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CHICAGO-A survey recently released on businesses and sustainability has found that most businesses have implemented sustainability programs or are in the process of starting them. Jones Lang LaSalle, based here, was the lead sponsor for the survey. Other sponsors included A.T. Kearney, Bank of America, Orange, PricewaterhouseCoopers and SAP. A total of 1,254 executives, in various businesses, participated in the survey.

More than half of respondents, 53%, said that they currently have a sustainability policy while another 23% of respondents are developing a policy. Still, “We are seeing a pretty wide variety,” says Dan Probst, chairman of the global environmental sustainability board at JLL. Some companies are just beginning to look at sustainability issues while “others are a little bit further along and have been working for a couple of years and created internal programs,” he says. The findings echo a survey done by Real Estate Media in September 2007, which showed that the majority of the 392 professionals who responded have a commitment to being green, but that companies still have a long way to go, such as having performance monitoring, training and separate line items in their budgets.

In the JLL survey, more than half of all respondents, 52%, said energy efficiency was one of their main priorities when it comes to sustainability. Additionally, 55% of survey respondents have set policies in the past five years to reduce energy consumption, according to a survey report. “For any corporation, particularly if you are not a manufacturer, 40% to 50% of your total carbon emissions are probably associated with your real estate occupancy,” Probst says. When a new building is constructed, there is an extra cost to make it “green” but “that premium has diminished quite a bit,” he says. Making an existing building more “green” has a “pretty attractive payback” as those buildings “typically have greatly reduced energy costs of 30% to 40%,” Probst says.

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