After analysing the reasons why the world got to the current situation, it is time to consider how we are going to proceed from now on. If this pandemic has taught us anything, beyond the preventive measures that we incorporated day after day and the importance of using empathy as a tool to safeguard the health of those around us, it is that we cannot continue moving forward without implementing better strategies to take care of our planet.
Almost two years have passed since the plans of business owners and consumers were turned upside down. We looked for a way to take care of ourselves, to continue with our economic production, we found a solution and the vaccination campaigns are advancing at full speed in the whole world. Nevertheless, the problem was not completely solved and it is imperative to interpret this great event that will go down in the history books as a call to action: climate change is real and our planet is crying out for help.
The good news is that leaders of the commercial real estate industry did not leave aside their efforts to implement sustainable practices, with the aim of continuing to develop their activity without compromising the future of the natural resources that allow it. Benefits are countless: preserving the world for future generations, assuming a role that consumers expect in the brands and products they acquire and, last but not least, generating savings. That’s right, implementing environmentally friendly behaviours, such as investing in eco-friendly technology and trying to cut off plastic, allows companies to save money while making a difference.
“Benefits are countless: preserving the world for future generations, assuming a role that consumers expect in the brands and products they acquire and, last but not least, generating savings”
According to the news website Vox, $23 trillion dollars could be saved by 2030 by “shifting to sustainable technologies and techniques”. As an example, the Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, has implemented the Growing Greener pledge, a scheme that points out areas of improvement and achieved savings in energy use, cut water use and carbon emissions, and sent zero waste to landfill. As a result, the shopping centre generated up to £477,000 in savings.
We know that establishing new sustainability practices can be challenging; however, there is no doubt that it is the best decision to grow as a company and satisfy the needs of customers, who are increasingly aware of and committed to reducing their environmental footprint. Enrique Benavides, director of Innovation Retail & Asset Services from CBRE España, conducted a survey on this matter to ask customers about their thoughts on sustainable practices: 70% indicated that they were really important. There are many ways to achieve this goal, the important thing is to adapt the measures to each particular business and not lose sight of the fact that each small gesture can generate a great impact.
“Customers are increasingly aware of and committed to reducing their environmental footprint”
Shopping centres can reduce the use of disposable plastics, switch to renewable energy from clean sources, reduce water use and waste through recycling, promote environmentally friendly transportation options, encourage customers to take steps to protect the planet by implementing loyalty programs, and the list could go on. All initiatives are welcome, as long as we keep in mind that the role of shopping centres is essential to reduce our impact on the planet.
We were able to get through a global pandemic with proper care and vaccination plans; we can also avoid new worldwide difficulties and continue working to live in a sustainable world, where we strive to be environmentally responsible and take care of our natural resources. This will be the better strategy for our brands and, more importantly, mother-earth.