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Sustainability still an issue for business despite the downturn


31 Aug 2009


Sustainable Dev.

RICS Global Property Sustainability Survey, Q2 2009

Date: 31 August 2009

Sustainability remains high on the agenda despite the worsening economic climate, according to the latest global commercial property sustainability survey, released by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).

Over 40 percent of all real estate professionals interviewed by this independent professional body believed that sustainability is a more important issue for their clients now than it was this time last year, whilst around the same amount felt it was just as important. Less than a tenth of those responding felt that it was less of an issue for their clients.

With more than 380 respondents worldwide, this quarterly survey highlights the way sustainability is perceived in the commercial sector, with some interesting trends that vary considerably from one country to another.

In Germany, sustainability seems to gains weight in the real estate sector, as 38 percent of property professionals questioned considered this issue as very important and 25 percent viewed it as important. In particular, energy supply/efficiency and over consumption of natural resources were seen as the most relevant issues by a vast majority of respondents (25 percent and 21 percent respectively).

In the UK, 33 percent of property professionals questioned saw sustainability as important, especially with regards to energy and transport issues, whilst only 17% viewed it as unimportant.

Respondents in Spain also showed concern over energy efficiency in the built environment but around 33 per cent of the overall respondents did not consider sustainability as a key factor for their clients.

The most negative responses came from Russia, UAE and Japan, where most surveyors reported clients were not interested in this topic.

The survey reveals that globally business’s bottom line is the main driver to promote sustainability within firms, followed by legal compliance, clients demand and marketing purposes, whilst any respondent felt that ethical or moral issues had anything to do with a client’s decision to focus on sustainability. In the case of Germany, half of real estate professionals questioned suggested that clients demand was the most significant driver for their clients.

When questioned on whether or not companies would be prepared to pay a premium for a green building, on average the government departments were ready to pay a maximum premium of around 9.6%, oil companies, 9.2%, while occupiers would be willing to pay 7.2% and investors only 6.7% premium.
In Russia governments would barely willing to pay anything over and above the market value for a sustainable building. Oil companies would pay a 6% and investors and occupiers less than 5%. .

Commenting, Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist said:

‘’Sustainability clearly remains a major issue for most organisations according to this survey despite the depth of the downturn. However it is also clear that for many, the principal driver for change is business bottom line. Businesses adopting ‘green’ initiatives generally expect them to offer a payback in terms of cost savings over the medium term’’.


Notes for editors:

About RICS
RICS is the world’s leading qualification when it comes to professional standards in land, property and construction.

In a world where more and more people, governments, banks and commercial organisations demand greater certainty of professional standards and ethics, attaining RICS status is the recognised mark of property professionalism.

Over 100 000 property professionals working in the major established and emerging economies of the world have already recognised the importance of securing RICS status by becoming members.

RICS is an independent professional body originally established in the UK by Royal Charter. Since 1868, RICS has been committed to setting and upholding the highest standards of excellence and integrity – providing impartial, authoritative advice on key issues affecting businesses and society. RICS is a regulator of both its individual members and firms enabling it to maintain the highest standards and providing the basis for unparalleled client confidence in the sector.

For more information:

Laura Lindberg
Media Relations Manager
RICS Europe
T +32 (0)2 739 42 27
F +32 (0)2 742 97 48


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