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What is certain is that sustainability and ESG practices will become part and parcel of the built environment.

AS the world gradually emerges from the shadows of the Covid-19 pandemic, concerns on climate change are intensifying in tandem with other environmental and social aspects.

With public and investor interest vested in how communities should interact moving forward, attention has naturally turned to sustainable infrastructure and liveable spaces.

Thus, environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are becoming increasingly vital in the strategies of companies across various industries – with the property industry among those taking the lead.

According to the World Green Building Council, buildings are responsible for 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions.

That’s not to say that the property industry has not been making strides in transforming itself to become more sustainable, as it has championed the Green Building Index and other initiatives linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in past years.

PwC’s 25th Annual Global CEO Survey also shows that 18% of Malaysia’s corporate sector, including construction, have made a net zero commitment and 38% are science-aligned to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.




Another recent report by PwC, Positioning Corporate Malaysia for a Sustainable Future, reveals that Malaysia’s materiality reporting on secondary impacts is “above average for greenhouse gas emissions and the highest in Asean for climate change.”

And these efforts towards achieving net zero are starting to pay off, as demand for greener buildings skyrocket – the 2021 Jones Lang LaSalle Inc (JLL) survey Sustainable Real Estate: Translating ambitions into Action revealed that 70% of the companies polled were willing to pay higher rents for space in green-certified buildings in efforts to meet decarbonisation targets.

Aside from environmental concerns, the social aspects of sustainability and livability must also be considered in any built environment, as it affects the physical and mental health and well being of the occupiers in the long run.

The study stated that the majority currently paying a premium are spending 7% to 10% more in rental costs.

Moreover, in light of the growing importance of ESG, Moody’s Investors Service has recently updated its environmental heat map.

It said: “A property’s environmental footprint (parameters such as energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality) could influence leasing outcomes because tenants are becoming more sensitive to the green attributes of their leased spaces.”