Honeywell And Reuters Survey Reveals Dramatic Increase In Sustainability Initiatives In Buildings

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Greater energy efficiency, better indoor air quality (IAQ) and meeting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) guidelines are three objectives currently prioritised by multinational organisations as they face increasing pressure to incorporate their building operations into their sustainability plans. These are among the key findings of a report released by Honeywell and Reuters.

Nearly nine out of 10 respondents (87%) say that achieving carbon neutrality in their building portfolio is either extremely (58%) or somewhat (29%) important concerning their overall ESG goals, with only 4% of respondents calling it unimportant. The sense of urgency is understandable: Commercial building operations currently account for 37% of global energy-related CO2 emissions.

Manish Sharma, vice president and general manager of Sustainable Buildings at Honeywell, echoed this sentiment based on his ongoing conversations with current and prospective customers. "If we fast-forward to 2025, I believe carbon neutrality will be one of the top priorities for organisations, driven partly by new carbon taxation plans and decarbonising incentives," he said.

While the surveyed organisations are under pressure to act, respondents appear to be generally optimistic about progress toward their goals. More than 90% of those surveyed expect to achieve carbon neutrality across their portfolios by 2050, while 62% expect to reach that goal by 2035. Only 8% of the people who answered the survey said they don't think their portfolios will ever be carbon neutral.

Benefits noted by respondents:

Respondents also noted the business benefits of ramping up sustainability efforts across building portfolios. When asked which three of these benefits they valued most, they cited the following:

  • Complying with external regulations and investor demands: 90%; with more than 50% of those surveyed ranking it number one

  • Increasing productivity and realising cost reductions: 84%

  • Improving brand image: 60%

Barriers creating concern:

Despite their optimism, those surveyed noted several significant barriers that impeded their efforts. When asked which three obstacles most hindered progress, respondents reported the following:

  • Managing costs: 88%

  • Measuring sustainability or a lack of expertise: 60%

  • Gaining senior leadership support: 50%

The survey also showed that companies are making smart investments to speed up decarbonisation and improve the overall performance of buildings. Respondents list a wide range of specific things they have done, but a large majority (80%) say they have invested in an on-site energy management system to make their building operations more environmentally friendly.

The Honeywell Building Sustainability Manager, powered by Honeywell Forge, is a suite of ready-to-use solutions that help building owners and operators meet two pressing, yet often conflicting, objectives: optimising a building's IAQ while still reducing its environmental impact, to help them meet carbon neutral goals.

"Incorporating the way buildings operate into sustainability plans is an ongoing process with no fixed endpoint," said Liam Dowd, Industry Lead – Sustainable Business, Reuters Professional. "The organisations that were surveyed are at different points in creating strategies and solutions to help with this process. The first step is to benchmark the carbon output of buildings and figure out what the current state of the portfolio is."

The importance of improving building operations reinforces the emphasis organisations are placing on sustainability, as detailed in the recently launched Honeywell Environmental Sustainability Index, a quarterly global survey that captures key trends in corporate sustainability initiatives and other efforts to mitigate climate change. Sixty-five per cent of organisations surveyed in the Honeywell Environmental Sustainability index are prioritising sustainability above other initiatives, and 48% of surveyed organisations are likely to increase sustainability budgets up to 20% in the next 12 months.

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Source: PRNewswire

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