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The Benefits of Sustainability Reporting

When it comes to attracting Millennials to cities, few things are as effective as incorporating sustainability principles into the urban landscape. Indeed, 25% of the top 20 qualities Millennials seek out in urban locations are directly tied into the Green movement, including more prudent energy use standards, according to Notable Life.

And as more cities compete directly to attract Millennial talent to their urban centers, they can benefit from advocating publicly for increased sustainability reporting. Fortunately, the advent of energy analytic platforms, including RTIS®, has created new incentives for governments to push for stronger transparency and assertive action on building sustainability matters.

Indeed, property managers throughout cities are increasingly able to use analytics to not only identify wasteful energy practices in buildings, but track how retrofitting and equipment replacement efforts are advancing long-term Green goals. And now more than ever, buildings that meet high standards, as exemplified through the LEED certification, can share their achievements with tenants and the public at large, helping bolster the reputation of Green-oriented urban districts.

Moreover, once just a voluntary exercise, sustainability reporting is increasingly becoming a mandated act – although not always in the U.S. – that regulators use to underscore a commitment to the environment and transparency. As a case in point, take the United Nation’s adoption of Sustainable Development Goals, which calls for “increased reporting by all types of institutions” globally.

Meanwhile, in the past 15 years, regulators such as the European Union and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have made clear their preference toward having companies disclose their level of diversity on corporate boards. While not focused specifically focused on environment issues, such disclosures can add to the general credibility of the organization on sustainability matters.

According to the Public Management Review (PMR), a strong public commitment to sustainability reporting makes a city stand out amongst its peers on core environmental value issues.  This can be an advantage for cities seeking to compete more effectively in attracting Millennials. For example, Hartford, Conn. is seeking to partner more deeply with startups that use data analytics to make business decisions, a strategy that should help further ingrain itself with Gen Y workers, as noted by Artis Energy Intelligence, the provider of RTIS®.

Meanwhile, municipalities such as Washington, D.C., New York, and Chicago have gone even further than reporting their own progress on Green initiatives. They have used new technology to identify how well private buildings in their municipalities have performed in terms of adopting sustainable practices. Real Estate officials are then able to use that data to make more informed decisions on future investments. Ultimately, data-savvy programs such as RTIS® sit at the heart of this emerging process, as their digital technology can quickly identify ineffective infrastructure and weak areas of structures.

And in the broader private sector, sustainability reporting is becoming a growing best practice. The Pace Environment Law Review found that the number of entities adhering to sustainable reporting continues to rise. For example, in 2005, 64% of the top 250 companies embraced sustainable reporting, while 93% did in 2013, with the number expected to be higher today.

One expects the growth of systems such as RTIS® will only aid this trend further.

And one can see first-hand how a city’s commitment to public disclosure can help its reputation, as witnessed by a recent report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Mayors from San Diego, Phoenix, and Orlando described recent sustainability accomplishments in detail and addressed how they transformed the city’s relationship to the environment.

“Phoenix exceeded its 2015 goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and is offering incentives to building owners to make their properties more energy efficient, working to make its own city buildings more energy efficient, and converting all 100,000 city streetlights to LEDs,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said in the ACEEE report. “This recognition is another milestone in what has been a historic sustainability comeback for Phoenix in just the past few years.”

And as more municipalities commit to disclosure, one can only see this movement only taking off further.

Request a complimentary energy efficiency assessment to find out how Artis Energy’s RTIS® energy analytics platform can provide you with the visibility and insight to transform energy from a fixed cost into a distinct competitive advantage.