In the first survey ever of estate and letting agents’ attitudes towards the environment and sustainability, it’s revealed that more than a quarter of agents (27%) see sustainability as a ‘box-ticking exercise’. And shockingly, almost nine in ten firms (87%) don’t have a net zero strategy for reducing their carbon emissions
The findings come in a report from home set-up service, Just Move In – itself a B-Corp organisation which sets sustainability alongside profit as one of its key drivers.
In a more positive vein, the report also discovered that more than half (54%) believe the issue is becoming more important for the industry, with only a third of agents (35%) believing their firm is currently sustainable enough. The report, aptly titled Getting Our House In Order, questioned more than 150 UK agencies in June this year.
Many agents realise the benefits of sustainability in boosting their reputation and bottom line. Almost three fifths of agents (58%) thought that being eco-friendly could improve profitability, and two thirds (66%) say that poor green credentials would harm the business.
Following on from last year’s Sold On Sustainability guide, which offered agents practical help and advice, the new report looks into agents’ performance in six key areas: energy use, waste, recycling, the office environment, transport, and initiatives.
Five best adopted eco-practices by agents
The best adopted sustainability practices by agents include using digital apps to share files, encouraging the use of e-brochures to reduce paper waste, using video calls to minimise travel, switching to energy efficient light bulbs, and using reusable cups and bottles.
|Use digital apps to share files||91%|
|Encourage digital brochures to save paper||89%|
|Use video conferencing to cut travel||85%|
|Use energy efficient light bulbs||83%|
|Use reusable cups and bottles||83%|
Five least adopted eco-practices by agents
The least used measures include using eco-friendly cleaning products, switching to a green energy supplier, choosing energy-efficient appliances, getting a smart electricity meter and using recycled paper.
|Use green cleaning products||33%|
|Use a green energy supplier||43%|
|Consider energy rating when buying appliances||45%|
|Use a smart electricity meter||45%|
|Use recycled paper||54%|
When it comes to transport, one in six agencies (16%) have electric company cars, and a fifth of firms have hybrid vehicles (20%). A third of agents (36%) said members of their team cycled to work, and three in ten (29%) said they used public transport when necessary.
A quarter of agents (26%) always consider eco-credentials when choosing a supplier, with the same amount (26%) never doing so. About half of agents (47%) sometimes take them into account.
With the Climate Change Committee warning that the UK won’t meet its legally binding climate change targets unless it eliminates greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, the report stresses how agents can play an important role in reducing households’ environmental impact.
The report is part of Just Move In’s ongoing Agents For Sustainability campaign, which is leading the fight against climate change in the domestic property sector. Here at The Neg, we are joined by Hamptons, Agents Together and B Lab in supporting the campaign.
The report offers agents practical tips and underlines the business benefits of an eco-friendly approach. Sustainable strategies like cutting waste and identifying efficiencies can boost productivity and profits. Sustainability also offers excellent PR opportunities and helps agencies to attract new customers and recruit and retain staff.
Ross Nichols, Co-founder of Just Move In (pictured), said: “Estate agents and letting agents are on the front line in the battle against climate change and have a great opportunity to influence customers to embrace sustainability.
“There are some easy wins for agencies, with less than half of firms switching to a green energy supplier and using a smart electricity meter. These changes make a big difference and are the first steps towards helping the industry embrace net zero.”
Click on the cover to access the report.