Published On Jul 02, 2019  
in  Retail Real Estate Industry

Shoppers continue to become more aware of environmental issues across the globe and develop an understanding of how their choices as consumers can effect positive change. As a result, they are increasingly demanding that goods and services are produced and delivered in accordance with their values. 
Studies have shown that the majority of shoppers consider sustainability when making a purchase and are willing to pay more for sustainable products. Consumers want the companies they buy from to commit to sustainable business practices that will improve and protect the environment.
The push for increased commitment to sustainability means that it is incumbent on commercial real estate teams to embrace and drive socially responsible practices. Such initiatives, when selected and implemented effectively, not only appeal to shoppers, but can also create cost savings for retailers and landlords. Here are some of the most important factors we have seen for successful sustainability programs:
Programs must fit the community. 
Sustainability projects must appeal to the demographics of the market and be targeted based on the challenges and opportunities of the specific property. For example, solar panels are most effective in a desert-type locale that sees ample sunlight, and high temperatures mean increased demand for climate control. When placed in these kinds of areas, the panels can generate more energy, reducing the load on local power grids and costs associated with cooling the buildings. Locally smart implementation of sustainably programs ensures that they meet the needs of the community and are as efficient and cost effective as possible for property owners and retailers.
Sustainability partnerships add value.
There are many opportunities to implement sustainable practices within a partnership structure. There are energy firms who will install and maintain solar roof panels. They receive the benefit of the energy produced and, in return, the property owner can realize reduced energy and roof maintenance costs. Bicycle sharing groups and EV charging stations are constantly seeking locations for their equipment. Having these conveniences at your center draws new customers while encouraging environmentally friendly transportation alternatives. 
Sharing the story.
CRE firms are beginning to report on their sustainability efforts, sharing the results and giving investors, retailers and shoppers hard evidence of their commitment to corporate responsibility. Environmental, social and governance reports provide business partners and customers with peace of mind that they are working with a property owner whose values align with their own. 
The bottom line is that our customers are demanding socially responsible shopping – and we must respond. Effective programs provide property owners with the opportunity to do the right thing in protecting the environment. They also enhance customer service and traffic, while appealing to shopper demand for value-driven retail.

Jeffrey Edison
Jeffrey Edison