SURVEY – 2 December, 2009: Sustainability is a major issue for the property industry but few truly understand the impact of potential changes to government policy, according to a recent survey.

Delegates surveyed at the Australian Property Institute and the Australian Direct Property Investment Association conference in Sydney last month said that sustainability is a major issue but few truly understand the impact of potential changes to government policy.

In survey results released today, of around 120 industry participants at the Profitable Sustainability in Property conference[see our coverage ] highlights were:

  • 100 per cent of respondents said sustainability was a major issue for the property industry
  • 93 per cent believed the issue of higher costs and taxes as a result of carbon emissions legislation was most important; increasing demand for sustainable investments from institutional investors, second in important and mandatory reporting through NABERS third
  • 90 per cent believe that those within the industry only have a limited – or no – understanding of the impact of potential changes to carbon emission laws.  Comments from attendees included that it was very difficult to find an appropriate level of information and that the industry needs clarity of proposed legislation.
  • 93 per cent of respondents believe that property owners and tenants can reduce their carbon footprint by improving staff awareness
  • 81 per cent believed this could be achieved by upgrading lighting.

Comments from attendees included:

  • “Developers need more financial incentives to go beyond standard measures.  For example, make land tax exemptions for green (or exceptionally green) properties.
  • There was a need for “education rather than regulation”
  • And a need for “greater incentives especially around renewable energy”.

ADPIA Vice President Adam Murchie said: “As an industry it is imperative that we engage with the right stakeholders to make meaningful progress on issues of sustainability.

“If we work together to identify the most important issues, then we can deliver beneficial outcomes to investors, developers and managers.  Importantly, the outcomes need to be seen as being value drivers, rather than as just another cost.”

API’s National Sustainability Committee Chair, Richard Bowman said the API and ADPIA would continue to work together to identify and address issues of importance to their members.

The conference was the first joint initiative by API and ADPIA.