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CEO Survey on Sustainability Reveals Focus on Corporate Real Estate

A new global survey of 1,254 senior business executives, including more than 300 CEOs, shows that energy efficiency plays a central role in corporate sustainability efforts - a finding that has implications for how companies manage their real estate. Fifty-two percent of all respondents named energy efficiency as one of their leading sustainability priorities, a goal that is addressed primarily or solely through real estate strategies.
The survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), was co-sponsored by global real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle and seven other leading companies from different industries: A.T. Kearney, Bank of America, ExxonMobil, Orange, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SAP, and SunGard.

The overall report, issued by the EIU on February 12, 2008, sheds light on the growing importance of corporate sustainability in enabling companies to compete and to attract customers. While the survey did not focus specifically on real estate topics, 46 percent of respondents selected one of three real estate strategies as the number-one sustainability priority from a list of 10 possible priorities.

"CEOs and other corporate officers are very focused on improving sustainability, but they may not realize the major impact their real estate departments can make in achieving their goals," said Dan Probst, Chairman, global environmental sustainability board at Jones Lang LaSalle. "As this study shows, the path to sustainability often starts with real estate and facility strategies."

The "leading priority" selected by the most CEOs is also addressed through real estate operations, albeit less obviously. Thirty-seven percent ranked "communicating performance on sustainability to investors and stakeholders" as a major priority, and 24 percent ranked it as the leading priority.

The EIU study also revealed reasons why a focus on sustainability makes good business sense. EIU found that global companies that have delivered strong share price growth over the past three years are more proactive on corporate sustainability issues than those that have seen their share price stagnate or decline.

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