Sustainable development

Lend Lease, one of the world’s leading fully integrated property solutions providers, is leading the way in the creation of the next generation of sustainable places. Rod Leaver, Lend Lease’s Australian CEO, explains how


Lend Lease is one of the world’s leading fully integrated property solutions providers, with strong development, investment management, project and construction management and asset and property management capabilities.

Globally, our assets under management across Australia, Asia, the UK and the US, total over $13bn. With 11 funds, our global investor base comprises over 140 institutional investors from around the world comprising sovereign wealth funds, large public and private pension funds, insurance companies and other large institutional investors.

We believe sustainability creates long-term commercial value and reduces operational and financial risk. Lend Lease’s Investment Management business committed to this belief in 2007 through a Sustainable Responsible Investment Policy.

This framework creates a formal framework for all Lend Lease managed funds, ensuring active commitment to incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) measures into investment decision making and ownership practices.

We are committed to partnering with like-minded organisations and governments to create the next generation of environmentally and socially sustainable precincts where people live, work, shop, learn and play.

Our global reach and understanding of property developed over half a century of market cycles, enables us to achieve the best property outcomes for all stakeholders. With approximately 10,000 employees and a geographical network that spans across Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas, we are focused on creating and building innovative and sustainable solutions, forging partnerships and delivering strong investment returns.

Critical to our success are the partnerships we build and maintain in these markets. Our stakeholders are diverse – from our employees, clients, suppliers, shareholders, governments, regulators, investors, competitors to the broader communities in which we operate.

Impact of the built environment
The built environment determines our quality of life. It provides our homes, schools, shopping centres, offices, hospitals and parks, and the infrastructure on which we depend.

According to data from the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs, in 2008, for the first time, half the world’s population (3.2 billion people) lived in cities, and that figure is expected to grow to 70 percent by 2050.

Urban population growth needs local resources and infrastructure to support it and if the growing urban population is not managed well – local resources and infrastructure may not be able to support it.

Interestingly cities only occupy two per cent of the world’s landmass, yet according to the Clinton Climate Initiative, cities contribute up to 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

For a number of years now we have seen great advances in the development of green buildings to help mitigate some of the environmental and resource impacts of the built environment.

Some of Lend Lease’s major development projects offer examples of leading edge green buildings as well as demonstrating a prevailing trend within the property sector – to move beyond delivering individual green buildings to developing sustainable precincts.

From sustainable buildings to sustainable precincts
Our definition and understanding of what a sustainable building is has evolved and now includes elements like energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste management, improved indoor environment quality among others.

Green buildings are no longer just the domain of the commercial office market, with sustainable residential, education, healthcare and other public and institutional facilities also transforming the market.

Whilst new green buildings have certainly made a significant contribution towards transforming the market and contributing to the development of sustainable cities – we believe the future goes beyond individual buildings, encompassing green infrastructure and precinct scale solutions.

Precinct development associated with major cities provides the opportunity to look for economy of scale design and engineering solutions that address sustainable issues such as stormwater management, energy supply, water supply, wastewater treatment and waste collection/treatment.

However, to extract the full value proposition and opportunity we need to commit to capital and strategic initiatives up front. As well as finding the right balance between integration and connection, regulation and legislative solutions, commercially viable outcomes and confidence with new technology.

It is ideally not an incremental process with precinct wide infrastructure solutions not being an easy add-on or retrofit feature towards the end of a project.

Working in partnership
Moving the agenda from buildings into infrastructure and precinct solutions also requires adapting the delivery of development projects, requiring increased engagement and partnership arrangements with key stakeholders.None of this can be realised without these partnerships and one of our most important global partners is the Clinton Climate Initiative.

In May 2009, the Clinton Climate Initiative, a project of the William J. Clinton Foundation, launched a global program developed in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council, called the Climate Positive Development Program. The program supports the development of large-scale urban projects that demonstrate cities can grow in ways that are “climate positive.” Climate Positive real estate developments will strive to reduce the amount of on-site CO2 emissions to below zero.

This program builds upon our vision for the next generation of real estate. Lend Lease is working with respective government partners on the delivery of three of the 17 projects. These are Victoria Harbour (Melbourne), Elephant & Castle (London) and Barangaroo (Sydney).

What’s different with this initiative is that the other 14 projects are not our competition – they are our new global partners. Lessons learnt are shared across project teams to support integrated precinct developments.

Case study: Elephant & Castle
Lend Lease is lead developer of the £1.5bn Elephant & Castle project in the UK. It lies in the 170 acre regeneration opportunity area within the London Borough of Southwark and is one of the most significant regeneration schemes in Europe.

The development aims to create a new district for Central London, to include thousands of new homes together with a substantial retail offering complemented by a new park, tree-lined streets, high quality green open spaces and a traditional seven-day market, which will provide training opportunities and new jobs for the immediate community.

In May 2009, Elephant & Castle, was chosen as one of 16 founding projects of the Climate Positive Development Program.

It will strive to reduce the amount of onsite CO2 emissions to below zero through focused areas of activity.

This includes implementing economically viable innovations in buildings, the generation of clean energy, waste management, water management, and transportation and outdoor lighting systems. Elephant and Castle is one of ten low carbon zones identified by the London mayor and tasked with the local production of less-polluting and less-wasteful energy to fuel households and businesses in these areas.

In Australia, Barangaroo is a 22 hectare urban renewal project that has been described as a “once in a 200 year opportunity” to regenerate this former container port on the western edge of Sydney’s central business district. Lend Lease is the developer of Barangaroo South, the southern 7.5 hectares of the site, and plans to create one of the greenest and most sustainable residential and business communities anywhere in the world.

The $6bn transformation of this former industrial land hands back to the people of Sydney over 11 hectares of public space including a new natural headland, new waterfront parks, a water cove, public promenades, landscaping, remediation and connections to public transport.

Barangaroo South’s environmental and social sustainability targets establish new global benchmarks for 21st Century community living, using One Planet principles including carbon neutral, water positive and zero waste outcomes.

These targets will be delivered using a combination of the latest environmental design methods, green building techniques and materials, green-skills training, precinct-wide infrastructure, on-site water and waste management and both on and off site renewable energy generation. All commercial buildings are targeted to achieve a minimum 6 star green star ratings.

This is supported by the introduction of new transport links including ferry services, light rail, bicycle paths and bus links, together with strong pedestrian links to and from the City’s main rail terminal. A strong focus on delivering vibrant public places that celebrate Sydney’s waterfront, and new cultural facilities support the social sustainability objectives of the project.

Lend Lease’s multi-disciplined, collaborative approach with strong partnership and support from key stakeholders, including future residents, tenants and visitors, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and the NSW State Government, are critical success factors.

The future
Whilst new green buildings have certainly made a significant contribution towards transforming the market – the future as we see it, goes beyond individual green buildings, encompassing green infrastructure and precinct scale solutions.

These solutions include incorporating green refurbishment of existing buildings, influencing supply chains, creating demand for green skills and employment and creating sustainable urban regeneration.

We don’t have all the answers on sustainability, it is an ongoing journey of discovery and education for all of us, but the more we can share ideas and involve our key stakeholders and community the stronger our chance of success.