Ecological Footprint case study
The GPT Group applies Ecological Footprint to its retail portfolio
The GPT Group is one of the largest property groups in Australia. Since listing in 1971, GPT has built a quality portfolio of Australian assets across the major markets and sectors including retail, office, industrial/business park and hotel/tourism. The Group also provides investors with exposure to a range of assets in the US and Europe through its Joint Venture with Babcock & Brown.
Committed to understanding how big the retail footprint really is, GPT were inspired by EPA Victoria’s Ecological Footprint Calculator for commercial projects. EPA, Global Footprint Network and GPT worked in partnership for 18 months to develop a useable tool that assists retail tenants and owners to identify and understand the environmental impacts of retail design and operational practices. As a vital industry sector, The GPT Group recognize their responsibility to understand the impact of retail but needed a tool to facilitate this in a meaningful way. The result is the Ecological Footprint Calculator (Retail Base and Tenants).
"Through this process GPT found the Footprint concept and calculators helpful in communicating the business and environmental benefits of incorporating sustainable design principles and materials in the redevelopment of its shopping centres, including Melbourne Central."
Mark Fookes – Head of Retail, The GPT Group
Findings from early work are compelling. The impact of standard practice retail development (base building and tenants combined) is approximately 2,800 Global m2 of footprint per m2 of Gross Leasable Space. The base building accounts for approximately 40% of this total. Redesign work has identified the potential to reduce this impact by up to 40% where owners and tenants work together towards leading sustainable design and operational practice.
“The footprint has also shown that there is nowhere to hide, as it looks at all aspects of our impact. Where we may make tactical gains on water at one-site and energy gains at another, the footprint levels the development playing field and keeps you honest.”
Anthony McNulty – General Manager Retail Development
The Ecological Footprint Calculator for Retail and Retail Tenants considers five primary resource elements including loss of bio-productive land; resource and greenhouse intensity of building materials; the energy and water intensity of operation and global impacts of staff and consumer travel patterns. The tool has been designed to be simple and easy to use and provides information about the proposed design relative to best practice performance benchmarks. It also enables GPT and tenants to explore the ecological implications of their design and operations.
GPT has also continued to expand the capability of the Calculator and is using it as a primary reporting tool for their A$480 million Rouse Hill Town Centre retail development in New South Wales. The GPT Group are engaging tenants in sustainability by incorporating application of the Calculator into leasing agreements.
A public version of the Ecological Footprint Calculator for Retail and Retail Tenants is available at www.epa.vic.gov.au. For more on GPT and Corporate Responsibility, please visit www.gpt.com.au.
Image below: Model of the Rouse Hill Town Center, outside Sydney NSW