Despite gains, China is being urged by expansion-minded corporate real estate executives to establish stricter environmental rules, a call-to-action expected to intensify as the Olympic Games are set to begin in Beijing next month, according to results of a new survey.
Over 250 members of CoreNet Global, an international association of workplace and corporate real estate executives also concluded in the pre-Beijing Olympic Games survey that China’s development stands to gain considerably as its capital hosts the Summer Games for the first time.
At best, 22% of CoreNet Global survey respondents said the Chinese were committed half-heartedly to sustainable office construction. An overwhelming 78% said The Middle Kingdom is in need of stricter environmental protection standards.
Some respondents are dubious about the future of sustainable building practices in China. Thirty percent said the intense spotlight of the Olympic Games would not move the environmental needle at all, while 62% are more optimistic, saying the Games will prompt incremental progress towards more sustainable construction in China.
“What CoreNet Global members are saying is that we applaud the environmental progress the Chinese have made, but we firmly believe there is a great deal of room for improvement,” said Dr. Prentice Knight, CEO of CoreNet Global.
Knight added that, “a majority of our members around the world feel that the Beijing Olympic Games will do much to intensify Chinese development and enhance Beijing’s image as a development hot spot.”
While 57% think that Beijing was primed for an economic boom regardless of its status as host city of the Olympic Games, an overwhelming 65% believe the gains may be superficial saying that the two-week event will only enhance China’s “image” as a prime development opportunity.
Improved “image,” might be an important factor for the Beijing Games. Forty-nine percent said enhanced perceptions of China might be the Beijing Games’ greatest legacy. Commuter trains and the transportation infrastructure that was built for the Olympics was considered by respondents to be the Games’ second greatest legacy, followed by brand identity for Beijing, hotels and the sports stadiums that were constructed.
More specifically, CoreNet Global survey respondents said there is a divide in what the Olympics will mean for capital investments in China:
· 50% said the Olympics will spur increased capital investments · 41% said they will stay the same · 9% think the Olympics will cause capital investments to decrease after Games CoreNet Global also asked its members to rank how Beijing’s predecessors, dating back to 1994, have benefited the most from hosting the Olympic Games. Those cities, which have benefited the most, are: · 36%- Sydney · 25%- Atlanta · 21%- Athens · 11%- Salt Lake City · 4%- Lillehammer · 2%- Nagano · 1%- Turin “Beijing will soon join Sydney, Atlanta and Athens as economic development laboratories for Vancouver, London and Sochi, Russia as these cities join an elite group of Olympic hosts poised to benefit from one of the world’s greatest development spectacles,” concluded Dr. Knight. Respondents to the survey included 256 CoreNet Global end-users, service providers and economic developers from North America, Asia, Europe and Australia.