The vast majority of UK office landlords do not have a sustainability strategy in place, according to new research.
The survey defined a sustainability strategy as several policies with an overall aim to reduce greenhouse emissions and/or promote environmentally friendly practices.
The study from infinitSpace, the creator of tech-enabled, white-label, flexible workspaces, and The Instant Group, the largest global marketplace for flexible workspace solutions, saw independent market research firm Censuswide survey 250 commercial landlords with offices in the UK.
It revealed that just 30% of UK office owners have developed a clear strategy to reduce overall greenhouse emissions or promote environmentally friendly practices. Two in five (42%) have one or more sustainability policies in place but no overall strategy, while a quarter (23%) are unaware of what sustainability policies are in place across their portfolio and 5% have no sustainability policies.
Despite low uptake, almost half (48%) of landlords recognise that having strong policies is essential to keeping occupancy rates high.
This was demonstrated by the correlation between landlords’ occupancy levels and sustainability strategies. Of those with an occupancy level greater than 70%, over half (56%) have sustainability strategies in place – almost double the average (30%). Comparatively, of those with an occupancy rate of less than 40%, almost half (46%) have no policies or are not aware of what they are.
Wybo Wijnbergen, CEO of infinitSpace, said:
“Sustainability is a key factor for businesses when selecting a workspace, and our research has clearly demonstrated that landlords which prioritise this will be rewarded with uptake in demand.
“But that is not the only reason landlords must have robust sustainability strategies in place. In the UK, the built environment is responsible for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions; so the real estate sector clearly has a key role to play in reducing emissions. infinitSpace and The Instant Group’s research highlights that this cannot be achieved without helping office landlords to make their portfolios more sustainable.”
Sam Pickering, Executive Director of Sustainability at Incendium (part of the Instant Group) said:
“It’s undeniable that the right strategic advisory and investment in sustainability practices are mutually beneficial for both asset owners and the planet. The correlation between established sustainability strategies and higher occupancy rates as revealed in this research is significantly compelling.
“As the evolving world of work and prioritisation of sustainability continue to disrupt the real estate industry, office landlords and investors are at a crossroads. The time is now for owners and landlords to commit to long-term sustainability strategies. Otherwise, achieving targets will become more challenging or even missed, and they will get left behind. It requires a fundamental mindset and behaviour shift that puts sustainability at the core of business agendas and operating models.”