Shifting the Sustainability Paradigm: From Advocacy to Good Business

Fall 2008 Vol 33, No 3
Abstract: Sustainability has become the watchword for imagining a new utopia where the relationship of the human endeavor with the natural world is properly aligned to the benefit of both. But this, like all utopias, lies in the future. The present is a dichotomous public conversation between those wishing fervently for this utopia and those that ostensibly cling to an outmoded and dangerous way of thinking. It is hard to believe that this has anything to do with the practical and profit-driven world of real estate. And yet, sustainable development, sustainable building, corporate social responsibility, climate change policy, greenhouse gas emission trading, federally mandated reductions in building energy consumption and the ever-present marketing of green are just the tip of the iceberg forcing a new conversation onto those who hold, build, operate and invest in real estate assets.