Jones Lang LaSalle is First CRE Firm to Join Ceres Network

Ceres, a national network of investors, environmental organizations and other public-interest groups that works with companies and investors to address sustainability challenges, has announced that Jones Lang LaSalle is its first member company from the commercial real estate industry. Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Boston, Ceres has about 80 corporate members that have committed to disclosing their environmental and social commitments and results, and to engaging with Ceres’ coalition of investors and environmental and social organizations on corporate responsibility. Companies that join Ceres can get expert advice on sustainability reporting, enter industry dialogues on sustainability issues and access the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a group of leading investors that are working on climate-change issues and manage about $4 trillion of assets. “We view sustainability as an essential element of corporate social responsibility,” Lauralee Martin, Jones Lang LaSalle’s COO & CFO, said in a prepared statement. “We also strongly believe the pace of the necessary sustainability agenda will accelerate as the revenue growth and cost savings opportunities for companies that incorporate best practices and innovative thinking into their business models take hold.” “Having Jones Lang Lasalle join Ceres offers us a rare opportunity to influence a multitude of other companies through the leverage of JLL’s leadership on energy efficiency and sustainability,” Anne Kelly, Ceres’ director of corporate governance programs, told CPN. “Energy efficiency, in the real estate industry in particular, is the clean, cheap low-hanging fruit in the climate-change quagmire.” A JLL spokesperson told CPN that over the past three to four years, the company has been increasingly involved in energy management, both for its existing asset management clients and for others. In 2007, JLL helped these companies reduce energy consumption by 210 million kWh, saving $38 million in energy costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 133,000 metric tons. Reducing an office building’s energy costs, the spokesperson said, is almost never a matter of replacing its HVAC system. Instead, JLL commonly uses “management by exception,” looking at a client’s portfolio of properties and identifying which ones have above-average energy costs. Saving energy in these cases is often a matter of simply enforcing a schedule of filter changes or slightly adjusting the acceptable temperature range within the building. Another common practice, the spokesperson told CPN, is LEED gap analysis, in which a client might ask JLL to see what might be involved if a building sought LEED certification. “That’s a quick and relatively inexpensive way to figure out where you stand.” In a news story last Friday, Jones Lang LaSalle executive vice president Bob Best explained to CPN how tenants are driving demand for “green” office space. “They want their space to be greener, and they want help in making their employees greener.” Best concluded that to be competitive into today’s market, commercial real estate companies simply have to consider green initiatives.