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Cleantech
M&S To Initiate First Wide-Scale Green Lease Policy in the UK

Marks & Spencer will soon require all of its new retail stores to have green clauses in new leases to facilitate the sharing of waste information and utilities data in a collaborative effort to reduce carbon emissions.

Marks & Spencer will soon require all of its new retail stores to have green clauses in new leases to facilitate the sharing of waste information and utilities data in a collaborative effort to reduce carbon emissions.

The new property lease policy will be announced at next week’s Ecobuild 2013 in London and is aimed at enabling landlords and tenants to better manage buildings' environmental performance.

The agreements will streamline the sharing of waste information such as gas, electricity and water usage in M&S-occupied buildings and encourage a joint approach to investment in eco-building technology such as biomass boilers, LED lighting and rainwater harvesting to further reduce building impacts and costs.

“Currently it can be difficult for landlords and tenants to work together when it comes to a building’s environmental performance, particularly for older leases,” said Clem Constantine, Director of Property at M&S. “There's often no real structure for measurement, incentives or sharing of goals. Green leasing changes this situation as it provides the framework within which both can work together. And both will benefit — a store with a reduced environmental impact and lower costs is more marketable for landlords and more cost effective for tenants to occupy — a genuine win-win.”

The action is part of Plan A, M&S’s sustainability program, which aims to reduce energy use throughout the company’s stores, offices and warehouses by 35 percent by 2015. M&S has already achieved a 28 percent reduction but is looking to make additional progress in shared areas of shopping centers and retail parks.

M&S has forged a partnership with members of the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP), a collaboration of major retail landlords looking to improve the sustainability of existing commercial buildings, to sign 70 retrofit agreements in London, Sheffield and Glasgow.

“Unfortunately, big carbon reductions from the UK’s building stock cannot come only from new stores,” said Constantine. “Seventy percent of current commercial buildings will still exist in 2050, so if we are genuinely going to tackle the problem we have to invest in eco solutions for existing buildings.”

BBP has spent the past five years working on strategies to break down landlord and tenant barriers, culminating in the publication of its Green Lease Toolkit, which served as inspiration for the new M&S policy.

In 2010, Bank of America, Beacon Capital Partners, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase and LaSalle Investment Management signed on to a Green Lease Action Plan aimed at removing barriers to energy efficiency and sustainability in leased office space.

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