NEWS: Capturing the value of sustainability report launches to industry

On Thursday (18 Jan), UKGBC members gathered at a packed-out event in Central London for the launch of a new report looking at how sustainable business practices contribute to business value.
Capturing the Value

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January 18, 2018

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Capturing the value of sustainability: identifying the links between sustainability and business value was developed in collaboration with UKGBC members and is sponsored by Argent, Barratt Developments, The Berkeley Group, JLL and The Crown Estate.

The launch event featured a keynote speech from David Partridge, Chair of the Board of Trustees at UKGBC and Managing Partner at Argent as well as insights from UKGBC Sustainability Advisor, Natalia Ford.

UKGBC’s head of industry engagement, Alastair Mant, chaired a panel discussion looking at a range of perspectives on the link between sustainability and business value. Panellists included:

  • Claudine Blamey, Head of Sustainability and Stewardship, The Crown Estate
  • James Gregory, Chief Financial Officer, JLL UK
  • David Partridge, Managing Director Argent, and Chair of UKGBC
  • Karl Whiteman, Executive Director, The Berkeley Group and Managing Director of Berkeley Homes (East and West Thames)

The panel discussed a range of value drivers that are impacted by sustainable business activities, with Karl Whiteman kicking off the discussion by highlighting the importance of understanding which value drivers are most important to a business and emphasising how this can vary significantly between organisations.

UKGBC’s audience poll showed that 47% of attendees rated brand and reputation as the value driver that is most impacted by sustainable business activities.

On the subject of how sustainability contributes to brand value, Claudine Blamey noted the importance of taking a holistic approach as a purpose-driven organisation, “you can’t create a brilliant place that isn’t energy efficient, that doesn’t have a great community around it…”. David Partridge agreed, stating that responsible development is about getting beyond the ‘sustainability tag’ and embedding sustainability into business-as-usual.

The audience poll showed that 45% of attendees found board and senior management to be the most demanding regarding the demonstration of business value.

James Gregory discussed how sustainability features in the procurement process, noting how 60% of request for proposals (RFPs) contain sustainability as a critical point that needs to be covered. He also highlighted its value in talent attraction and retention, “I was interviewing graduates yesterday – they get sustainability and it’s important to them”.

The group agreed on the importance of widening this discussion beyond sustainability professionals to include c-suite professionals from across business functions. Alastair Mant finished with a call to action to engage senior stakeholders and work towards packing out another room with non-sustainability professionals to discuss the value that sustainability brings to them.

Commenting on the report, Steven Kellett, Sustainability Manager at Argent said:

“Argent are intent on being a responsible developer and believe that there’s a clear link between sustainability and business value. We are constantly striving to understand how best to capture the positive impact of everything we do, so we are delighted to have collaborated with the UKGBC on this report. We think that this report can help the industry in becoming more sophisticated in quantifying and understanding the benefit of sustainable business practices and ultimately aid in decision making to lead to a better built environment.”

Sarah Pratt, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Barratt Developments plc said:

“We are proud to have contributed to the research and welcome the findings as a valuable contribution to supporting businesses in the built environment sector. We are committed to building excellence through placemaking design, safety, innovation, resource efficiency and responsible sourcing, and we hope this report will help our teams and others in the industry make the connections to help attract talent and build sustainable businesses.”

Karl Whiteman Executive Director at The Berkeley Group said:

“Through Our Vision, the Berkeley Group’s goal is to be world-class in the area of sustainability, both in terms of running our business efficiently and considerately, and by developing sustainable places that enable communities to thrive. The Berkeley Group has long recognised that integrating sustainability into our strategy is good for business and welcomes UKGBC’s report which encourages companies to demonstrate the link between sustainability and business value.”

James Gregory, JLL UK CFO said:

“As a Finance Director I appreciate the importance of metrics and being able to demonstrate business value, in this case generated from sustainability. At JLL, we have been tracking the positive impact that sustainability has had on our revenue, bottom line and employee engagement. This has helped to achieve greater buy-in from within our business and helped us focus on what how we better work with our clients. We believe that the industry will be able to use the excellent guidance in the UKGBC’s report to successfully demonstrate value generated by sustainability.”

Alan Meakin, Investment Strategy Manger at The Crown Estate said:

“We believe that understanding and demonstrating impacts on environment and society, both positive and negative, is essential for informed decision-making and effective risk management. With this report, UKGBC is making a welcomed contribution to the global understanding of the links between sustainability and business value. We are pleased to have helped to shape the research and have contributed to the report.”

UKGBC would like to thank Arup for providing the venue for this event.

If you’re interested in hearing more about capturing the value of sustainability, UKGBC is hosting a roundtable in Birmingham on 26 January to discuss the report, find out more here.

If you’d like to find out more about UKGBC’s work on the business case for sustainability, please contact Natalia Ford.

With thanks to the sponsors:

  • Argent
  • barratt_developments_plc
  • berkeley_group
  • jll
  • the_crown_estate