Sustainability failing in retail sector due to 'landlord mistrust'
Most shopping centre retailers are not buying into the sustainability agenda due to mistrust issues around leasing arrangements, according to new research.
Traditional adverse relationships between shopping centre landlords and retailers are seen as a barrier to 'greening up' outlets - apart from larger companies such as Marks & Spencer, Tesco and the John Lewis Partnership, there is almost no evidence that retailers are moving towards greener retail outlets.
The study, published by the College of Estate Management, found that despite the introduction of green leases, designed to encourage the use of buildings more resource-efficiently, retailers worry that landlords might pass on costs of any sustainable improvements to them.
The research found evidence of more take-up of green leases in multi-tenanted office buildings than in shopping centres.
Under the current economic climate, increasing pressures are driving shopping centre landlords and tenants together in a united effort to reduce costs.
While the study concludes that there are signs of movement, with some landlords discussing environmental improvements to shops with tenants, it highlighted significant trust issues between the two parties.
"The inherent nature of the landlord/retailer relationship is not conducive to working in partnership as it is not based on trust, and poor communication is prevalent," the report stated.
It further pointed out that shopping centre landlords only control common parts of the centre, and have limited influence on retailers, for example, as to how a shop is lit up outside business hours.