As Real Estate becomes more data driven and complex, it will become increasingly important for the sector to get to grips with the ethical challenges that this presents.

We will increasingly have to address how we collect, manage and use data in the most ethical way for our businesses and society.

The RED Foundation has established a steering group of leading experts and 6 principles that we are asking companies to sign up to demonstrate that they are working towards.


Find out more about the Data Ethics Steering Group here.

Find out more about the RED Foundation Data Ethics activity and FAQ's here.

RED Foundation

Data Ethics Principles

Data Ethics is a fast moving and dynamic topic, however there are some simple principles that we are encouraging all organisations to work towards and build into their thinking.


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RED Foundation Data Ethics Principles


Six high level principles that we would encourage all real estate companies to work towards. Demonstrate to staff, clients and society that you are doing so by signing the form below. 

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1. Accountable

For the data collected and used. This includes taking responsibility for using the data in an appropriate and secure way.

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2. Transparent

About what is collected and why. Whilst this cannot be expected for every data point, at a minimum a general data policy should be published for each building and company explaining what is collected and why.


3. Proportionate

Not only should data be collected within legal and technical requirements, but is also proportionate to the benefit and the expectations of wider society

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4. Confidential & Private

All activity with data should at all times consider confidentiality and protect privacy; both within necessary legal requirements, but also according to the expectations of wider society.

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5. Lawful

All data should only be used within all relevant local and international laws and regulations.

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6. Secure

Security principles should be built in ‘by design’ into all applications and appropriate steps should be taken to keep data secure.

Demonstrate that your organisation is working towards these data ethics principles

On behalf of your organisation, please select the following:

Thanks for supporting!


RED Foundation Data Ethics Steering Group

The RED Foundation Data Ethics steering group, is made up of experts from across all corners of the sector with the purpose of raising the topic of data ethics up the sector’s agenda. It will:

  • Provide a credible voice for data ethics in real estate

  • Own and promote the RED Foundation Data Ethics principles across the real estate sector 

  • Act as a 'Data Ethics' sounding board for other activity across the RED Foundation

  • Produce regular 'RED Foundation Data Ethics' updates on market activity or specific topics 

  • Be responsible for external Data Ethics proposals to be carried out on behalf of the RED Foundation



Are these Data Ethics standards?

No. These are not standards, they are simply 6 principles that we believe all companies working in the real estate sector should work towards. They will not solve all of the problems, but are a good first step to build the ethical use of data into your thinking at either a building or business level.

What does signing up to support these mean?

Real Estate hasn't always been good at getting on the front foot with big challenges that have emerged, we are trying to change that when it comes to data ethics. Companies and organisations supporting these principles simply shows that they recognise that the ethical use of data is and will become increasingly important and that they will try to build the principles into their thinking. How they do that is up to them.

Do you vet the companies that sign up to support?

No. Signing up to support the principles is simply a public declaration. It is open to all companies and organisations and the requirement to sign up a is nothing more than wanting to make a public declaration that data ethics are important and that the principles will be built into day to day thinking. We ask companies to declare their support for three primary reasons: - Firstly to encourage them to build the principles into their thinking. - Secondly to show that the sector is on the front foot with this important and growing topic - To encourage other companies and organisations to also sign up and support them

Do members of the Industry bodies that support the RED Foundation have to work towards these?

No. The organisations that support the Real Estate Data Foundation recognise that the role of data is important and in some situations there are benefits from having a cross sector space to address challenges that do, or will exist. Data Ethics is one of these challenges, and whilst supporting organisations are asked to promote the topic and the principles to their members so that they are aware of it, how they choose to build this in to their membership or standards, if at all, is entirely up to them. There is no explicit or implicit suggestion that members of those organisations do or must work towards them.

What happens if I don't follow these principles?

The RED Foundation does not specify how the principles should be worked towards or adopted, nor do we carry out any checks on companies that they do / will build them into their thinking and there is no penalty if they do not. Building the principles into a business's thinking does not necessarily mean that they deal with everything ethically as it is a much larger and complex subject than the principles alone. There is potential reputational damage to companies who suggest that they are working towards the principles but are clearly not. Data ethics is often not considered, so arguably this would be more damaging than not supporting in the first place as they are acknowledging that they understand it is an issue. The RED Foundation does reserve the right to restrict companies from signing up or promoting that they are signed up if approproiate, but this is not our intention.

Why have you joined the IESC (International Ethics Standards Coalition)

We are specifically interested in Data Ethics, but we see this as really the application of more general ethical behaviour to data. We want to promote the principles of the IESC to all organisations and make sure that the thinking is extended to the data agenda.

If I sign up to the data ethical principles, does that mean I have all areas of data ethics covered?

No, absolutely not. Data ethics is a large, complex and subjective topic that is changing all the time and supporting the principles does not mean that everything is covered. However, the principles do help comapnies to take the first step in the right direction. Signing up to support the data ethics principles is simply a public declaration that the organisation believes data ethics is an important topic and that they will work towards the principles. There is no testing or checking of this by the RED Foundation, it is a declaration that any organisation can make.

Where can I find out more?

You can find more resources in the RED Foundation resource library.

How do we show that we are supporting the data ethical principles?

You are welcome to share this with whoever you want to and a 'badge' for companies to use will be created in the coming weeks.

RED Foundation Data Ethics FAQ's