Steve Malkin, CEO of Planet First and founder of the Planet Mark, writes for about the opportunity sustainable business practice can offer.

In September, a coalition of Europe’s largest institutional investors committed $100 billion to decarbonising their portfolios. As well as reducing energy and carbon emissions on a huge scale, this announcement was a powerful message that share value and economic stability are inextricably linked to climate change.

Put simply, there is risk in carbon. And where there is risk there is opportunity and none more so than the property sector. The built environment is responsible for an estimated 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions and the race is on to reduce risk and reduce carbon.

Making buildings more efficient in design, construction, operation and end of life requires market-ready solutions from suppliers. For organisations servicing the property industry, this could be the opportunity of a lifetime as policy, regulation and market conditions start to align.

From a policy perspective, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) is the latest to be launched. It requires organisations of 250 employees or more, or with an annual turnover of more than €50m to measure and report energy use over a 12-month period and carry out an energy assessment of the organisation.

“This is more than an audit, it is a policy that will drive improvement at scale,” says Chris Bennett, CEO of SCS, experts in property energy efficiency. “ESOS will identify where energy efficiency measures can improve the performance of buildings, manufacture and transport.”

Over 9,000 organisations with 180,000 buildings are expected to comply with ESOS requirements. It is an example of a focused policy that will expand a market opportunity for suppliers to provide energy efficient products and services.

Attracting and retaining customers is one of the biggest drivers for sustainability. I am filming interviews with CEOs and senior executives, from corporations to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to share their insight on why sustainability is good for their business.

Whilst cost saving, employee engagement and reputation enhancement are important, meeting customer needs and developing new business are the prime motivators for many CEOs of SMEs. Sustainability helps sales.

“Providing evidence of our green credentials in prequalification questionnaires, tenders and pitches helps us win business,” said Graham Errington, MD of Acorn Engineering Group, who were recently awarded the Planet Mark certification. “Our clients value the fact that we provide energy efficient services in a sustainable way.”

Engaging with clients in this way helps build longer, mutually beneficial relationships. For example, the environment and sustainability teams in leading retailers are desperate to receive supplier case studies. It is evidence of how they are engaging their supply chain.

Sustainability provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with customers and create new ways of working to rise to the challenges of a time.

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