The second annual global survey of RICS members' attitudes to sustainability was published this month.
The RICS Green Gauge survey, which is an independent survey conducted by the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD), based in the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment at Oxford Brookes University, aims to:
- Assess the extent to which the surveying profession is continuing to engage with the sustainability agenda, by examining key measures such as the response to client demand for sustainability-based services and the frequency of use of sustainability information, tools and techniques.
- Track and monitor attitudes towards the sustainability agenda over time, and examine changes in attitudes by Professional Group and by Global Region.
- Identify and prioritise policy actions for RICS to monitor and improve the level of service it provides to its members in relation to the use of such information, tools and techniques.
A total of 888 RICS members responded to the second annual RICS Green Gauge online survey in 2010 (following the previous 2008/09 RICS Green Gauge survey), and the results show that sustainability remains high on RICS members’ agendas despite the impacts of the recent recession. This is borne out by the 'Sustainability Index', which, in 2010, remains unchanged from the last survey of 2008/09.
More than 40% of all respondents have used sustainability tools, techniques and information four or more times during the last year and the proportion of those finding such tools 'very useful' has increased slightly since 2008/09. A majority of RICS members believe that the economic recession will have either a positive impact or no impact on sustainability advice, and the number of respondents who believed the recession would have a negative impact on sustainability fell by 2% from 2008/09.
The RICS Green Gauge 2010 results show that although there has been progress over the last three years, further action is required to 'hardwire' sustainability into professional practice globally. Key barriers continue to be lack of knowledge and lack of expertise, reflecting the inadequacy of training and education in relevant techniques. The most important drivers of sustainability globally are client demand, legal compliance, business bottom line, and responsibility to the environment. This reflects a growing emphasis on the 'business case' for sustainability since the previous survey.
Professor Tim Dixon, Director of OISD and Professor of Real Estate said:
"Although encouraging the Green Gauge results mean that we shouldn't be complacent. In the UK, as the implications of recent environmental-related policy and guidance unfold, new challenges will be presented, particularly if the "pro-growth" agenda gains traction. Given that 70 to 80% of our existing buildings will be with us in 2050, a key question to ask is: how can we retrofit sufficient numbers of buildings at a city scale to achieve the target carbon reduction targets? This involves huge complexity and also the need for a range of built environment professionals (including architects, surveyors and planners) to work together".
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