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Preventing Property Servitude

Environmental management, Modern Slavery, Sustainable Procurement

Published 19th Dec 22 - by Hayley Jarick

The property industry is in mid-transformation. Humanity and environmental responsibility are returning to the supply chain. Tenants and owners are asking for it. Developers are specifying it. Architects and Engineers are designing for it. Builders are bidding to materialise it. And property services teams are gearing up to maintain it. But desire has not always metamorphosed into value. Along the supply chain, customers are asking suppliers to accept the same or less remuneration and be more. More ethical. More responsible. More collaborative. More environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

The property services industry is no stranger to this. Leaders are investing in third-party certification of environmental claims. Leaders are investing in third-party certification of services. Leaders are investing in eradicating modern slavery from the industry. Leaders are investing in collaborations like becoming Fellows of the School. These investments must be funded by increased sales to remain sustainable. Do more. Earn more. It’s the only way to stop property services from degrading into property servitude.

It would be easy to blame others for this trend. However, the social change that is needed to change this value chain starts with each and every one of us.

The National Retail Association forecast Australians will spend a total of $60.6 billion throughout the Christmas trade period, with the last ten days to Christmas expected to top 2021 figures by 3.9%.

I hope that this increase in spending is sustainable, ethical and consciously considering the true impact of each buying decision.
I hope because every dollar we spend will impact us well after the bills are paid.
I hope because our choices thus far have not resulted in great outcomes. This year…

  • Humanity used all the biological resources that Earth regenerates during the entire year by 28 July, and if all humans consumed like Australians, that date would have been 23 March. {link}
  • The 2022 Circularity Gap Report revealed we only cycle 8.6% of what we use. In 1972, as the Club of Rome’s report Limits to Growth was published, the world consumed 28.6 billion tonnes. By 2019, it surpassed 100 billion tonnes. Rising waste levels are accompanying the rapid acceleration of consumption.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report noted climate trends and extreme events have combined with exposure and vulnerabilities to cause major impacts for many natural systems, with some experiencing or at risk of irreversible change in Australia and in New Zealand. Socioeconomic costs arising from climate variability and change have increased.
  • The Australian Government 2021 State of the Environment report was released in July 2022, and its overview is depressing. “Overall, the state and trend of the environment of Australia are poor and deteriorating as a result of increasing pressures from climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and resource extraction.”
  • In July, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released findings that “over two in five Australians aged 16-85 years (43.7% or 8.6 million people) had experienced a mental disorder at some time in their life”
  • In 2022 Walk Free released new Global Slavery Index figures showing 49.6 million people live in modern slavery. 1 in 4 are children. 54% are women and girls. Find out how many slaves work for you.

I hope we can be more transparent, collaborative, and empathetic and make better choices.