Integrating sustainability into business practices

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Tom Ansell
Development and Asset Strategy, UK

Real estate executives worldwide increasingly understand the importance of sustainable and green issues in our industry.  The establishment of sustainability departments in large property consultancies has gained traction since 2005.   Jones Lang LaSalle took a strong position with its acquisition of Upstream, the UK’s leading sustainability consultancy, in 2007, and ECD, a recognized Canadian firm, in 2008. Other companies have taken a more organic route, but the ongoing challenge remains the same: how to fully  integrate the growing body of energy and sustainability expertise in these teams into the wider firm..  As knowledge and skill sets expand within the core group of sustainability professionals, consistent and clear communication with the larger company is needed to ensure leading-edge client service delivery—not to mention the extra fee opportunity.

A new report by Maira Petrini and Marlei Pozzebon in the Brazilian Administrative Review offers an insight and a direction but does not offer a practical path. Entitled  “Integrating Sustainability into Business Practices: Learning from Brazilian Firms,” the report can be summarised by the Corporate View, Organisational Structure and Organisational Mechanisms which are all interlinked and considered fundamental to the process of sustainability integration in to firms.

Sustainability strategies allow firms to reduce costs and/or make money.  There is potential in almost every department to be able to enhance and broaden client service through integrating sustainability.  These benefits will only be established through a greater understanding of the sustainability issues, mechanisms and legislation, the functions of the departments and the clients needs and targets.

 

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