The notion of environmental monitoring has been on the backburner for some time now. For years, it has merely existed as a checklist activity to tick off without much thought. Businesses have traditionally treated it as a gimmick, with no real knowledge of what to do with the data once it was collected.

James Shannon

James Shannon

However, amid the current climate crisis, measuring the sustainability of a business is more vital than ever. Multinational tenants are now held accountable for their environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) compliance, and so now will not lease or license a property unless they can get the environmental data they want from the landlord, and regularly report on it.

The government’s prioritisation of environmental monitoring has seen the process evolve – and now, data relating to sustainability can be converted into action. For instance, rooms now have to meet criteria to ensure they meet standards and minimum thresholds for room productivity scores, temperature levels, lighting and carbon dioxide levels. In some cases, smart office spaces can now inform staff they should leave the room if a certain carbon dioxide level is breached.

Landlords and tenants alike are aware of the need to be proactive to differentiate themselves from other office propositions and businesses. They seek to attract those who put environmental issues at the forefront of their agenda. Technology is a critical component in obtaining actionable insight to help companies track their ESG compliance.

Ahead of this month’s COP26 gathering, conforming to the green, ethical and sustainable policies of ESG is of paramount importance. Landlords will be under greater pressure to ensure indoor air quality, commit to the health and wellbeing of tenants, implement technology to protect employees and react to ESG parameters.

Through implementing ESG policies, landlords can retain tenants, optimise staff wellbeing and productivity, and help to protect the environment, all while being cost-effective.

COP26’s journey towards net zero is set to demand cooperation and a level of commitment from corporations and the public alike, and so ESG will see a further push towards being a crucial element of business models. A PwC study found that by 2025, almost 60% of mutual fund assets in Europe will be ESG-related, with COP26 set to increase growth and influence of ESG investments.

A shift in investor priority and emphasis on corporations to adopt sustainable and ethical business models for the transition to net zero, only further exaggerates the need for landlords to keep up with the demands of today’s environmentally conscious generation.

James Shannon is chief product and technology officer at essensys