The Growing Importance of Environmental Certification

Integrating Sustainability in Commercial Real Estate. Insights from Emna Rekik, Country Lead JLL Luxembourg

October 11, 2023

Owners and occupants of office buildings need to better understand the challenges of sustainability in order to integrate them into their projects and developments. In this regard, environmental certification serves as a guide and framework for their approach.

"All major players and a growing number of medium-sized and small organizations are deploying an CSR strategy, with a strong initial focus on environmental issues," comments Emna Rekik, Country Lead & Head of Markets at JLL Luxembourg. “However, despite the focus on environmental issues, only 19% of these organizations have a clear action plan for sustainability and have allocated funds to achieve their goals.”

Building and implementing a "sustainable" strategy can be approached in various ways. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) encompasses multiple aspects, including infrastructure, procurement, production, transportation, waste management, and employee well-being. “A proactive strategy requires a comprehensive approach, starting with an audit of existing practices and an analysis of the company's position within its environment. Based on defined CSR ambitions, the strategic plan should include a set of measurement indicators.” Mélanie Leblanc, senior project manager work dynamics JLL Luxembourg. “Building and engaging a proactive strategy involves adopting a cross-functional approach”.

Real estate plays a crucial role in the organization's CSR strategy, from choosing one or more locations to ensuring energy-efficient buildings and designing workspaces and environments. In this context, JLL helps stakeholders understand these issues, including the use of sustainable certification.

“Various existing standards on the market guide the company's sustainable approach, such as Breeam, DGNB, HQE, or WELL, which focuses on user well-being. These certifications structure the sustainable approach in relation to the occupied building(s), and certification that recognizes a building's compliance with these standards has become a market requirement.” Emna Rekik, Country Lead & Head of Markets at JLL Luxembourg

Occupants pay close attention to the certification level of buildings, as this guarantees the building's sustainability in terms of design and usage. Internationally recognized certification supports the company's communication efforts, both internally with employees and externally. “For property owners, whether considering a transaction or not, environmental certification is now essential to ensure the long-term value of their assets.” adds Emna Rekik. JLL provides expertise and guidance throughout the certification process, conducting analyses, providing advice on the most appropriate standards for the market, and helping define renovation and compliance programs.

JLL constantly monitors these issues and facilitates the integration of various aspects for both property owners and occupants. Simulation tools go beyond the building's boundaries, considering factors like mobility, user travel, and commuting times. JLL assists occupants in defining a tailored workspace strategy that takes into account specific business needs, employee expectations, employer flexibility requirements, and activity-related uses, all integrated into a comprehensive approach. This also involves making the right technological choices to reduce resource consumption and implementing organizational adaptations related to space utilization. Services that ensure occupant well-being are also integrated into the strategy.

The sustainable journey does not end with certification. It requires continuous improvement as standards evolve. JLL provides ongoing monitoring of regulatory changes and technological developments to support stakeholders in advancing their sustainable development objectives across all three pillars of sustainability.

"For property owners, whether considering a transaction or not, environmental certification is now essential to ensure the long-term value of their assets"

Emna Rekik, Country Lead, JLL Luxembourg