Introducing CO’s IMPACT Series


A recession can bring out the worst in us. As the ink bleeds redder, the best laid plans of even the most-efficiently run companies can suddenly, shockingly reverse course.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that America is headed into recession this year. While some prognosticators made the utterly ludicrous prediction late last fall that there was a “100 percent chance” of a recession in the next year, even the less histrionic predictions agree that there will likely be a slowdown in 2023.

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Which leaves us with a fraught question: What will these companies do about the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) and the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs that were touted so earnestly ever since 2020? Will they be the first item to be cut?

This was at the top of our mind as we went into 2023, and this is a question that Anna Staropoli asked in her story coming out this week in Commercial Observer.

Some companies recognize that corporate citizenship, like citizenship in general, comes with its share of duties and obligations, even during the downturns. (And this is heartening.) Others are more focused on bottom lines and their commitments proved shallower. (This is less encouraging.)

Not everybody agrees on solutions, or even the nature of the problems. Elon Musk, for example, called ESG “a scam.” But, whatever else you want to say about Musk, it’s not as though the guy who started the electric car revolution doesn’t take the problem of carbon emissions seriously.

We still believe in the principles of citizenship, corporate and otherwise. And it’s why we’re launching our new IMPACT series.

During the months of February, March, April and June we will be running stories on our homepage in tandem with Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Earth Day and Pride Month.

Some of this is a celebration of the people who have stayed steely in their pursuit of equity and justice. And some of it will be looking through a critical lens at the challenges that remain.

Stay tuned for more on what we at CO feel is a vital issue for real estate, and beyond.


Max Gross, Editor-in-Chief, and Cathy Cunningham, Deputy Editor and Finance Editor