Despite a weak economy, sustainability continues to be a "critical" business issue to 70% of respondents in a recent worldwide survey of corporate real estate executives. Nearly three-quarters (74%) say they are willing to pay more to retrofit owned space, although they remained focused on cost savings and are reluctant to pay more rent for leased "green" space.
These are among the findings in the third annual "Perspectives on Sustainability" survey conducted by CoreNet Global, a network of real estate professionals and Jones Lange LaSalle, a financial and professional services firm.
Throughout the survey, respondents indicated the growing importance of green factors in management decisions and policies. For example, the number of respondents willing to pay a premium to retrofit owned space climbed from 53% in 2008 to 74% this year.
60% say they are adopting workplace strategies to meet sustainability goals while reducing overall occupancy costs.
89% of respondents consider sustainability criteria in their location decisions
21% would pay more rent for sustainable space if offset by lower operating costs, while 8% expect to pay less and 34% expect to pay the same.
37% said energy cost was their most important portfolio metric, while 29% called employee health and productivity most important.
Sustainability is not only a corporate issue, but a professional and personal one as well, the survey found. Respondents indicated that they are more highly involved in sustainability activities across the board. Providing sustainability performance data topped the rankings with 45% of respondents "highly involved," followed by funding sustainability-oriented investment (35%), and employee communication and feedback (30%).
"The survey results clearly demonstrate that sustainability as an issue is here to stay," the report concludes, "but companies are increasingly aware of the commercial realities. It is no longer enough to simply be "green"; organizations want to see the benefits to the bottom line."