How are Today’s Corporations Approaching Sustainability from an Organizational Perspective?

Cushman & Wakefield today issued its latest Occupier Survey report, which identifies the impact of sustainability on corporate real estate (CRE) policies. While the survey was conducted on a national scope, the results are consistent with local firms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The report is available at the following link:

US Occupier Survey: The Corporate View of Sustainability
“We are continuing to see our clients make sustainability a major focus of their projects, not necessarily to gain recognition for their project, but as the new norm for how their offices should operate and their employees should work. Designers are designing all projects with sustainability in mind, and new products on the market are made of sustainable materials. Newer, local energy codes have also started enforcing that sustainability be implemented into all projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” said Matt McGeath, Director of Project Management at Cushman & Wakefield of Texas, Inc.

In our latest client survey, Cushman & Wakefield conducted in-depth interviews with 27 real estate and sustainability directors at 23 leading US-based corporations occupying 690 million square feet of space to determine how being sustainable impacts their corporate real estate (CRE) policies. The responses provide insight into how CRE approaches sustainability and the effect it is having on real estate trends.

“There can be no doubt that a discussion about corporate social responsibility (CSR) takes place with almost every occupancy decision made today, “said. Eric Duchon, Sustainability Strategies Director at Cushman & Wakefield.

The results of the survey are grouped around four themes:

Sustainability’s influence on the corporation: Corporations remain intensely focused on sustainability and CSR. Ninety-one percent of respondents report that shareholders are pressuring then about their approach to sustainability. Energy usage has the most impact, with 63% reporting that it is the primary driver of their sustainability efforts.

The impact of sustainability on CRE policy: More progressive CRE organizations are leading the sustainability charge within their companies. Ninety-five percent of respondents have or are planning a sustainability policy that governs CRE and 65% evaluate the sustainability of new sites. To increase transparency, 100% of respondents report to CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, a global organization that works with shareholders to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainability’s impact on leasing: Interest in sustainability is strongest in prime markets and “gateway cities”, where employees place a greater emphasis on the corporation’s approach to CSR. Most lease negotiations involving large corporate occupiers, involve a discussion around sustainability and CSR obligations. Seventy-four percent of respondents indicated sustainable buildings have a value differential resulting in reduced occupancy and operation costs. However, only 39% are willing to pay a sustainability premium.

The occupier and owner viewpoint: Occupiers and owners appear to be facing similar challenges. Demand for sustainable properties from stakeholders on both is strong, leading to the development of internal policies to address sustainability in their organizations.

With the mission “to create, educate, and promote sustainable value and efficient triple-bottom-line results through innovation, thought leadership, and best practices for our employees, our clients, and the real estate industry,” C&W’s Global Sustainability platform is expanding our resources and knowledge base across the globe.