As the incoming Programme Director at BBP I have been tasked with taking the BBP forward into the next phase of its development. So an obvious question for me was ‘is the BBP meeting its objective?’ In attempting to answer this, it is critical to understand what we mean by ‘market transformation.’
Market Transformation is often encapsulated by big ideas and questions such as – how do we make the ‘Big Shift’, how can we move towards a Circular Economy’ economy, and how can we make ‘Impact Investments’. At the BBP we are not so much concerned with the development of conceptual thinking so much as we are with understanding what this might mean in practice. So, to respond to this we have convened a Market Transformation Working Group so that we can better understand these concepts and think about how real estate owners with existing buildings might respond to investors or occupiers who are using these concepts to shape their strategies. Can real estate assets be included in Impact Investment Portfolios? How could a Green Property Bond work? How could we change our specification of materials and work with our supply chains to move towards a circular economy?
Through engaging with our members on this topic, I have also discovered that Market Transformation can take many different forms. These big concepts often capture the attention and imagination of the CEO or CIO, but often it’s the practical ideas that can have the most impact and operationalise market transformation. Our work at BBP is very much focused on this – how can we provide practical support and tools for the industry to achieve market transformation on a day-to-day basis.
This year we have nine different working groups, all focused on addressing specific challenges for the industry. Practical projects that we hope will make a real difference include a Sustainability Fit-Out Guide for occupiers, guidance on Commercial Real Estate Lending and an update to our Managing Agents Sustainability Toolkit. We have also launched our new website to enable us to share knowledge and resources more effectively, it features new case studies, blogs and news from our members.
We will be continuing to focus on performance in use – a critical issue for the industry. Our 26 members will submit over 1,000 assets to the BBP led Real Estate Environmental Benchmark or REEB. This benchmark is gradually gaining ground in the industry – Pension Funds are using it as a key benchmark for their portfolios and many fund managers, REITS and Property companies are using it as the benchmark with which to compare the performance of their assets. Related to this is our ongoing engagement with a wide range of organisations to develop our Landlord Energy Rating (LER) into a more widely adopted ‘base-building rating’. If we can replicate the success of the NABERS scheme in Australia here in the UK, this really would be a major step forward for the industry.
Property managers play an absolutely critical role in the industry and we are very excited about a new programme of work with managing agents to be launched shortly. This is a significant initiative for the industry focused on sharing knowledge and providing support to the property managers who play such a critical role in delivering sustainability ‘at the coal face’.
One of our key principles at BBP is collaboration – working with other organisations to achieve maximum impact. So, if you see an area of our work that you are interested in, then please do get in touch. Whilst the BBP has achieved a lot, we can’t do this on our own - true market transformation requires collaboration across the industry.