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U.S. Green Building Council Report Reveals Prominence of LEED Certification Among Major Retailers Pursuing ESG Goals

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently released a new report, LEED in Motion: Retail, showing the prevalence of LEED certification in retail spaces around the world. LEED is used in more than 12,500 retail locations globally, allowing major brands like TD Bank, Starbucks, 7-Eleven and more to demonstrate achievement of ESG goals to their investors, customers and other stakeholders.

As brands with brick-and-mortar retail spaces seek new ways to stand out from online competitors and peers, sustainability has become an asset. By leveraging LEED, retailers effectively communicate their values to consumers and employees, while also reducing energy costs and minimizing waste. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. LEED certification is available for virtually all building types, including neighborhoods, cities and communities.

Research from the Retail Industry Leaders Association shows that 93 per cent of global consumers expect the brands they use to support social and environmental issues. An estimated 68 million adult Americans base their purchases on their values—personal, social and environmental—and say they will spend up to 20 per cent more on environmentally sound products. This clear preference for responsible business is pushing the retail sector to embrace policies and practices that express their dedication to sustainability and social equity.

Green buildings offer a practical solution for companies seeking to future-proof and to make an immediate impact on climate mitigation. By building offices, manufacturing facilities and stores that deploy green building strategies, retailers can truly embrace a triple bottom line philosophy—supporting the health of their employees and customers; promoting environmental conservation; and saving money on energy, water and waste management.

Proven performance is the future of sustainable retail development, and third-party verification is an important accountability measure. LEED affirms the integrity of green building commitments by ensuring completed projects deliver on intended outcomes identified in the design stage. LEED certification is available for new and existing retail buildings, as well as new and existing interior spaces. Retail owners and operators can learn more about LEED and the certification process online at usgbc.org.

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