Commercial real estate failing to meet sustainability standards 0

Sustainable real estateThere is an urgent need for more action and greater leadership in tackling sustainability requirements in commercial real estate. Just a handful of large companies are meeting sustainability challenges, according to Bilfinger GVA’s sixth Green to Gold survey on the risks of rising sustainability pressures and market demands, with the progress being made not as strong as expected. Although 84 percent of respondents acknowledged that they have a sustainability strategy in place, there are still huge gaps that need to be filled in order to meet appropriate standards. Only 50 percent admitted to assessing operational energy efficiency, whilst 63 percent are not assigning specific figures for the costs or benefits of sustainability issues in investment appraisal calculations. Added to this, 43 percent are yet to assess their portfolio’s risk profile with regards to Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards. This means the industry now finds itself with more to achieve in significantly less time.

“Our findings don’t show the signals of progress that we would expect considering the broader global trends,” said Alastair Mant, Director and head of Sustainability at Bilfinger GVA.

“We now find ourselves with more to achieve in less time. The Paris climate agreement and the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals have focussed the attention of political and business leaders. Business now needs to do more. A handful of large companies leading in the field of sustainability is not nearly enough. We need a collective industry response requiring true leadership to deliver transformational change.”

More positively, 71 percent of respondents saw benefits in engaging with occupiers, 55 percent plan to create asset level carbon or energy reduction plans, and 52 percent are looking to train staff on the risks and opportunities. In addition, 48 percent are seeking to outperform current building and planning regulatory requirements, 23 percent are striving to set service delivery standards for supply chain and 16 percent are seeking to set science-based emission reduction targets.

Caroline Hill, Head of Sustainability at Land Securities said: “At Land Securities we were pleased that the Paris climate agreement recognised the role businesses have to play in tackling climate change. Since Paris, we have responded positively, setting a new and ambitious long term science-based carbon reduction target across our portfolio; and committing to 100% renewable electricity provision.

“We believe this shows the industry what can be done and what needs to be done to respond to this key challenge.”

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