An $80 billion real estate company just named its first chief carbon officer. Here’s what he’ll do

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The building industry is responsible for a huge amount of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere. One of the world’s biggest development companies now has a top-level official charged with figuring out how to bring those emissions down.



Hines, the international real estate company with more than $80 billion in assets under management, has created a new role that could soon become common in the industry: chief carbon officer. “My sole focus, 100%, is carbon emissions,” says Michael Izzo, who was recently appointed to inaugurate the role, officially known as Hines’s vice president of carbon strategy. Formerly a vice president of construction for Hines, Izzo is now creating a company-wide strategy for reducing carbon emissions in its new construction and renovation projects around the world, including towers in New York and Shanghai, and in Bangalore, India. It’s a notable move for a company like Hines and for the real estate development industry in general, which is increasingly coming to terms with the climate impacts of both the operation of its buildings and the resources required to build them, known as embodied carbon.


“Real estate accounts for about 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions,” Izzo says. “And if you look at central business districts like New York City, where I’ve done most of my work over the last couple decades, the emissions from buildings are closer to 70%, both embodied and operational.” Bringing those emissions down, especially on the operations side, makes business sense for a developer like Hines. More efficient buildings are cheaper for owners and more marketable to tenants. Izzo’s job—likely the first such dedicated position in the real estate industry—is to find ways to improve building operations and energy efficiency and also to find less resource-intensive materials and construction processes to get those buildings built. He’s already begun working with an internal team to identify projects that can use lower-carbon materials like mass timber and concrete made with cement replacement. Projects now include an embodied carbon guidebook that helps explain how the project measures up and how it did (or couldn’t) reduce its carbon impact. He’s also targeting the massive amount of energy buildings require, and finding ways to reduce the emissions that come from their heating, cooling, and power demands. “We should really start with tangible, simple things that we can do within the built environment, like ridding our buildings of fossil fuels to the extent we can,” he says.


One project exemplifying these goals is Hines’s 270,000-square-foot, 16-story office tower south of New York’s Greenwich Village. The building, which will complete construction next year, was designed to run fully on electricity, eliminating higher-emitting gas from its heating system. The structure is expected to meet New York City’s 2050 carbon neutral building goal and exceed its carbon reduction requirements by more than 50%. Izzo says this kind of project shows what a company like Hines can do to address climate change issues while also creating marketable products. “We’re not looking for the perfect carbon efficiency or the perfect financial efficiency,” he says. “It’s how do we marry the two and adopt these two different, sometimes competing metrics in order to make better investment decisions.”


Izzo acknowledges that the carbon issue is a huge one for the real estate and construction industry, and his work is just getting started. He’s hoping to establish a clear carbon strategy for Hines, and then drill down into how that can be applied to the hundreds of developments the company has in the works. “Real estate tends to be a long game,” Izzo says. “That’s why it’s imperative that we move even more quickly. Because the buildings we’re building today, they’re going to be around for a very long time.”

Flea Riffs Into Former Paramount Chief’s $14 Million 90210 Compound

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Michael “Flea” Balzary already owns two enviable homes in the Los Angeles area, a $7.5 million cottage in the Malibu Colony gated community and a funky $4.25 million compound in the La Crescenta foothills. The Red Hot Chili Pepper has always done well in real estate — last year, he sold a spicy oceanfront Malibu estate for $20 million to hedge fund manager Ross Laser, more than double what Balzary originally paid for the place — so he’s bolstering his real estate portfolio yet again, this time doling out an impressive $14 million for a 1.38-acre Mulholland Drive spread.

Though the house has a coveted 90210 zip code, it’s technically located in the steep mountains above L.A.’s Studio City neighborhood. Built way back in 1948, but completely renovated in the early 2000s by L.A. architect Aleks Istanbullu, the three-story architectural estate sold to Flea and his fashion designer wife Melody Ehsani for a nearly $2 million discount off the original $16.9 million ask. The sellers were former Paramont chief Adam Goodman and his wife Jessica, who acquired the formerly ranch-style estate in 2010 for $4.2 million from Emmy-winning animator Gábor Csupó of “Rugrats” fame. Before that, the property had been owned in the ’90s by Blue Note Records president Don Was.

Out of sight from the street and resting beyond a long gated driveway, the private residence is secluded amid resort-like grounds and surrounded by famous neighbors — directly across the street is Jack Nicholson’s longtime main residence; also nearby are Warren Beatty’s massive mansion and Lana Del Rey’s multimillion-dollar compound.

Trimmed in green steel and redwood, the heavily modified architectural structure includes seven bedrooms and eight baths in over 7,300 square feet of living space. There are skylights and hardwood floors throughout, and glitzy amenities include a state-of-the-art Bel Air Circuit movie theater with a 15-foot screen and soda machine, plus an underground wine room — climate-controlled, naturally.

The front door opens into a double-height living room ideal for entertaining, complete with walls of glass spilling out to an al fresco dining deck. Back inside, a set of steps leads past a library and up to a dining room, which in turn abuts a sleekly contemporary kitchen outfitted with luxe stainless appliances. Overlooking the living room is a mezzanine level holding a family room with its own cantilevered balcony; the home’s entire third level encompasses a sumptuous master suite with a sitting room, copper-faced fireplace, gym, steam shower, sauna and two rooftop decks offering up mountain views. A spa-like bath is equipped with a concrete soaking tub set beneath a big window.

Outside are lush, ultra-private grounds laden with custom amenities. A kitchen and wood-burning fireplace are great for outdoor catering, a firepit lounge area is perfect for s’mores, and a hepatica leaf-shaped pool boasts an “underwater viewing room.” Kids will love the trio of whimsical treehouses, which are connected by a suspension bridge. Adults may favor the putting green and the detached four-car garage. There are also guest quarters and an “art cabin,” per the listing.

Born in Australia but bred in New York, Flea remains best known as a founding member and bassist of L.A.-based rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose recordings have garnered them six Grammy awards and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The 59-year-old has also dabbled in acting, with roles in more than 20 films and TV shows including “Suburbia,” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “The Big Lebowski.” Flea cofounded the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a nonprofit music education organization for underprivileged children; in 2019, he published “Acid for the Children,” a memoir of his early life.

Josh Altman and Matt Altman of the Altman Brothers Team at Douglas Elliman were the listing agents; Sherri Rogers and Anthony Stellini of Compass repped the buyer.

Sony Latin Iberia Chief Afo Verde Talks Adele, Taking Risks & Cooking on ‘Latin Hitmaker’ Podcast

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Afo Verde has been chairman and CEO for Sony Music Latin Iberia since 2012, overseeing the music careers of more than 400 artists, including superstars like Ricky Martin, Shakira, Marc Anthony, Maluma, Ozuna, Romeo Santos, Carlos Vives, Camilo and Rauw Alejandro.

Explore Explore Afo Verde See latest videos, charts and news See latest videos, charts and news

But before being a music executive, Verde was a producer and musician — he played guitar with Argentine reggae band La Zimbabwe — who also considered becoming a professional soccer player and an architect and whose life changed after performing as an opening act at a UB40 concert.

Verde is featured in this week’s episode of “Latin Hitmaker,” the Billboard podcast that tells the stories of the visionary executives behind the artists and their hits and that features a new guest every Wednesday. “Latin Hitmaker” is featured as a “fresh find” in this week’s edition of Spotify’s music podcast hub theLINER.

Here are five nuggets from this very personal conversation with Verde, as well as a link to the full episode.

On performing alongside UB40 in Argentina in the 1990s: “It was a time of crazy inflation. So, having someone from Birmingham playing in Buenos Aires, was like out of Mars. But the guys were amazing. We played our soundcheck and they said: “Tonight, we want you to get up there and play with us.”

On the importance of studying architecture and marketing to his music career: “Studying gives you a method, consistency, goals and clear objectives. Art and culture tend to have a natural disorganization. Any method helps so that things don’t happen by accident, but instead are provoked to happen.”

On betting (and winning) on “risky” musical proposals: “I love it when an artist is fearless and walks where no one else treads. Those who take risks are those who go far.”

On staffing his company with many musicians: “Imagine an ice cream shop where no one can make ice cream. Obviously, we need a team of diverse capabilities. But the more people I have who come from music, the better for us. That’s one of our banners.”

What he’s looking forward to in the industry: “A return to normalcy and to live shows.”

Listen to the full episode here: