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“RICS has an opportunity to assist investors who are increasingly keen to know the responsible business credentials of commercial bodies”

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peaking at our inaugural World Built Environment Forum in Washington DC, Lawrence Summers, one of the world’s foremost economic commentators, challenged built environment professionals to lead efforts to spur sustainable growth. In particular, he urged us to create confidence and trust among policymakers and investors that large-scale projects would deliver on time and within budget. Other prominent speakers at the April summit shone a spotlight on challenges such as climate change, technology, cyber security, and attracting talent. If we fail to respond to these developments, our professional members and their clients will decide the profession is no longer relevant and we will join an inauspicious list of bodies that have lost their pre-eminence or disappeared altogether. It is vital that we have the best possible strategy to meet these challenges. But strategy alone is never enough. It has become a cliche that reputations take years to build and can be lost overnight, especially in the age of WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden and the Panama papers. As our profile grows, we will attract more scrutiny. For these reasons, RICS needs world-class assurance to ensure we are running our affairs properly, and are seen to do so. In the commercial world, good governance is rising up the agenda. The FTSE4Good series started in 2001 in response to investors who were seeking to measure the social, environmental and ethical performance of the companies in which they invest. Indices such as this can be used to develop financial products, as a basis of research into companies’ responsible businesses, and as

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a benchmark to track the performance of responsible investment portfolios. If investors are increasingly keen to know the responsible business credentials of commercial bodies, this suggests an opportunity for RICS to assist them through standards. It also suggests that professions will need to demonstrate that they are leading by example. Early in my term of office, Governing Council – our most senior RICS body – realised it needed to change its approach. In 2015, only 35% of professional bodies retained a Governing Council, and at 57 members, ours was far larger than most and our agendas had become operational and routine. Stakeholders who otherwise take an active interest in RICS told us that Council was largely irrelevant to them and many of our professional members said Council felt like a detached entity. This is unsurprising: most are primarily concerned with issues in their specific market, which are best addressed regionally or nationally, rather than at a global level. I am proud to have been involved in RICS governance reform that will both position RICS as the leading body in our sector, and protect our reputation. The aims are threefold: to become a leading model for setting our strategy; to improve our engagement and understanding of our customers; and to ensure that our work is properly overseen. This oversight objective depends on a sophisticated approach to identifying risks and managing them effectively. Council will physically meet less often and make better use of virtual technology between meetings. This ought to allow us to be more agile in making decisions, and save time and money otherwise spent on travel and logistics. We will also streamline the structure of Council and ensure a more diverse spread of skills, knowledge and experience among its members. As we do this we will work closely with world regions to improve engagement with RICS professionals and external stakeholders regionally, so that we can be sure we are addressing the questions that matter most to them. These are the right changes at the right time, and I know my successor will pursue them energetically. ROB MAHONEY steps down as RICS Honorary Secretary this month (news, opposite)

ILLUSTRATION ANDREA MANZATI

ROB MAHONEY FRICS HONORARY SECRETARY, RICS, LONDON

RICS Modus, Global edition — June 2016  

#RICSModus, June 2016 — the CASH issue. In order to keep global warming to below two degrees, the built environment sector needs to reduce i...

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#RICSModus, June 2016 — the CASH issue. In order to keep global warming to below two degrees, the built environment sector needs to reduce i...