Socially Sustainable Office Buildings - A better business for everyone
Sammanfattning: Buildings account for 39 per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, therefore the way buildings are constructed and utilized plays an important role in the transition to a sustainable future. Environmental Certification Systems (ECS) functions as a catalysator for sustainable solutions within the building industry and is seen as a hygiene factor for property owners today. The market offers numerous environmental certifications for buildings to choose from, and Swedish property owners are frequently users of them. However, most of the environmental certification systems does not cover the social aspects of sustainability that directly include human health and wellbeing in the building. This has led to the creation of the sustainability certification WELL Building Standard – a global certification system for buildings that exclusively addresses the users in the building, in terms of health and wellbeing. There are currently 298 WELL-certified projects around the world, and in Sweden there are six property companies that have registered different project for the certification. Due to the Swedish property owners’ relatively modest efforts regarding the social sustainability work, this paper explores what the drivers is for these six companies into working with a WELL-certification. By exploring that, this study aims to contribute to the understanding on what can drive the willingness of corporations to invest in sustainability certifications in general, and in what ways a WELL-certification can fill a potential gap in the Swedish property market. The findings reveal that a WELL-certification has a unique selling point due to its human-centred approach. It can be a beneficial tool, both for property companies, who may attract new clients, as well as for the tenants that are renting their space, in terms of increasing their own employer brand and corporate reputation. According to Herzberg’s two-factor theory, this human centred approach can be used as motivation factor for the property owners, rather than a hygiene factor. The findings also reveal that there is a need in society for addressing health issues, due to the increasing numbers of sick leave in Sweden the past years. Furthermore, the study reveals that there have been a “competence gap” in the built environment for addressing this kind of issues and that a WELL-certification is therefore helpful in addressing areas of the built environment that the property owners never have thought of before.
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