"The construction and operation of commercial buildings has a huge impact on resource use and the natural world, and therefore, green building represents a great opportunity to positively address environmental challenges such as climate change." This is the opening statement of a new report, published in February 2016 by the World Green Building Council (WGBC) entitled; Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Retail: The Impact of Green Buildings on People and Profit.
The report focuses on retailers and examines the impact buildings have on our quality of life, health and well-being.
In the UK alone, where the project team for this report was based, retail accounts for almost half (43 per cent) of the total value of commercial
property, and retail outlets are the biggest emitters of CO2 within the commercial property sector.
However, "buildings are fundamentally for people. They should enhance our quality of life, whether at home or at work, or engaged in other activities – including leisure and retail." the report states, "In fact, we would argue that a building is not truly “green” if it does not work for people."
The concept of health, wellbeing and productivity in retail is encouraging a rethink of sustainability and more and more at ALLEN & YORK we are seeing a blurring of the lines between sustainability strategy and overall business strategy, as “sustainable” and “profitable” are increasingly being viewed as one and the same.
This added value, the report suggests is felt all the way up and down the chain, from employees, investors and right through to customers.
However, the WGBC suggest that while retailers have been quick to recognise that the health and wellbeing agenda offers business opportunities through their products and services, "an understanding of how building design aligns with economic performance has – on the whole – been slower."
In conclusion the report finds that "Having reviewed extensive and robust evidence, the WorldGBC has demonstrated that low carbon, resource efficient and environmentally sensitive buildings can actually enhance the health, wellbeing and productivity of building users. That is a very strong element of the business case for green buildings."
Read the full report, which includes key case studies by leading retailers including; M&S and Kingfisher, as well as Buro Happold and CBRE