I had the honor of representing our firm at the White House on Friday at a gathering of participants in the Better Buildings Challenge, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Clinton Global Initiative.
Jones Lang LaSalle was among 30 private-sector companies participating in the BBC by pledging to make building upgrades that will conserve energy. Our firm has committed to develop action plans to reduce energy by 20 percent at buildings under management totaling 98 million square feet by 2020.
It’s an aggressive goal. But our investor and corporate clients are increasingly willing to invest in energy improvements, because they see mounting evidence that there is a strong return on investment, in terms of rent and occupancy gains as well as operational cost savings.
The Clinton Global Initiative has helped develop that body of evidence through its Clinton Climate Initiative, whose executives worked with our firm on the Empire State Building energy retrofit. When I met President Clinton last week, he knew Jones Lang LaSalle from that project, and said, “You guys are doing terrific work in the energy area.”
It’s not every day that a U.S. President says he knows and respects our firm. On Friday, it happened twice. President Obama told me that Marty Nesbitt, a close friend of his and a member of our Board of Directors, has told him great things about our company.
Our professionals add value to properties and client operations in many ways, every day. Expertise in energy and sustainability is just one way we make a difference, but it enhances virtually everything else we do. And when it leads to recognition from the Oval Office, I can’t help thinking we are on the right track.