Contact us

Sustainable Design Strategies: Advancing the 'E' in ESG

11 Sep, 2023

5 mins read

In the realm of modern business, the paradigm has irrevocably shifted towards sustainability, driven by the triple pillars of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations. Among these, the 'E' holds a profound significance, emphasizing the indispensable need for ecologically responsible practices. However, it is not merely a matter of compliance with regulations; it has evolved into a strategic imperative for organizations seeking to align their operations with global environmental goals. One pivotal arena where this commitment to sustainability can manifest and generate measurable impacts is workplace design. In this article, we undertake a scholarly exploration of sustainable design strategies within workplace environments. By examining pertinent case studies, industry best practices, and the quantifiable economic advantages of adopting sustainable design elements, we illuminate a path toward an ESG-driven, ecologically sensitive future.

The Context of Environmental Sustainability

In an age where environmental consciousness is paramount, the corporate world is being compelled to proactively address its ecological footprint. Contemporary businesses must recognize that sustainability is not merely an ethical responsibility but a strategic asset. It is within the confines of workplace design that this commitment to sustainability can be actualized.

Real-World Case Studies in Sustainable Design

Case Study 1: Unilever Office - LEED Certified

Unilever, a global leader in the consumer goods sector, sets a remarkable example of sustainability through its LEED Certified office. Unilever's commitment to sustainability goes beyond borders, incorporating not only eco-friendly materials from global suppliers but also sourcing locally, thereby supporting regional businesses and minimizing transportation-related carbon emissions.

The workspace ingeniously harnesses natural light, capitalizing on a vast central void within the building to flood the office with ambient sunlight, reducing the need for artificial lighting and further reducing energy consumption. Additionally, Unilever's dedication to responsible water usage is exemplified through an advanced water treatment system that efficiently recycles and reuses water, contributing to water conservation efforts and demonstrating their holistic approach to sustainability. This commitment translates into tangible economic benefits, including reduced utility costs and a significantly reduced environmental footprint, aligning harmoniously with Unilever's corporate ethos.

Case Study 2: Savills Office - Gold LEED Certificate

Savills, a global leader in real estate services, stands as an exemplar of sustainable workplace design with its Gold LEED-certified office. The organization's substantial investment underscores a profound commitment to environmental responsibility. The office maximizes natural light through expansive windows, reducing reliance on artificial lighting and fostering a brighter, more invigorating workspace. An intelligent lighting system with sensors ensures optimal energy use, adapting to real-time external conditions.

The new Office of Savills leverages the natural light with a smart lighting system to not only optimize the energy but also enhance the employee's well-being.

The new Office of Savills leverages the natural light with a smart lighting system to not only optimize the energy but also enhance the employee's well-being.

Savills champions water conservation with precise monitoring in toilets and shower rooms. A thoughtful selection of eco-friendly materials underscores their environmental values. The inclusion of a dedicated bicycle park encourages eco-friendly commuting and fosters a culture of sustainability. A robust waste classification system minimizes waste generation and promotes recycling. Savills' Gold LEED certification not only highlights their dedication to sustainability but also reaps substantial benefits, enhancing employee well-being, realizing cost savings, and creating a workspace that mirrors their unwavering commitment to ecological responsibility.

Prioritizing the sustainable materials in the new Savills Workplace.

Prioritizing the sustainable materials in the new Savills Workplace.

Case Study 3: Jotun Office - Silver LEED Certificate

Jotun, a leading coatings and paint manufacturer, champions sustainability within its office environment, which is situated in an industrial zone. Their commitment extends to ensuring that the working environment for office employees remains pristine in all aspects. This dedication encompasses clean air, water, sound, and acoustic conditions, prioritizing the well-being and productivity of their workforce.

Moreover, Jotun's newly designed office employs an intelligent lighting system equipped with sensors. This innovative system automatically adjusts the intensity of light based on external environmental factors. By harnessing natural light when available and optimizing artificial lighting as needed, Jotun not only enhances energy efficiency but also provides employees with an adaptable and comfortable workspace.

These conscientious design choices epitomize Jotun's holistic approach to sustainability, reaffirming their commitment to environmental stewardship while fostering a conducive and responsive work environment for their employees.

Industry Best Practices

Beyond the illustrative case studies, sustainable workplace design rests upon a foundation of industry best practices. To bolster environmental sustainability in the workplace, organizations should consider:

1. Strategic Energy Efficiency

Deploying energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems, and appliances to significantly diminish energy consumption, accompanied by the integration of smart technologies for resource optimization.

2. Resource Conservation

Prioritizing the use of recycled and sustainable materials for furnishings and finishes, thereby extending product lifespan and minimizing environmental impact.

3. Natural Ventilation

Designing workspaces that facilitate natural ventilation and capitalize on natural light, subsequently enhancing employee comfort and reducing energy costs.

4. Waste Reduction

Incorporating waste reduction initiatives such as recycling programs and waste diversion systems to curtail the environmental repercussions of daily operations.

5. Certifications for Sustainability

Pursuing recognized green building certifications like LEED, BREEAM, or WELL, ensuring adherence to globally acknowledged sustainability benchmarks.

Quantifying the Economic Advantages

The economic benefits derived from sustainable workplace design are formidable. Organizations investing in sustainability within their workspace experience:

  • Cost Savings: The reduction in energy and water consumption translates into substantial cost savings over time, reinforcing the case for sustainable design.

  • Enhanced Productivity: Design elements that prioritize employee well-being, such as abundant natural light and superior air quality, augment productivity and job satisfaction.

  • Elevated Brand Value: A commitment to sustainability augments an organization's reputation, attracting eco-conscious clientele and top-tier talent.

In Conclusion: Pioneering an ESG-Infused Future

Sustainable workplace design, once viewed as a niche trend, has blossomed into a strategic imperative with far-reaching implications. The case studies of Unilever, Savills, and Jotun serve as vivid exemplars of the tangible, quantifiable advantages that await organizations that elect to make sustainability an intrinsic facet of their workspace. By judiciously embracing industry best practices and pursuing internationally recognized certifications, organizations lay the groundwork for an ESG-infused future where economic prosperity and ecological stewardship coalesce seamlessly.


Head Office

Location:1st Floor, 56 Thu Khoa Huan Building, Ben Thanh Ward, Dist. 1
Phone:+84 28 3827 3660
Fax:+84 28 3827 3661

Hanoi Branch

Location:193 - 195 Kham Thien, Dong Da Dist., Ha Noi
Phone:+84 24 3217 1792
Fax:+84 24 3217 1793