Skip to content

News & opinion

17 DEC 2020

Welcoming new RICS President Kathleen Fontana

In November, we welcomed Kathleen Fontana as the new President of RICS.

Following the President’s inauguration, RICS professionals from around the world took part in a virtual discussion to deliberate and hear from Kathleen on the key built and natural environment issues we will face in 2021

The top 5 priorities of the new President are building back better, data and technology, professionalism, the future of the workplace, and diversity and inclusion.


Build back better

Chartered surveyors will become sought-after expert advisers on climate action. The profession will provide the facts to inform decisions and build confidence in society’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

In 2021 and beyond, we will aim towards:

  • understanding the needs of our markets and stakeholders in support of effective action on climate change
  • setting out how these relate to the fundamental roles of expert measurement and ethical approaches to data
  • fostering market confidence in climate action, addressing the risks and encouraging investment in the green economy.


Data and technology

The past couple of decades have seen widespread digitisation of the built environment. This can help better meet clients’ needs and reduce costs, but may also threaten the role of surveyors in some traditional business areas.

RICS will support the agenda of responsible digitisation by:

  • ensuring that the profession continues to be relevant and encourage market confidence
  • positioning ourselves as a bridge between our profession and the tech sector
  • supporting standards adoption, thought leadership and market insight to ensure a consistent and ethical approach to data and governance.



Our Royal Charter requires the Institution to advance the profession, enable its acquisition of essential knowledge, and maintain and promote its usefulness for the public advantage.

We will seek to explore and identify:

  • what modern-day professionalism means and how it is likely to evolve
  • how we can ensure that the profession is equipped with the skills, competencies and behaviours to remain relevant and sustainable
  • what we can do collectively to foster public confidence in the profession as a custodian of the built and natural environment.


Future of the workplace

Our vision is to ensure that workplaces can face their present challenges and are fit for future generations.

Particular attention will be directed to understanding:

  • how commercial property influences and affects those who work, play and live there
  • the impact of digitisation and remote or other new ways of working on the future of the workplace
  • the workplace’s contribution to productivity, economic growth and the success of communities and societies.


Diversity and inclusion

Our profession can only work to the public advantage if we reflect the needs and experiences of the diverse societies we serve. This is the only way we will successfully address the challenges we face in the built and natural environment, which are becoming ever more complex, global and interconnected.

We want to see an inclusive profession, where every individual:

  • has an equal opportunity to add their unique perspective
  • can develop effectively and fulfil their potential
  • is enabled to succeed to the fullest extent of their ambition.


Learn more with the following resources.

Listen to our podcast series to learn more, including RICS Chief Executive Seam Tompkins in conversation with RICS President Kath Fontana as she sets out priorities for her term.

RICS President Kathleen Fontana's priorities for 2021