Commercial Real Estate Still Lacks Diversity, But a New Equity Rating May Accelerate Inclusion

Commercial real estate is one of the oldest and largest industries in the world, with a seismic impact on the global economy, which is why it’s so unfortunate that it’s not known for being a very diverse sector. It’s easy to understand why: CRE is filled with firms that have been built around male-dominated family dynasties. Commercial real estate is also not seen as an option as a vocation by women and minorities. 

The good news is that an increasing number of companies in commercial real estate have taken steps to change that in recent years. But the rate of progress for an industry that has a major impact on the world has been sluggish at best. While there are several reasons for this, one that stands out is a lack of a clear strategy for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) that commercial firms can adhere to. But recently, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) launched a rating system to make that path towards diversity more straightforward.

DEI might be a new business buzzword, but it is a very simple idea dating back to the 1960s. It refers to the practice of hiring and promoting people of all gender, race, age, and ability in organizations, institutions, and communities. After George Floyd’s murder sent shockwaves throughout the U.S. and cast a harsh spotlight on systemic inequities, a medley of real estate firms, investors, and developers leapt on making verbal commitments to enhance their diversity efforts.

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