Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Ethics Goes Global

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Ethics Goes Global

Article excerpt

In an effort to redefine the role of ethics in the global real estate market, a coalition of professional bodies from around the world has come together to write the first International Ethics Standard for real estate professionals. IREM, founded on ethical principles more than 80 years ago, is one of the professional bodies actively engaged in spearheading this initiative.


Development of the standard is the objective of the International Ethics Standard (IES) Coalition. The Coalition is committed to introducing, at an international level, one shared set of values reflecting key principles on which the entire profession can agree and to which all codes of conduct will conform. With a trillion dollars of commercial real estate capital flowing around the world, it is increasingly important that professionals manage that huge capital flow responsibly. Having a set of universally accepted, consistent global ethics principles directly underpins this.

A founding member of the Coalition, IREM was one of 15 organizations representing property and related professional services from around the world that met at the United Nations in New York last October to establish the IES Coalition. Having now grown to 48 real estate professional bodies, the Coalition represents many thousands of practitioners working in real estate sectors across the world united by the shared belief that business ethics can play a valuable and more prominent role in the global property profession.

"This is a very exciting project which comes at a time when many professions and sectors are looking closely at the role ethics plays in developing trust, transparency and greater confidence in how we conduct business," said IREM President Lori Burger, CPM. "Global ethics standards have had a proven effect on other professions-most notably,

the global accountancy profession-and could potentially bring many positive benefits for the real estate profession as well."

Responsibility for the actual writing of the IES has been given over to a standard setting committee comprising prominent real estate representatives with backgrounds in real estate and business ethics and experience in different sectors and markets. Committee members hail from Russia, China, France, U.S., Germany, Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, Canada and the UK. Among the group are two CPM Members: Fred Prassas, CPM, of LaCrosse, Wis., and William P.J. McCarthy, CPM, of Burnaby, BC. Organized earlier this year, the committee has begun the process by reviewing the many existing ethics codes and identifying common themes and overlaps across geographies, cultures and business sectors.

Most of the other organizations in the Coalition are like IREM and already have their own codes of ethics-codes that build on such principles as trustworthiness, integrity and respect while also speaking to their own specific professions. In light of this, it's reasonable to ask: Will participating organizations be expected to give up their existing codes of conduct when the new International Ethics Standard is released?

"Absolutely not," saidjoseph Greenblatt, CPM, who serves as a representative of IREM on the IES Coalition. "IREM's Code of Ethics is a fundamental part of who we are. Our code forms the foundation for our credentialing programs, is a vital component of our member value proposition and is embedded in everything that we do and stand for.

At the same time, we realize that the IREM Code is based on established business norms and customs in the U. …

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