Experts set sustainability agenda for retail property

Speaking on behalf of the Carbon Trust, Richard Guy spoke of the challenges that the industry faces in meeting the targets set by the UK government and the European Union. These require all new commercial buildings to be carbon neutral by 2019, with the greater ambition being for all of the industry’s existing stock to be zero carbon by 2050.

Angus McIntosh, head of research at King Sturge, put forward a number of scenarios for global development in the future, stressing the need for the industry to focus on sustainability, and said that it needed to be ready to lead the way in adapting to uncertain times ahead.

“Faced with an unknown future, we are actually in a strong position to act now to futureproof our activities. Most shopping centres will still be in use in 25 years time – long after most of today’s politicians have retired – so we are already thinking ahead. However, we need to make sure that we are also thinking sustainably, not simply according to the old rules.”

Richard Akers, Managing Director of Retail at Land Securities and upcoming President of BCSC in 2011, also spoke of the strong pressure on owners and occupiers to work together to reduce carbon emissions in order to remain competitive.

“As well as government targets, there is a clear rationale for the industry to cooperate on this issue. Ultimately, a low carbon agenda is demanded by consumers, and companies will need to act now in order to remain competitive in a difficult market.

“These changes will likely be expensive, especially in the light of amends to the Carbon Reduction Commitment following last week’s Comprehensive Spending Review, and there will doubtless be debate as to how these costs are shared out. However, it is vital that we get our house in order now.”

Philippa Latimer, public affairs manager at BCSC said: “we believe the retail property sector has a great opportunity to lead the way in terms of reducing emissions ahead of the government’s future targets for commercial property. We have been in constant dialogue with government over the issues surrounding carbon reduction, and are working hard to ensure that we can work with them to set an agenda that is mutually beneficial.”

Have your say on this story using the comment section below