The Business Case: Capturing the Value of Sustainability

In 2013, the World GBC launched “The Business Case for Green Buildings” report which was a first to attempt to provide definitive evidence of the financial benefit of green buildings. Since then, there have been significant changes in external factors and the UK-GBC has identified further work on the business case as crucial to creating change in the industry and developing a more sustainable built environment.

This project focuses on a wider business case for sustainability. Rather than just a simple calculation for the return on investment for a particular sustainability initiative such as an LED lighting upgrade, this project focuses on the challenge that businesses face in trying to identify the value their businesses derive from their sustainability initiatives. Quantifying value depends on identifying the relevant value drivers within a business. 

A value driver is any variable or factor specific to a business or industry, that can be influenced, measured, managed and controlled. In doing so, it affects the value of the company by one or more of the following: reducing risk, increasing profitability, leading to growth. Examples of value drivers range from brand and reputation through to corporate culture.

Purpose and Objectives 

The purpose of the project is to provide businesses operating in the built environment with a way of measuring the value that sustainability creates. 

The project is seeking to:

  1. Provide an evidence base which can be used to justify taking action on sustainability;
  2. Develop the industry’s understanding of different commercial drivers which underpin corporate sustainability strategies;
  3. Encourage more organisations to adopt a common approach to identifying key value drivers of sustainability for their business and to report on these publicly;
  4. Build corporate awareness of, and confidence in, the commercial value associated with a strong approach to sustainability and thereby build the ‘business case’ for stretching ambitions further; and
  5. Drive the sustainability ambitions of built environment professionals and ultimately lead to higher standards of sustainability across the sector.

The focus will be on a wide range of organisational value drivers and wherever possible, seek to quantify these. Examples of value drivers include:

  • Cost savings
  • Brand and reputation
  • Talent recruitment and retention
  • Customer attraction and satisfaction

A workshop will be held in September with representative samples of UK-GBC members from marketing and communications, HR, customer service and finance backgrounds to identify metrics and methodologies. 

For more information on this project and to take part in the workshop please contact

With thanks to: