Six of the best property developers unpack green trends

Six of the best property developers unpack green trends

More and more property developers are opting for sustainability, not only as an alternative building initiative, but as a unique selling point to discerning buyers. Why green? What value does it give to property developers as a company and does it help with a company’s bottom-line or public perception?

In a ‘power talk’ concurrent session that forms part of the upcoming Green Building Council of South Africa Convention, happening from 16-18 October at the CTICC, six of the leading local property developers will engage on green trends and what their motivations have been to integrate them into the way they do business. On this charged discussion panel is Rudolf Pienaar of Growthpoint, Richard Thomas from Nedbank, David Green from the V&A Waterfront, Jurgens van Huyssteen from Menlyn Maine, Martin Evans from the Brydons Group and David Savage from the Abland Property Group.

“There are clear environmental benefits for building green as well as a compelling business case. Going green is not just about the environment, the bottom-line benefits of building and operating green buildings are particularly important considering South Africa’s rising energy costs and water scarcity – coupled with lower risks, improvements to employee productivity and, ultimately, better investment returns and higher property valuations,” says Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council of South Africa.

Globally, property owners and developers face the challenge of ‘future-proofing’ their buildings. Going green is now broadly regarded as the smart choice that takes account of sustainability, responsible investment requirements, aesthetics and, critically, profitability.

Both the Code for Responsible Investing, which most of the major asset managers have signed up to, and the King Code of Governance, require that organisations record and report on their actions in respect of, amongst others, environmental sustainability. The effects of this will be long reaching and profound – an organisation that performs badly in respect of their sustainability initiatives will be punished in terms of the ultimate measure – their share price. Asset managers are including so called ESG (environment, social, and governance) requirements in their investment mandates and, by definition, poor performers will suffer as investment moves to better performers. So, there is a wonderful ‘virtuous triangle’ in respect of commercial property development and management.  By adopting environmentally sustainable practices in their property portfolio, i.e. green building practices, they benefit in three major ways:

  • They are being responsible in terms of the bigger picture of climate change mitigation.
  • They are being shrewd investors – green building has a proven and significant economic business case.
  • Their share price will attract a premium as investors shift to the better performers in respect of ESG.

“Could there be a more compelling argument?” concludes Wilkinson.

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