Despite the uniquely challenging nature of the construction industry, the team at Warfel Construction has been energized by the opportunity to collaborate creatively in today’s environment. We have been in regular conversation with clients and industry partners about emerging trends in sustainable investments, business practices, energy procurement, and development opportunities.
Bottom line, markets are waking up to the reality that investment in sustainability pays dividends – literally. A reflective study on 2020 mutual fund and ETFs by Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing showed that mutual funds which focus on environment, social, and governance factors yielded, on average, 4.3% greater returns than more traditional peer funds.
Our clients are seeing these trends and acknowledging that investment in sustainability could have myriad benefits for the development of their organizations. However, the regular refrain to follow is, given the current market, how can we afford this?
At Warfel, we remain committed to serving the needs of our Clients for Life, no matter the industry issues, so here are some hopeful thoughts on how to pursue sustainability in a challenging market:
Start at the beginning. If sustainability is a priority, begin your project or initiative with a discussion of desired sustainable outcomes with professionals that are enthusiastic about realizing sustainable outcomes. Use the priorities established in this discussion as a benchmark for other project decisions. Clear priorities lay the groundwork for selecting great partners. Great partners with clear priorities will make great project teams. Great project teams will make great projects!
Collaboration is key. The depth of sustainable knowledge in the market right now is growing exponentially. Businesses across all sectors are hiring professionals trained with a sustainable focus. From design professionals to insurance providers, investment managers to food service distributors, sustainable experts are present throughout the industry. If you have a vision for raising the sustainable profile of your organization, there are more ways than ever to make tangible, positive change.
Think outside the box. Your influence is larger than your organization. If there is anything that sustainability spotlights, it is interconnectedness. Organizations can support substantial sustainable impacts in seemingly mundane categories. Can you improve the sustainability profile of your investment portfolio? Can you review your power purchasing agreement to access opportunities to support clean energy production? Can you support sustainably-produced products through office supply procurement? With a little effort, your everyday partnerships and procurement strategies can have wide-ranging positive sustainable effects with minimal financial investment.
Less is more. One of the most sustainable design solutions is to do more with less. During a building project, hundreds or thousands of building square footage can be eliminated if a project team can find operational synergies within a building program. This can reduce costs while eliminating substantial swaths of embodied and operational carbon footprint. Given that building operations are responsible for nearly 30% of worldwide carbon emissions, what could be better than reducing from the start? Even in today’s market, sustainability and costs-savings are not mutually exclusive.
Forward is forward. With calls for revolutionary change to our global economy, manufacturing, construction, and lifestyle, the task of sustainability can seem vast and unattainable. If the bar seems high, be encouraged that every step is meaningful. With every incremental decision, we are collectively developing this new economy, influencing manufacturing and construction best practices, and positively forming our lifestyles. Any action toward a sustainable future is a step in the right direction.
Interested in discussing how a sustainable approach can help you meet your project goals? Click here to contact our team.