Cracking the Sustainability Code needs more action and less Greenwashing!

The function of all forms of real estate and the specific requirements of its users continues to change at pace. The most significant factors driving this evolution are non-financial – Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) requirements.

At Bannon, we are seeing a profound shift from clients towards more sustainable practices. With environmental issues coming to the fore globally and a particular focus of the impact on the real estate sector, Bannon has been proactive in applying innovative and market leading initiatives across assets within our portfolio.

In simple terms sustainability means meeting our own current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This encompasses the economy, society and the environment and is often referred to as profits, planet and people.

We know that ESG and sustainability related innovations need to be adopted into every aspect of the management of real estate. Given the scale and variety of assets under our management we are acutely aware of the positive impact changes we implement will have on, the environment and the users of our clients’ buildings.

In partnership with our clients, we have implemented over 40 specific sustainability initiatives in the last 5 years. These initiatives will remove a cumulative 500,000 kg of carbon dioxide annually.

A small sample of the sustainability innovations implemented across our portfolio include:

  • Procurement of electricity from 100% renewable sources through our partnership with Electric Ireland. Bannon procures approximately 17 million kWh of electricity per annum from 100% renewable sources. This is the equivalent of removing 5,456 cars off the road per annum.
  • We have recently secured the option of procuring 100% green gas from sources that utilise agricultural waste for production.
  • We have an ongoing policy of replacing traditional fluorescent/incandescent lights with energy efficient LED lights across our assets.
  • Installation of Electrical Vehicle (EV) charging points in several shopping centres, retail parks and office developments.
  • Rainwater harvesting on shopping centre and office block roofs.
  • Installation of PV panels on assets roofs to generate renewal electricity. The technology in PV panels and renewable energy is improving constantly. Bannon have recognised that green energy is the future and is looking at how this technology can be utilised across our portfolio.
  • Installation of Beehives. Bees play a vital role in creating a healthy environment. Bee keeping projects help to support the pollination of the local green spaces and add enhanced ecology to the locality. In addition, they provide healthy nutritious honey!

The focus on sustainability has numerous benefits to all stakeholders and wider society. This ranges from lowering carbon emissions into the atmosphere to a reduction in costs for users of assets. Simultaneously sustainability initiatives provide added value to the assets for investors.

It is very easy to pay lip service to the latest trends in the industry and not take action to back these up. In order to achieve meaningful change, sustainability has to now be at the fore of real estate management. Bannon has recognised this and will continue to work in partnership with all stakeholders to make sure we continue the progress already made.

William Lambe is a Divisional Director with the Property Management team at Bannon.

The Property Management team in Bannon oversees a portfolio of 75 assets for a range of institutional, private equity and private clients.