24 October 2013 — Translating sustainability practice for business transactions, services and operations into meaningful and accurate financial terms can be difficult, according to a new report from global real estate professional services company Jones Lang LaSalle.
Chief executive Colin Dyer said in the JLL 2012 sustainability report, Moving towards more sustainable enterprise, that it becomes harder to quantify the positive impact of his company’s sustainability efforts due to the increasingly integrated but still decentralised nature of the business.
On the plus side, however, he said significant returns were to be made in areas such as brand differentiation, external recognition, business referrals and lower costs due to reduced litigation and ethical lapses.
“Sustainability presents an opportunity to differentiate us from competitors by providing innovative services and maintaining credibility by implementing the same best practices for ourselves,” he said.
But he conceded that in the few years since the company had embraced sustainability, embedding and formalising these practices across all transactions, services and operations had not yet been deeply understood or applied by all of its 50,000 employees.
Dyer said extensive change management was required, noting the firm had made solid progress in laying the foundation for sustainability leadership.
The report outlines the practices JLL has implemented, highlighting achievements in the areas of energy and resources; green buildings; its offices around the world; client service excellence; community; well-being of its staff; supply chains, and partnerships.
It achieved 15 of 17 targets set with industry-leading green building accreditation for its professionals last year.
It met 89 per cent of its target for the incorporation of green building/fit-out principles or certification into its 30 corporate and partially achieved best-in-class occupancy strategies.
Dyer said one of the challenges for the firm was the fact that the company’s offices occupied leased space so nearly a third of its emissions were estimated.
He said business travel was one of the most challenging areas to reconcile with business objectives, including maintaining active relationships with clients.
Energy consumption at JLL corporate offices last year accounted for 53 per cent of total emissions, while business travel accounted for 27 per cent and company-owned vehicles, 20 per cent.
Highlights and achievements detailed in the 2012 report include:
- Certification of 59 green buildings, including 31 to LEED (US and world) standards and 26 to Green Globes (Canada) standards.
- A 10 per cent rise in Energy and Sustainability (ESS) clients and a 22 per cent increase in sustainability professionals in its team, mostly due to growth in Asia and the Pacific.
- A reduction of 4 per cent on a building emissions per employee basis from 2011 to 2012
- A reduction of 913,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide for JLL US clients, equivalent to removing about 190,000 cars annually from the road and saving $US176 million, up from $US105 million in 2011.
- 15 of the company’s offices had green building/fit-out certifications in the year while 89 offices incorporated green principles without certification.
- Advice to clients enabled better sustainability performance in 1351 buildings, a 28 per cent increase from 2011
- 87 Green star accreditation for clients buildings in Australia (down from 94 in 2011), but well up from 10 in 2010
- Recorded charitable contributions of $US3.8 million
- Partnered with Ethisphere Institute to do a survey for more than 8,000 suppliers globally to rate ethical character and quality, ultimately improving supply chain transparency.
- Set an energy and greenhouse gas emissions target for its own global portfolio by committing to a 10 per cent reduction by end of 2017 against the base year, 2012.