A Spotlight on Sustainability Breakfast

Managing Director Ben Lisle was invited to share Hesperia’s approach to sustainability at the Property Council of Australia’s event – A Spotlight on Sustainability.

The event sought to examine and address pressing issues for the property sector including carbon neutrality, the Government’s involvement in the sustainability space, how the sector can utilise renewables and the costs associated with sustainable practices.

Ben joined a panel of property leaders in sustainability, including Stockland Group Head of Sustainability, Petie Walker, and Stantec Principal Sustainability Project Engineer, Prasanna Suraweera.

Ben shared the benefits, importance, and opportunities of making sustainability a driver of business and development decisions.

“We make sure there is a tailored sustainability plan for every project. We do this because not only is it the right thing to do for the future, it’s also better business for our purchasers, tenants and staff. We estimate the sustainability costs on a project add up to approximately 4 per cent to work towards best practice and carbon neutrality. We believe this is appropriate and achievable and so it’s not a question of if or when, it’s just what we must do,” commented Ben.

“We look around the world for what’s best practice and pick out the sustainability approaches most suitable for our projects, however it’s not a one size fits all. I think new thinking about lifecycles of construction and buildings and infrastructure means we all have to think a little harder and be more sophisticated in our understanding of all of a project and the way they are interconnected.”

Ben was asked to provide some succinct advice to the property sector and commented. “Don’t underestimate the strength of consumer interest in sustainability and the shift towards demanding sustainable practices. Look at this change as an opportunity to differentiate yourself and your business to customers and staff. Sustainability is something you can build businesses on. You don’t always know the answer when you start, but that’s part of the new opportunities opening up in our sector.”

The panel also called out future environmental issues in the property sector.

Stantec Principal Sustainability Project Engineer Prasanna Suraweera said water will be the next big driver for businesses in the property sector to manage.

“We’ve started with carbon, now we need to hit water pretty hard because when that becomes a problem it’s not a temperature rise, it’s not a heat wave, it’s you don’t have water,” he said.

Ben shared his opinion from a development perspective.

“Water is an issue with a drying climate, it’s an escalating issue,” he said.

“I don’t know I’d agree that it is any more drastic or urgent than climate change, but it’s something that hasn’t had the air-time and now does need a focus, particularly in Western Australia with its drying climate.”

Ben noted that the industry could reduce water use through clever landscaping designs and mandates around fittings and fixtures within commercial buildings.

The majority of participants agreed that the property sector’s approach to sustainability, along with views of consumers and Government, is evolving rapidly.

Hesperia’s commitment to sustainability is integrated within our operations and all projects. As a signatory to the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Commitment, Hesperia has pledged Net Zero across all projects by 2030.