As an industry, the real estate sector has the potential to have a huge impact on both the natural and human environments. It’s an aspect of this business that I am extremely passionate about – not least because Mexico is so rich in precious resources, both human and environmental.

A dynamic future ahead

The country has some of the most beautiful natural environments on the planet. And a youthful, dynamic and talented population, many of whom are keen to make the most of Mexico’s opportunities in a responsible, sustainable way. As a real estate investor, this has always been one of the key considerations for me, as I look at any potential investment in the light of any impact – positive or negative – that it may have on the existing environment. And I’m proud that in many ways Mexico is leading the way in taking this more responsible, progressive approach to real estate development.

Mexico is certainly busy building for the future. So I’m very keen that as much of this is done as responsibly as possible. The experts at PwC estimate that by 2025 over 70 per cent of the world’s construction activity will take place in just seven countries: China, the US, India, Indonesia, Russia, Canada and Mexico. It’s particularly pleasing then to see that there are already plenty of examples of new real estate developments in Mexico that are being built sustainably, and with the needs of the local community and environment a key priority.

Responsible growth

Take Tulum, one of Mexico’s best loved and most beautiful areas. The beaches are among the best in the world and seafront properties there are hugely popular with many real estate investors looking to tap into the vast US and Canadian expat market. But Tulum – largely because of its great natural beauty and diversity – is also a precious and delicate natural resource.

It’s encouraging then to see how eco-friendly developments such as Los Árboles Cobá are really redefining how property developers and real estate investors interact with the natural world. Rather than concreting over the jungle with new estates, or dominating it with unsympathetic high rise blocks, the developers at Los Árboles Cobá have used the lush forests of the Yucatán Peninsula to their advantage.

Developing in harmony

In developments like this, the natural surroundings complement the buildings. Green technologies such as rainwater collection systems, filtration units, alternative energy sources and near silent back-up generators mean that the development sits in harmony with the environment around it. It’s an inspiring piece of work – but more importantly it is also a commercial success that so far seems to be meeting the needs of everyone who has a stake in it.

There is official regulatory support for this kind of more environmentally sympathetic approach to creating new buildings in Mexico too. Organisations like the Mexican Green Building Council (MexicoGBC) are part of a broader global movement who are working together to support the development of more eco-friendly and sustainable buildings in our country. One of the most important steps that they’ve taken so far is to establish a nationally recognised green building standard – a benchmark that all sustainable real estate projects in Mexico can now measure themselves against.

Innovation is the key to success

Clearly, those responsible for any newly-built environment have an equal responsibility to the natural environment that the development is encroaching on. It’s a concern that has always been close to my heart, but what is fascinating and reassuring about the current climate in Mexico is that this kind of innovation, and sense of environmental responsibility, is being increasingly seen as a necessity for any new development. The sense I get is that – in Mexico at least – all parties, from developers to investors to the customers themselves, increasingly understand the value of creating a built environment that is sympathetic to the natural one around it.

Only the start

But is also important that, as a nation, we don’t become complacent. Developments like Los Árboles Cobá are encouraging, and setting standards of environmental responsibility that the rest of the world can look to as an example. But Mexico also potentially stands on the brink of an explosion in development, as real estate investors from around the world recognise that the country represents a huge opportunity to enjoy a good return on their money. This, of course, is a good thing – but because of this it is also crucial that we protect the assets that have made this country so attractive to investors in the first place, and build an understanding that any development needs to be sympathetic to, and protective of, our rich natural environment.

Ultimately, one of the main reasons why I have been involved in the real estate industry for so many years is that I enjoy contributing to improving people’s standard of living. Whether that is through helping to create shopping centres that provide an enjoyable and stress-free environment for them to spend time in, or investing in seafront rental properties that are sympathetic to the natural environment around them, it is all about making a positive impact.

Mexico is booming, and real estate development can be a real driver of this growth, but it is important that we always ensure that any impact we have as investors, and as human beings, is a good one.