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Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Retail: the Impact of Green Buildings on People and Profit

18 Feb 2016

The WorldGBC has demonstrated that low carbon, resource efficient and environmentally sensitive buildings can enhance the health, wellbeing and productivity of building users. That is a very strong element of the business case for green buildings.

The report forms one of the first major outputs from WorldGBC’s Better Places for People campaign, designed to fast-track the demand for and supply of buildings which support and enhance the health, wellbeing and productivity of the people within them. Fundamentally therefore, this is about action.

It does not purport to be the final word on the topic by any means, because this will be a long journey. But hopefully it will act as a key milestone or staging post, which serves to engage decisionmakers, share lessons learned and create momentum. This is targeted at the retail sector and those who provide and manage retail space and the employers who occupy space. But there are also important findings which should be relevant to a wider audience.

This report has identified five strategies that companies can adopt to help them use the Retail Metrics Framework comprising three categories: environment, experience, and economics. These have been listed by level of difficulty from easiest to most difficult:

  1. Assess what employees and customers have already said about your store environments (through staff surveys, social media, etc.)
  2. Identify stores that have undergone refurbishments and compare financial results in these stores pre- and post-refurbishment
  3. Identify green stores within a portfolio and work backwards from the economic data to review relationships with environmental features/performance
  4. Sort the portfolio into “best-performing” and “worst-performing” stores and look for correlations with store environments and worker/customer experiences
  5. Trial the metrics in one or more stores, using a baseline starting today

These strategies, and the authors' advice to individual actors, have been tested in the market – piloted within organisations who have been willing to share
their experiences. Their feedback demonstrates the usefulness of the Framework and how other retailers could benefit:

  1. Executive leadership on this issue can drive powerful corporate results
  2. The Framework helps companies draw out existing but underutilised strategically important data and expertise
  3. The Framework can provide actionable intelligence even if data and engagement are limited
  4. The Framework can provide much better “joined up” thinking within companies leading to more consistent and profitable approaches
  5. The Framework explains to individuals within companies how they can take ownership over the issue and better their individual (as well as company) performance


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