For many years, the argument against green strategies was that they didn't pay back, but against the backdrop of Verizon's first green bond issue, which was eight times oversubscribed and the company's most popular security ever sold, it is clear that this is changing.
There is increasing evidence that green buildings make better investments. The World Green Building Council summairsed responses to a recent survey, which found that those engaging in sustainable building technologies benefitted from:
- Reductions in energy consumption, greenhouse gas emission and air pollutants
- Improvements to occupier wellbeing, satisfaction and productivity
- Strong financial returns for companies owning or occupying green buildings
The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing analysed the returns from nearly 11,000 mutual funds from 2014 to 2018, which found sustainable funds experienced a 20 per cent lower downside deviation to traditional funds.
As we move towards an age of greater responsibility - alongside some of the most significant, life changing advances in technology - we would all agree that a sustainable future requires more longer-term thinking, particularly from business leaders.
As voting populations become more vocal, central governments have no choice but to respond to those that put them in power and focus on long-term goals and outcomes. Just as governments must think beyond the change deemed possible in four or five years of elected office, business leaders must try to move away from the ubiquitous short-term investment models. Technological advances can no longer come at the expense of environmental or social impact.
In terms of the real estate industry, we should consider data from the World Economic Forum, which shows that buildings consume around 41 per cent of the world's energy and contribute over 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Estimates suggest these emissions will grow a further 56 per cent by 2030.
- In 2015 BNP Paribas became an early adopter of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Standards, which are aimed at "eradicating poverty in equality and justice and to protect the planet to get human beings to live in peace and prosperity by 2030, argues BNP Paribas Real Estate UK CEO Andy Martin. In practice, this has led to a 25 per cent reduction in carbon emissions across their estate portfolio in the last ten years. It also means they can target carbon neutrality without offsets in the core business premises by 2030.
- Investing in greener buildings and offices delivers significant financial, environmental and wellbeing
returns, concludes BNP Paribas Real Estate UK CEO Andy Martin