While CBRE is already deeply involved in practical actions thattenants and building owners can take in the real day-to-dayenvironment of building occupancy and operations, "What the ClimateGroup brings is the influence of their members who are worldleaders and Fortune 500 companies that are working with governmentand business leaders to establish policies to accelerate thetransition to a low-carbon economy," Wilson says. Those Fortune 500companies include many tenants and building owners who are clientsof CBRE, which approaches the sustainability challenge from "anumber of perspectives," according to Wilson.

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"Given the variety of services that we offer, we look at thisfrom many perspectives: from the tenant's perspective, from thebuilding owner's perspective, from the perspective of creatingawareness on both the owner side and the occupier side," she says.Wilson adds that the Climate Group has an international reach,which aligns with CBRE's plans for emphasizing the importance ofreducing carbon emissions in its international operations.

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She explains that CBRE—which has a stated goal of becomingcarbon-neutral by the year 2010—has thus far been focusing most ofits efforts on the Americas because the Americas account for thelargest portion of the firm's global carbon footprint, 65%. "But weare now beginning to look at the other countries, and our plan for2009 emphasizes getting the message out globally to our othermarkets," Wilson says.

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Since governmental policies, codes and zoning in other regionscan differ substantially from those in the Americas, Wilson says,membership in an organization like the Climate Group that isalready working in regions outside of the Americas will offersubstantial benefits to CBRE. In addition, she says, "The ClimateGroup's public-private approach brings in very high-level publicand governmental speakers," such as former British prime ministerTony Blair and other national leaders. "When you can bring insomeone like that to speak on behalf of this topic, you attract acompletely different crowd that really involves the top leadership"in both the public and private sectors, Wilson explains.

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Chris Walker, North American director of the Climate Group, saysin a statement regarding CBRE's membership that, "As the world'slargest commercial real estate services firm, CBRE is uniquelypositioned to help slow climate change by working with its clientsto increase energy efficiency in the commercial properties itmanages."In May 2007, CBRE announced a commitment to become carbonneutral in its own operations by 2010—making it the firstcommercial real estate services company to announce such a goal. Inaddition, CBRE is assisting its clients with energy efficiencyprograms at much of the 1.9 billion sf of building space it managesaround the world. The company cites research showing that buildingsare the second highest consumer of power in the world, behindindustry.

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To help it achieve its goal of carbon neutrality, CBRE hasestablished an international task force to aggregate and share bestpractices on a global basis, develop educational programs forclients and employees and develop internal policies and businesspractices. In the US, the company has instituted a wide range ofprograms for the commercial buildings it manages. These include themandated adoption of EPA's Energy Star program, and the adoptionand use of the Building Owners and Managers Association's (BOMA)Building Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP), an extensive educationprogram that teaches commercial real estate professionals how toreduce energy consumption.

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Additionally, more than 150 buildings managed by CBRE's AssetServices Group are undergoing current evaluation for inclusion in apilot portfolio LEED EB program in conjunction with the US GreenBuilding Council. A recent survey by CBRE found that more than twothirds of the buildings it queried are taking proactive stepstoward enhancing energy efficiency, reducing water usage andintroducing paper recycling programs. More than 100 of thecompany's professionals have received LEED AP accreditation.

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Internationally, CBRE has instituted a number of programsdirected toward sustainability in its Europe Middle East Africa andAsia-Pacific regions. Wilson points out that—in addition toreducing its own carbon footprint and assisting tenants andbuilding owners with programs to reduce theirs—the company byvirtue of its size has a lot of influence with vendors andsuppliers to push them in the direction of sustainability.

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