, durability, and service.

The same should apply when it involves real estate. Consumers do not always engage in this depth of research when it comes to making that home buying decision. This is a major concern as less experienced and self-serving competitors are now in the market ,causing home buyers to face delay, unnecessary expenditure, and other problems in the long run.

As the real estate market continues to grow, having reliable information at your fingertips is more important than ever. Every day, real estate professionals and prospective buyers alike continue to enter into agreements, with the majority of clients having little or no information about the housing market.

Being deliberate in finding your dream home and choosing a credible real estate developer can lead to more than just consumer satisfaction. It can assure that expectations are met and eliminate the occurrence of buyers’ remorse. It is imperative that buyers are well informed, intentional, and act with confidence when making decisions related to home buying.


Are Open Houses Worth It?


Are Open Houses Worth It?

The real estate market offers something for every buyer but finding that perfect home takes deliberate effort and dedication. While seeing a specific home requires scheduling and planning, open houses provide one of the easiest ways to get inside a variety of homes quickly. Besides being a fun time, open houses are big research opportunities. When you’ve “tried on” a variety of homes before you seriously begin to shop, you can be more confident that you’ve found the best fit, not only at a fair price, but also in terms of sustainability.

When visiting an open house, you should have a list of questions prepared for the agent or developer, as the case may be, and you should have already conducted some research, too. You want to leave this process feeling that you are well informed to make the right decision.

1.       Embrace the Reality Check.

Perhaps you’ve got your heart set on a specific neighborhood or certain location, attending a couple open homes in your desired area will give you a good idea about how much you’ll need to spend to be in that location, bring you to reality on what your dream home will actually cost, and can help you see the tradeoffs you might have to make

2.      Pay Attention

When buying a home, it’s all too easy to focus on what you love and go blind to downsides and potential issues. Don’t. In the same vein, if you can practice seeing past knickknacks and faux-brick vinyl floor covering, you might just snag a jewel in the rough that other homebuyers take a pass on. Window shopping is your chance to cultivate a critical eye that will serve you well in the future. It is important to take this opportunity to understand yourself, to notice the things you love and the things you don’t.

3.      Look Out

There’s no better way to check out a neighborhood than to attend an open house in one. While you’re there, ask the realtor to give you insight on the area. Are you looking for a neighborhood with a lot of amenities? Perhaps you’re seeking a more peaceful environment. Whatever you desire, talk to the realtor at the open house about your preferences and even take some time to walk through the neighborhood to get a better feel for the area.

One of the many challenge buyers are faced with in today’s wired world is being well informed and learning the identities of prospective agents or developers. Home buyers click their way around hundreds of real estate websites, requesting information via e-mail from scores of agents without really getting in depth information on their purchase.


By hosting open houses, we cut through the electronic interface, put you in front and center by giving you a first-hand house hunting experience, helping you define your interests, and begin the professional relationship that leads to real estate success.




The age of sustainability is here. It is accentuating the importance of technology. Sustainability and technology, both of which are mutually reinforcing, are now the most significant sources of revenue growth for businesses worldwide. They have created demand for new kinds of products, including electric cars, solar panels, energy saving bulbs, organic food products, digital finance, etc.


According to Investopedia, sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. This concept is concerned with maintaining a balance between economic, social and environmental considerations – the three pillars of sustainability. Technology on the other hand is evolutionary. It has been with us forever, and through it, the world is now embracing efficiency, having the three pillars of sustainability in mind.

Sustainability and technology are forcing us to envision the future world. How are we going to share the workplace with robots? What are we going to do with our vehicles that are powered by fossil fuels, which pollute the environment and heat up the atmosphere, and are soon to be abandoned for cleaner transportation? And how do we ensure that housing is affordable and accessible to all, and does not use too much of the available resources? These and similar complex questions that require simple solutions are creating new business opportunities, but they also demand effective and coordinated policymaking for a sustainable future.


As more developed countries diffuse technological innovations with sustainability, the time has come when developing countries like Nigeria must shape our actions with transitions to more sustainable ways of living for future generations.



Sustainability and technology are driving innovations across all sectors of the economy and society. The concept of sustainability has evolved over the past centuries. We could trace its roots to the industrial revolution in the 19th century, which brought about great advancement in technology and witnessed population boom, leading to increased consumption and generation of waste. Since then, the challenge and the opportunity are how to make things better and how to live in harmony with fellow humans, and the environment in a more prosperous world.


As has been realized, we were not doing well in maintaining the balance. Industrial advances meant a setback for the environment. Very few people have so much more than they need while many do not have basic necessities of life. The good news is that there is now an unprecedented global commitment to mitigating environmental degradation and social inequality. These efforts are taking places at supranational, regional, national and local levels. Big businesses, SMEs, and startups are part of the solutions, either by mitigating harmful practices or delivering innovative solutions that represent the vast opportunities in sustainability.


Unsurprisingly, the technology behemoth, Google became the first major company to become “carbon neutral” since 2007, first buying high-quality carbon offsets and later using renewable energy for its entire energy need. Google has also set an ambitious target of becoming “carbon free” by 2030. Its lead has inspired other big tech companies, such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, to commit to carbon neutrality by 2040.


Nigerian companies, big and small, should also commit to sustainability and technological advancement. This is not only necessary to transform our economy, it is also vital to making the country a good place to live for our future generations.


Real Estate


“Going green’, ‘clean energy’, ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘future-proof’ are recurring motifs across all business sectors already, and they find particular resonance in real estate. Also, technology is being deployed to deliver these and other sustainability themes in real estate design, construction, material composition, safety, and management across both the residential and commercial market segments. Businesses such as Airbnb and WeWork have rapidly risen to prominence, thanks to groundbreaking technologies.

For sure, Nigeria is not without active participants in sustainable real estate. We are also entering an era in which policymakers are keen to drive the agenda in the sector. Bilaad Realty is proud of its commitment to sustainability in the real estate sector and its efforts to crowd-in future-proof practices through its advocacy.


Commitment to Innovation


Innovation is the link between sustainability and technology. There are ongoing efforts towards promoting an innovation economy in Africa, even if results are still underwhelming. ICT hubs and technology parks need to make more showing on the landscape. But two areas that the continent has made impressive advances on are financial technology and e-commerce. Nigeria is a signpost for some of the developments, with Jumia, InterSwitch and Flutterwave achieving unicorn status, i.e., a company or start-up with a valuation of over $1 billion.


Nevertheless, the government needs to make the business environment more enabling for startups. One area of intervention is to improve access to electricity supply, and the other is to make broadband internet more available. A thriving startup ecosystem will be of immense benefit to the government. We are already seeing this on both sides of collecting public revenues and making payment, making more transparency and accountability possible, besides actually helping to increase revenue generation.


Although societies are now very much dependent on technology, we must thrive on making sustainability the mission, driven by technological innovation. Technology alone will not be enough, despite its essentiality. Developing countries like Nigeria must make practical commitments towards creating a future that is prosperous and socially and environmentally sustainable.

The Balance: Aesthetics and Sustainability

The Balance: Aesthetics and Sustainability


“Sustainability and aesthetics in one building?” asked the San Francisco Chronicle in 2007.

Aesthetics is an age-old theory that shapes the definition of beauty and how it is perceived. In recent years, the emergence of new technologies, innovation and trends have seen industries use aesthetics as a weapon to drive value and remain relevant. The power of aesthetics may be most obvious in a competitive market, where this principle is used as a leverage to drive traffic and often is the defining factor that influences consumers’ purchasing decision.

While many consumers rely heavily on form (aesthetics) as a strategic way to differentiate product, it is imperative to recognize the impact of function (sustainability) and the potential it has to drive financial performance as well as contribute to the positive development of the environment and society. Individuals and industries need to reconsider their purposes –– can products be better for people? Can buildings be better for the planet? Can companies be environmentally responsible and still turn a profit? Addressing these questions will cause dramatic changes in every area of work and life.

Sustainability in relationship to aesthetics involves two things: first, the modification of aesthetic qualities of the objects surrounding us, and secondly, changes in the representations of meaning attached to the aesthetic qualities of our environment, including objects. It challenges many aesthetics conventions and social norms. For instance, from a sustainable perspective, the use of the ubiquitous lawn in residential areas is both highly wasteful and polluting. Consumers are now leaning more towards landscapes composed of native vegetations.

In these times of global change, where consumers’ expectations have evolved from searching for not just the appealing aspects of a product but for the ultimate experience along with the function, power, prestige and confidence associated with the product, the property sector needs to adopt the right balance between aesthetics and sustainability as they play a holistic approach in the durability and appeal of the built environment.



Pollan writes: “Human desires form a part of natural history in the same way the hummingbird’s love of red does, or the ant’s taste for the aphid’s honeydew. I think of them as the human equivalent of nectar.” The fate of many things depends on whether they please people. Wolves might seem heartier than dogs, but there are over 20 million dogs in the world and only ten thousand wolves. Which has adapted better? This view of nature may give you pause–should other species exist just to please us? But as a principle for design, it is essential. If you want something to last, make it as lovable as a Labrador.

We are biased towards aesthetic forms –– we love looking at beautiful things and are drawn to “beautiful”, both in the bricks-and-mortar world and in the digital one. In the digital world for example, a more attractive website is just one click away. When users visit a website or even try a new app, they make quick decisions on whether to stay on that site/app or keep looking for another one. Much of that decision hinges on the aesthetic appeal of the web page’s design. People have always been attracted to beauty. We see people who dress appealingly, and we respond favorably. We see a Ferrari or a Porsche, and our attention is captured by such “head turners”.

For centuries, architecture has harnessed the understanding that beauty matters. Buildings are permanent landmarks, so it is important to enjoy them. Architects tend to design structures that appeal to those who live and work in them. Yes, there are always exceptions, but at least the monstrosities will remind us why getting it right is vital.

While architects, web designers and even fashion designers use the principle of attractiveness bias (physical attractiveness stereotype) to grab and hold the attention of users, using it as a marketing strategy, it is important to know that attractiveness bias is a short-lived effect. The most beautiful website cannot keep visitors without providing an equally attractive user experience. Once that “wow factor” dies down, it is the utility of a site that holds the attention.

Ultimately, long-term value is impossible without sensory appeal, because if design doesn’t inspire, it is destined to be discarded. “In the end,” writes Senegalese poet Baba Dioum, “we conserve only what we love.” We don’t love something because it’s nontoxic and biodegradable–we love it because it moves the head and the heart. If people don’t want something, it will not last, no matter how thrifty it is. And when our designs end up as litter or landfill, how prudent have we been?

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us,” wrote Rachel Carson half a century ago, “the less taste we shall have for destruction.” When we treasure something, we are less prone to kill it, so desire fuels preservation. Love it or lose it. Aesthetic attraction is not a superficial concern–it’s an environmental imperative.

As we enter a more environmentally-conscious age, we need to inevitably build more ecologically responsible and sustainable cities. Creating buildings with the lowest possible energy consumption and carbon emission production, while still being aesthetically pleasing, is a challenge that we at Bilaad Realty have always taken, because we understand that meeting our customers’ needs and desires is in the long term more important.

Preparing Young People Today for Tomorrow’s World

Preparing Young People Today for Tomorrow’s World

Pull Quote: Bilaad Realty’s “For Kids” approach to change involves organizing communities of industry leaders into self-led teams that, like the learning ecosystems we want to create, systemically plan, communicate, learn, and expose children to the unspoken career choices that exists, thereby distributing leadership of system change widely.

Preparing Today For Tomorrows World



We are at the beginning of a revolution that is fundamentally changing the way we live, work and relate to one another, The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Prior to the nineteenth century, systematic investment in human capital was not considered especially important in any country. Expenditures on schooling, on-the-job training, and other similar forms of investment were quite small. This began to change radically during this century, as education, skills, and the acquisition of knowledge have become crucial determinants of a person’s and a nation’s productivity.

The industrial age taught us how to educate second-class robots, people who learn in standardized settings and become good at repeating what we tell them. In this age of accelerations, we need to think harder about what makes us first class humans, how we complement, not substitute, the artificial intelligence we have created in our computers, and how we build a culture that facilitates learning, unlearning and re-learning throughout life. The new generation of citizens require not just strong academic skills, but also curiosity, imagination, empathy, entrepreneurship and resilience.

Never before has effective career guidance been so important and never before has there been a greater onus on industries, especially the private sector, to step up and replicate positive benefits linked to first-hand exposure to the working world through programs of career development activities, providing the necessary platforms to help young children reflect on who they are, and to think critically about the relationships between their educational choices and future economic life.

We owe it to our children to ensure that they go through education blind, neither to the opportunities offered by the working world nor to its potential pitfalls. We owe it to our children to ensure that effective education systems will go beyond traditional teaching techniques that will provide learners with knowledge relevant to career development.



Whether in a building or in an individual, the importance of a solid foundation cannot be over emphasized, as this lays the basis and sets the tone for the future. Studies have shown that aspirations are important, but also emphasized how the “early years of a child’s life are a key time in their formation and development” (Gutman & Akerman 2008). Introducing children to the world of work and learning about future jobs and careers in primary education is a resource which needs to be harnessed in the development of knowledge and skills and applied as a mechanism to influence the aspirations of children.

Across the world, young people who leave education today are, on average, more highly qualified than any preceding generation in history. They often enter the working world with considerably more years of schooling than their parents or grandparents. This is an enormous achievement of which the global education community can be truly proud. And yet, in spite of completing an unprecedented number of years of formal education, young people continue to struggle in the job market, and governments continue to worry about the mismatch between what societies and economies demand and education systems supply.

It is to this end that we must strive to:

Rethink the Education Model

The coexistence of unemployed university graduates and employers who say they cannot find people with the skills they need, shows that more education does not automatically mean better jobs and better lives. For many young people, academic success alone has proven an insufficient means of ensuring a smooth transition into the world of work.

Every day, teenagers make important decisions that are relevant to their future. The time and energy they dedicate to learning and the fields of study where they place their greatest efforts profoundly shape the opportunities they will have throughout their lives. A key source of motivation for students to study hard is to realize their dreams for work and life. Those dreams and aspirations, in turn, do not just depend on talents, but they can be hugely influenced by their personal background, families, as well as by the depth and breadth of their knowledge about the world of work.


In Nigeria today, it is easy to see why children choose occupations that they are more exposed to or occupations that society deems prestigious and offers financial success such as Engineering, Medicine and Law. Today’s young people must make more decisions about what, where and how hard they will study, and good schools and industries will respond by empowering them to become critical thinkers.

Make a Difference

The idea of empowering the whole person for the whole world is gaining momentum rapidly. But it requires complex change on a massive scale. It requires transforming existing education systems into new “learning ecosystems”—dynamic networks of educators and others who influence the experience of young people, working together to ensure that every child develops the knowledge, skills, and inclinations that are prerequisites to creating a better world.

Transforming education systems must begin with us. We cannot create learning ecosystems if we are not modeling them ourselves. That is why our (Bilaad Realty’s) “For kids” approach to change involves organizing communities of Industry Leaders into self-led teams that, like the learning ecosystems we want to create, plan systemically, communicate, learn, and expose children to the unspoken career choices that exists, distributing leadership of system change widely.




COVID-19 sent shockwaves throughout the global economy in 2020. Governments across the world responded with different policies to limit the human and economic impact of the pandemic. One year after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, nearly three million people had died from the disease globally, with more than 127 million cases recorded as of the end of March 2021.

Powering Innovation Through Sustainability

Powering Innovation Through Sustainability


There is no alternative to sustainable development. We live in a time of technological advancement that is unprecedented in its pace, scope and depth of impact. Harnessing that change is the most secure path for the international community to deliver on the 2030 agenda for people, peace and prosperity. Frontier technologies hold the promise to revive productivity and make plentiful resources available to end poverty for good, enable more sustainable patterns of growth and mitigate or even reverse decades of environmental degradation. But technological change and innovation need to be directed towards inclusive and sustainable outcomes through purposeful efforts by governments, in collaboration with civil society, business and academia.

To develop innovations that yield sustainable results, leaders must question the implicit assumptions behind current practices. This is exactly what led to today’s industrial and services economy. Someone once asked: Can we create a carriage that moves without horses pulling it? Can we fly like birds? Can we dive like whales? By questioning the status quo, people and companies have changed it. In like vein, we must ask tough questions: Can we develop waterless detergents? Can we breed rice that grows without water? Can biodegradable packaging help seed the earth with plants and trees? Can I fold my house and move it to a new location? Or change the internal structure of my home without breaking any walls?

Indeed, the quest for sustainability is already starting to transform the competitive landscape, which will force companies to change the way they think about products, technologies, processes, and business models. The key to progress, particularly in times of economic crisis, is innovation. Just as some internet companies survived the bust in 2000 to challenge incumbents, so, too, will sustainable corporations emerge from today’s recession to defy the status quo. By treating sustainability as a goal today, early movers will develop competencies that rivals will be hard-pressed to match. That competitive advantage will offer superior corporate positioning, because sustainability will always be an integral part of development.



The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets ambitious global goals, demanding unprecedented actions and efforts across multiple interconnected social, economic and environmental issues. Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) must play a central role in the achievement of these goals. The process of creative destruction initiated by technological progress can help to transform economies and improve living standards, by increasing productivity, and reducing production costs and prices.


Sustainability assumes greater relevance in the context of innovation. While it is valid to discuss sustainability as an important driver in value creation, differentiation of products and services will ultimately play a greater role in shaping a company’s prospects in the market. Increasingly, that differentiation is the product of sustainability-driven innovation.

Efforts to drive innovation can either be sustaining, providing an incremental advantage within the current competitive landscape, or they can be disruptive. Both types of innovation are important because they add value to a company, but disruptive innovation opens up new roads that organizations may not have considered. Either type may be driven by sustainability concerns.

Because innovation in business is generally intended to confer an advantage, it can be useful to view innovation in terms of those advantages—foremost among which are cost leadership, quality/performance and speed to market.

Some examples:

-Cost leadership: Calling cards are an example of a sustaining innovation that increased the convenience associated with making long distance or international calls. However, Internet telephony is a disruptive innovation that is redefining the cost equation for the entire telecommunications industry.

-Quality/performance: Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are an incremental innovation that use less energy than traditional light bulbs. But new light emitting diode (LED) bulbs are a more significant sustaining innovation. They are even more energy efficient than CFLs, deliver higher-quality illumination, last much longer, are cooler to the touch and contain no mercury.

-Speed to market: DVD-by-mail was disruptive, increasing competitive pressures on local video stores through the creation of a new channel (or, perhaps more accurately, repurposing a channel that dates back to the 1840s). Now on-demand streaming video is giving DVD-by-mail a taste of its own medicine, being disruptive both to DVD-by-mail and the video store models.

Sustainability-driven innovation goes beyond designing green products and packaging solely on their inherent virtue. It entails improving business operations and processes to become more efficient, with a goal of dramatically reducing costs and waste. It’s also about insulating a business from the risk of resource price shocks and shortages. When considered together, these enhancements can deliver business benefits that go beyond the bottom line—whether it’s improving overall carbon footprint, enhancing brand image or engaging employees in a more profound way.


In a constantly evolving world, even a traditional sector such as real estate changes and innovates. In our view, the future of real estate is directly linked with innovation. The startups of today are the potential industry leaders of tomorrow. Traditional approaches to business will collapse, and companies will have to develop innovative solutions. That will happen only when executives recognize a simple truth: Sustainability = Innovation.

Agenda for sustainability in Nigerian real estate sector


The global real estate industry contributes significantly to the gross domestic product (GDP) of many developing and developed nations. However, residential, commercial and industrial buildings are responsible for 20 per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. These buildings are sources of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions, due to the huge amount of natural resources they consume and waste they generate. Real estate consumes over 40 per cent of global energy annually; 30 per cent of raw materials and 12 per cent of drinking water. The industry accounts for 25-40 per cent of solid waste.

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