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70% of UK Office Landlords Have No Sustainability Strategy

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A new study of 250 commercial landlords with offices in the UK has revealed:

  • Only 30% have a sustainability strategy in place
  • 42% have individual sustainability policies in place, but no overall strategy
  • 23% are unaware if any sustainability policies are in place across their portfolio
  • 5% have no sustainability policies in place
  • However, 48% recognize that having strong environmental policies is essential to attract tenants to a commercial property today
  • Of those with an occupancy level greater than 70%, over half (56%) have sustainability strategies in place – almost double the average (30%).

The vast majority of UK office landlords do not have a sustainability strategy in place, according to new research commissioned by infinitSpace in partnership with The Instant Group. The survey defined a sustainability strategy as several policies with an overall aim to reduce greenhouse emissions and/or promote environmentally friendly practices.

The study from infinitSpace, the creator of tech-enabled, white-label, flexible workspaces, and The Instant Group, the largest global marketplace for flexible workspace solutions, saw independent market research firm Censuswide survey 250 commercial landlords with offices in the UK.

It revealed that just 30% of UK office owners have developed a clear strategy to reduce overall greenhouse emissions or promote environmentally friendly practices. Two in five (42%) have one or more sustainability policies in place but no overall strategy, while a quarter (23%) are unaware of what sustainability policies are in place across their portfolio and 5% have no sustainability policies.

Despite low uptake, almost half (48%) of landlords recognize that having strong policies is essential to keeping occupancy rates high.

This was demonstrated by the correlation between landlords’ occupancy levels and sustainability strategies. Of those with an occupancy level greater than 70%, over half (56%) have sustainability strategies in place – almost double the average (30%). Comparatively, of those with an occupancy rate of less than 40%, almost half (46%) have no policies or are not aware of what they are.

“Sustainability is a key factor for businesses when selecting a workspace, and our research has clearly demonstrated that landlords which prioritize this will be rewarded with uptake in demand,” said Wybo Wijnbergen, CEO of infinitSpace.

“But that is not the only reason landlords must have robust sustainability strategies in place. In the UK, the built environment is responsible for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions; so the real estate sector clearly has a key role to play in reducing emissions. infinitSpace and The Instant Group’s research highlights that this cannot be achieved without helping office landlords to make their portfolios more sustainable,” added Wijnbergen.

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A view of an office building.

“It’s undeniable that the right strategic advisory and investment in sustainability practices are mutually beneficial for both asset owners and the planet. The correlation between established sustainability strategies and higher occupancy rates as revealed in this research is significantly compelling,” said Sam Pickering, Executive Director of Sustainability at Incendium (part of the Instant Group).

“As the evolving world of work and prioritization of sustainability continue to disrupt the real estate industry, office landlords and investors are at a crossroads. The time is now for owners and landlords to commit to long-term sustainability strategies. Otherwise, achieving targets will become more challenging or even missed, and they will get left behind. It requires a fundamental mindset and behavior shift that puts sustainability at the core of business agendas and operating models,” added Pickering.

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About infinitSpace

infinitSpace creates and manages tech-enabled white-label flexible workspaces on behalf of commercial landlords. It aims to empower human endeavor by bringing together local communities in world-class spaces that have customized curated services and high-spec technology.

It operates its own flexible workspace brand – beyond – which landlords can choose to adopt for their own buildings. Alternatively, infinitSpace can create white-label brands and technology, allowing landlords to collaborate in choosing the exact make-up of their workspace.

About The Instant Group

The Instant Group has been rethinking workspace since 1999 with over 500 experts working globally across more than 175 countries. Instant’s digital platforms constitute the world’s largest digital marketplace for flexible workspace listing meeting rooms, virtual offices, flexible office space and coworking memberships. Its global team advises on commercial real estate solutions from serviced offices to fully customised managed offices, and consulting services for portfolio and net zero strategies. Instant’s approach enables agility, hybrid working solutions and improved operational resilience for more than 250,000 businesses every year. Clients include Prudential, Booking.com, Shell, Jaguar Land Rover and GSK. Instant has global offices including London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney.

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