UK: The latest findings from the 2010 global green gauge survey showed that sustainability remains high on Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) members’ agendas, despite the recent recession.
According to the survey, in the chartered surveying profession, many surveying firms which practise internationally now accept the fundamental principle that land and buildings should be managed to promote sustainable development. This is not only a key principle in providing the basis for running their own businesses, but also in offering advice to clients. This is important as land and property is a key asset in many global businesses: the building and construction sector is worth 10 percent of global GDP, employs 111 million people (75 percent of those in developing countries), and the total global “investible” property is worth approximately USD 16 trillion.
During the survey, approximately 75 percent of respondents suggested that sustainability is “highly relevant” to their work, and 60 percent suggested it was more important than a year ago. Similarly, 65 percent had received instructions from clients relating to sustainability advice, and this advice related to energy efficiency, waste management, energy supply, transport issues, and natural resource consumption. This is also mirrored in the key drivers for progress in the sector: client demand, the need for legal compliance, and the impact of sustainability on business bottom line. Inevitably there are differences between groups: professionals are more likely to be “leaders” in sustainability if they are based in project management, management consultancy and environment, or working in Canada, Australasia, the US, UK or the rest of Europe.
However, some respondents still believe that a lack of knowledge and expertise is hindering change, despite the progress that has been made.
The green gauge survey also suggests that one should not be complacent. In the UK, as the implications of recent environmental-related policy and guidance unfold, new challenges will be presented, particularly if the “pro-growth” agenda gains traction.