It’s safe to say this year is not what anyone envisioned. When 2020 started, most of us that have been pushing sustainability for the last decade collectively thought this is it – finally, the conversation has shifted and this is the year for a real sea change. Sustainability was the star of Davos, and investors talked about climate risk’s long-term impact on finance. Then, March and the pandemic hit like a brick wall.
At first glance, one would think that the pandemic derailed this shift towards sustainability, but, in reality, it has only accelerated it. It has forced us to reflect on who we are as a society and who we want to be as we have a heightened awareness of our vulnerability. The disruption we have experienced may be a glimmer of what will become normal if we continue with business as usual. Sustainability is no longer optional for business, and those that do not adapt will face backlash from consumers, shareholders or governments.
At ShopCore, we are looking to reframe the conversation that sustainability is the right thing to do. We want to be an example of how sustainability makes our real estate more valuable, reduces risk and positively impacts the communities we serve. Our sustainability program is rooted in data, market-accepted standards and focused on what is material to our stakeholders. By integrating sustainability into every aspect of our business, from development to property management, we believe we can transform the definition of sustainable retail and make a meaningful impact on our properties and communities. This is accomplished by leveraging data such as our practice of benchmarking all our properties in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and regularly measuring our performance.
We aim to partner with our tenants to be the premier choice for sustainable and resilient retail. We are committed to making our spaces more efficient while also shifting to renewable fuel sources. This is achieved through a continued focus on efficiency programs such as LED lighting and controls, standardizing sustainable development and investing in renewable energy.
Now more than ever, we recognize that the most effective sustainability strategy is holistic and focused on reducing our impact on the environment while making spaces healthier for occupants. We know that real estate can positively impact occupants’ health and wellbeing from the materials we specify to the ventilation systems’ air quality. We have the opportunity and influence to create spaces that make our tenants and employees healthier and enhance their wellbeing. By leveraging tools such as the WELL standard, we can do this in a measurable, actionable way.