Sustainable Property Priorities for 2014 – Online Poll Results
In our November 2013 poll we asked you to tell us which sustainable property priorities you had identified for your organisation in 2014. The poll's final result shows energy savings in buildings to be by far the most popular issue you planned to tackle.
Note: Poll based on 77 votes cast between November 2013 and March 2014
With almost one-third of participants' votes, energy savings in buildings clearly tops the sustainable property agenda for 2014. Energy conservation was mainly introduced through legislation in commercial real estate after the oil price shock hit the advanced economies in the early 1970s; with escalating energy costs ever since and, more recently, increasingly stringent carbon emissions reduction obligations in many countries, it has continued to be a primary area of concern. For many companies around the world however, achieving and maintaining energy savings represents an uphill battle as rising energy tariffs frequently cancel out energy consumption savings (kWh) achieved through no and low-cost initiatives.
The next three priorities received similar attention, although each focuses on a very different sustainability aspect. Renewable energy installations can be seen in the light of organisations needing to find additional energy cost savings that are still supported by attractive subsidy schemes, such as the Feed-in-Tariffs typically available in European countries. Such installations also contribute to improved building energy performance ratings and are a component of green building certification schemes. Sustainable procurement has been gaining growing attention from investors and tenants as sustainability scrutiny, which started on the energy supply-side, is now being systematically extended to other types of procurement and also the sustainability credentials of supplier companies and contractors. More difficult to manage and measure, employee wellbeing is being increasingly identified by organisations as a key contributor to staff and overall business productivity. Testimony to this trend is the recently announced study by the World Green Building Council on the connection between green buildings, occupier wellbeing and productivity. JLL is a sponsor and active contributor to this research effort and the results of the study will be announced in the second half of this year.With 10% of your votes is community engagement which is indicative of the importance that many organisations now attach to stronger links with the immediate community and wider society. Many companies have established community commitment programmes and report their charitable contributions, employee volunteering days or in-kind contributions to major local events or aided relief efforts across the globe.
Towards the bottom of your concerns for this year are carbon data management, green construction and green fit-out. A probable reason for this 'deprioritisation' is that issues such as carbon data management and accounting have become embedded in mainstream management activity. Likewise, green construction, at least for larger assets and institutional investment grade projects, has become an accepted approach and needs less prioritised attention. Moreover, the green building certifications schemes around the world linked to construction and fit-out (LEED, BREEAM, HQE, Green Star, etc.) have become a standard feature for many government buildings and an integral element of Grade-A rated buildings.
Propping up the poll is the integrated reporting of an organisation's strategy, governance and financial performance with the social, environmental and economic context in which it operates. We have been covering this topic in the Global Sustainability Perspective since 2011 and JLL itself is part of the International Integrated Reporting Council. A framework of principles was published at the end of last year, however progress in its application by companies and a rise up the priority list will certainly take more time.