Asia gets a ‘Green Star’ in global sustainability benchmark

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Take a bow, Asia!urban-sprawl-sustainability-800x410 copy

Results from CBRE’s 2015 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) survey have been revealed, showing that building owners all over the world are increasingly shifting to enhanced, responsible property investment.

Asia performed particularly well in the survey, achieving a ‘Green Star’ sector status for the first time, surpassing Europe and North America.

The implementation of comprehensive environmental, social and governance programmes for the enhanced well-being of occupiers is widespread while adoption of so-called ‘green leases’ is becoming increasingly more popular.

CBRE found that 60 percent of investment portfolios participating in the 2015 survey include some form of a green lease clause in their standard contracts. This is particularly true of commercial leases for large multinational occupiers who are seeking to facilitate the achievement of corporate sustainability goals.

“Green leases are one of the foundation stones for an ongoing program to reduce energy and water consumption across the Bank’s footprint,” explained Justin Halewood, head of energy at environment group CRES at Standard Chartered Bank. “With an ever larger proportion of our portfolio being leased, collaboration with our landlords has become critical to success—green leases provide a platform for those joint efforts.”

More: Why Asian markets need to clean up and go green

Additionally, the health of well-being of occupiers is being paid increasingly more attention with 95 percent of participants in CBRE’s survey boasting specific employee policies related to health and safety, and 88 percent actively monitoring specific aspects of employees’ health, safety and wellbeing.

Asia’s building owners are certainly moving in the right direction as they seek to best equip themselves for the many sustainability-related risks and opportunities the region is exposed to.

The agriculture dependent population and coastal concentration of Asia predicts that the region will be subject to significant long term impacts from climate change. Additionally, increased urbanisation will see 28 of the world’s 37 megacities (cities with population over 10 million) be in Asia by 2025.

“With some countries such as Singapore, having already signalled to the market that green leases will become an expectation in the future—alongside the environmental pressures and social awareness around health and well-being rapidly growing in the region—we can expect Asia portfolios to continue embracing these emerging trends,” comments Tim Shen, sustainability director for Asia at CBRE.

More: How sustainability will drive Asian markets to succeed in a greener future

The report has certainly caught the zeitgeist at the moment for increasing environmental responsibilities. Environmental experts are currently calling for cities to proactively reduce their carbon footprint, reports The Guardian.

It’s though that expanded public transport facilities, energy saving buildings and improved waste management could save USD22 trillion by 2050 while avoiding the equivalent carbon pollution of India’s entire annual output of greenhouse gases – 3.7 gigatonnes, to be precise.

“There is now increasing evidence that emissions can decrease while economies continue to grow,” said Seth Schultz, a researcher for the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group who consulted on a report for the Global Commission on Economy and Climate.

“Becoming more sustainable and putting the world – specifically cities – on a low carbon trajectory is actually feasible and good economics,” he added.

 

Image is by Chris 73 and is used under a Creative Commons licence

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