An elevated commitment; more was asked of the retailers at Burwood Brickworks than retail tenants had ever been asked before.
A terrific group of like-minded tenants all bought into a shared journey.
Retailers contributed to setting a new retail benchmark while re-shaping their own operations.
The motivation for asking retailers to take the Living Building Challenge®™ journey was clear: we wanted to re-set the benchmark as to what was possible in sustainable retail development. We wanted to aim to create the world’s most sustainable shopping centre.
But the pursuit would depend on more than ourselves. It would also depend on retailers agreeing to alter their operations, re-think their fitouts, in some cases invest more capital than normal in establishing a new store, find new suppliers and contractors, commit more resources, undertake extra training and meet more stringent sustainability criteria than they’d ever had to meet before.
These demands cost money. It was 2018/19. Retail as a sector was challenged. The LBC®™ would increase pressure on tenants’ costs and programs.
The ‘hero’ tenants were important. Woolworths, Reading Cinemas and acre Farm & Eatery helped establish the standard. Some meetings were unusual, agenda items like “agricultural/retail zoning” seemed a contradiction, but tenants were happy to let the conversations take new and different turns.
In the end retailers, through a willingness to experiment, materials interrogation, operational curiosity and more, elevated their businesses to meet the demands. In some cases, the approaches national tenants have taken at Burwood Brickworks have been implemented in other stores in their network, such as materials specification choices and waste management.
The individual journeys tenants took as part of the collective will generate ongoing benefits for them, for the industry and for consumers. We thank them for recognising what’s at stake.