Sustainability remains on biz agenda: Survey
The attempt to raise profitability remains the key factor driving the interest in sustainable buildings globally; but the US is still not placing as much importance on the issue as other markets, according to the latest Global Property Sustainability Survey, released by RICS.
Overall the majority of surveyors believe their clients place a level of importance on sustainability issues, with only 7 percent of respondents seeing it as not important. Germany, Brazil and China place the greatest importance on sustainability; however it is respondents in the US, which were the least positive, with 13 percent of respondents seeing environmental issues as not important at all, whilst only 9 percent saw it as very important.
With respect to India, on a scale of 1 to 5, (1=not important and 5 =very important), approx 31% respondents rated sustainability as being very important (level 5) to their clients, while another 54% placed the importance of sustainability at 3 or 4 level. This clearly demonstrates the increasing awareness and demand for sustainability in India, much at par with other parts of the world.
Surprisingly India (8% respondents) was also amongst the cities other countries such as Russia (22% respondents), UAE (21% respondents) and Spain (9% respondents) where sustainability was not as important to their clients. However in these instances as well, the negative responses were outweighed by those placing greater importance on the issues.
In terms of the prime reason driving clients sustainability agenda, business bottom line was the most important highlighted response in all countries apart from Germany, Russia and India. Interestingly legal compliance was cited as the prime reason highlighted by a majority (24% respondents) in India, followed by business bottom line (20% respondents), ethical / moral reasons (18% respondents), client demand (15% respondents), marketing purpose (12% respondents), competitive advantage (6%) and the natural environment (6%)
"Considering the depth of the current downturn it is encouraging to see that so many countries are still placing a level of importance on sustainability. The fact that this is being driven by clients wanting to improve their bottom line shows that the economic argument for energy efficiency and green buildings may be growing in strength. It is worrying that some countries still seem slightly indifferent to the issues, and particularly with the Copenhagen summit on climate change coming up next month, it is a concern that the US still does not appear as on board as other major economies," said Ursula Hartenberger, Global Head of Sustainability Policy at RICS.
“This survey indicates that there is indeed a lot more demand for sustainability in India than is generally perceived; however the demand seems to be driven primarily as a result of legal compliance requirements, unlike in majority of other countries. There is a need to build awareness amongst the consumers, architects and developers about the importance and benefits of sustainable practices in the real sense, rather than being considered as a mere checklist requirement,” said Sachin Sandhir, Managing Director and Country Head, RICS India.