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Sustainability remains high on the agenda despite the worsening economic climate, according to the latest global property sustainability survey recently released by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in the United Kingdom.
Over 40 percent of respondents believed that sustainability is a more important issue for their clients now than it was this time last year, whilst around the same amount felt it was just as important. Less than a tenth of those responding felt that it was less of an issue for their clients.
It appears to be business bottom line that is driving the sustainability agenda not just in the United Kingdom but across the globe. In the U.K., 33 percent of surveyors questioned suggested that this was the most significant driver for their clients. Legal compliance, clients demand, marketing purposes and competitive advantage were other reasons that were cited. In China and Germany, client demand was the most favored response while in Japan it was the desire to gain a competitive advantage.
When questioned on whether or not companies would be prepared to pay a premium for a green building, on average it was the government departments and oil companies who were perceived to be more willing. In the U.K., it was felt that government departments would be willing to pay a maximum premium of around 12 percent while oil companies would be willing to pay a 10 percent premium. Both China and Japan reflected the similar results with government departments and oil companies perceived to be willing to pay larger premium than typical occupier and investor.
David Tse, RICS international governing councillor and chairman of the External Affairs and Public Concerns Committee of RICS Hong Kong, said, "As a professional institution, RICS Hong Kong will encourage member engagement in sustainability understanding and application, assist the general public, external stakeholders, and the government to identify and prioritize the key sustainability themes in Hong Kong, including climate change and mitigation, climate change and adaptation, waste and materials, sustainable development and communities, zero carbon and energy saving homes, heritage buildings etc. by making reference to international experience and expertises."
Kenneth Chan, spokesperson of RICS Hong Kong, said, "Governments should remain as the key drive in pursuing sustainability. RICS, in United Kingdom and in Hong Kong, is working closely with the local governments to put forward practical policies with an objective to build a sustainable future."