ATLANTA-In a move to improve efficiencies in their departmentsand companies, corporate real estate execs are collecting andanalyzing property data on many fronts. Environmental practices,however, are not actively benchmarked, and an industry standard isstill sorely lacking.

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So say the results of a survey conducted by CoreNet Global andglobal real estate services firm DTZ. Michael Anderson, manager ofCoreNet Global’s Research & Knowledge Center, shared earlyresults with GlobeSt.com in an exclusive pre-release interview.

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“This study confirmed what many of us already knew: You needproper benchmarks in place to justify reorganization,” Andersonsays. “With benchmarking, whether its facilities management orportfolio optimization, the longer and more efficiently youbenchmark, the greater the volume of data you have on which to basesound decisions.”

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According to the survey of more than 200 CRE professionals frommore than 140 companies around the world across a wide range ofsectors, total occupancy costs and the total cost per person arecollected and measured by a majority of the respondents, 87 percentand 82 percent respectively. Comparisons within an organization areby far the most popular benchmarks undertaken by real estateprofessionals, with 81 percent saying that they compare datainternally.

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“The embrace of benchmarking by corporate real estateprofessionals coincides with the increasing strategic role that theCREs are playing in corporate boardrooms gives them a little bitmore ammunition,” Anderson says. “On a whole, though, we just needbetter systems and better industry standards.”

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Sixty percent of respondents revealed that they also benchmarkagainst competitors. However, less than half of all respondentswere able to identify how they captured competitor data. For thosethat do collect such data, the process tends to be ad hoc andinformal, utilizing personal networks, Internet searches, andcommon service providers.

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“Existing benchmarking tools out are not well established,”Anderson says. “We don’t have an industry standard that’s been usedyear after year to allow people to make comparisons. A lot ofpeople have tried very hard and have made a lot of good effort, butthere still hiccups.”

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On the environmental benchmarking front, only approximatelyone-third of the respondents are collecting environmental metricsfor portfolio benchmarking. For those corporations that arecollecting the data, measures focus around CO2 and waterconsumption and the levels of non-recycled waste.

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“The low level of environmental benchmarking is at odds with thesustainability agenda, which is becoming an increasingly importantfactor in the development of corporate real estate strategies,”says Stephen Fleetwood, associate director at global real estateadviser DTZ.

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Although some organizations are at least collecting CO2, waterand waste data, Fleetwood says the environmental agenda is rapidlyevolving and companies need to start looking at other metrics, suchas how much of their power requirements are met by renewable energyand the impact of travel to work patterns and modes.

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“The bottom line is CREs want to know how they can efficientlyand accurately provide an estimated costs for one facility versusanother,” Anderson says. “They want to know what their peers in theindustry are doing and they want to know that the information theyare looking at is reliable. That’s the difficult part. It’s goingto take a lot of effort to get all of reliable informationtogether.”

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