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ESG: The beginning of a new era
November 11, 2022
People and the environment are now fundamental criteria in the search for a building.
Published in Immobilier Commercial - volume 15 number 5
This is the view of Jean Laurin, principal and CEO of Avison Young (Quebec), a reputable broker with more than 40 years of experience.
According to him, as we reach the end of the health crisis, ESG criteria have taken on more momentum. "It's as if, in the background, there was an accelerator to make people aware of the fact that it's becoming more and more important."
With the pace accelerating, office building owners in Montreal are wondering about the needs of occupiers, who are questioning their work environment needs, while their employees are reluctant to return to the office full-time. "We are still in a hybrid mode of thinking. And what's going to come out of that are work environments that are going to be the most exciting we've ever seen in history [...] " enthuses the broker.
In this context, the integration of ESG criteria into a workforce attraction and retention strategy can be an asset for tenants. « [...] It's important for decision-makers to attract employees to the office for corporate culture and efficiency. Of course, there are certain types of functions that can be done from home, but for everything related to business development, products, customer relations, there is an advantage to exchange and share experiences. »
Real estate brokers are valuable allies in supporting and advising their clients in this process. "Not everyone is at the same level. Some have been taking this into account for some time, while others are wondering where to start. [...] In real estate, indirectly, we are able to influence the reflection and to argue how far it can go. Thus, the world of real estate "becomes a lever for change, because we can have a major impact on the work environment, employees, energy consumption, etc."
For Jean Laurin, taking ESG criteria into account certainly leads to a change of perspective in real estate brokerage. "Before, it was location, location, location. Today, it's more the people and the planet. Basically, we add values that are important for the community and the future." And young employees have a lot to do with it. "To my knowledge, for the first time in economic history, there are young people who will not take a job that pays more if they do not believe in the values of the company. I don't want to minimize the impact of money, but young people are more sensitive to what we leave behind and how we make the world a better place [...]. »