Developed by acclaimed Harvard academics Michael E. Porter and Mark Kramer, the notion of ‘shared value’ is a management strategy in which companies find business opportunities in social problems.
Inspired by Australia’s commitment to target zero carbon emissions for new buildings by 2030, Frasers Property Australia embraced this concept as a framework for the development of their ambitious retail project, Burwood Brickworks shopping centre.
Frasers Property Australia is aiming to create the world’s most sustainable retail development, one that achieves the highest global sustainability standard: Living Building Challenge certification.
Burwood Brickworks shopping centre: a living, breathing case study
According to Frasers Property’s development manager Jack Davis, the approach started with a commitment to the triple-bottom line: a quantifiable financial benefit to the company, coupled with measurable impact on the community and the environment.
“This project, envisioned to be the most sustainable shopping centre in the world, will set a new global benchmark in terms of what’s possible in an environmental sense,” he said.
Generally, environmental performance is possible, at a cost, and while Burwood Brickworks has been a catalyst for collaboration with suppliers to provide healthier materials and competitive rates, the bigger challenge is demonstrating the financial and social benefits.
According to Davis, this will be achieved in three ways at Burwood Brickworks:
A larger prescribed catchment. An increase in catchment of four to 5 per cent per annum has been forecast as shoppers are drawn to a unique experience created by a first-in market rooftop urban farm that complements an exciting dining and entertainment focus.
“In other words, more people will come through our doors than they would a standard retail centre in the same location, because ours will deliver an elevated experience and comfort,” claims Davis.
An uplift in dwell time, increasing the total retail spend. Natural, healthy and restorative spaces – known as biophilic design – is forecast to result in a four to five percent increase in retail spend in comparison to a normal Burwood shopping centre.
As people spend more time in the centre, they will likely depart with more of their disposable income on good and services.
A supplementary source of revenue derived from the urban farm. Burwood Brickworks shopping centre’s 2,000sq m rooftop urban farm is a capital investment that requires revenue streams to offset its cost.
Frasers Property Australia is forecasting revenue through education, tourism, function space hire and restaurants.
Activated day and night, the urban farm will also provide a destination for, as Davis describes, the "rurban daytripper" – people living in urban environments seeking out a rural experience, before returning to the modern luxuries of their urban dwelling.
The 12,700sqm Burwood Brickworks shopping centre, to be anchored by Woolworths and a proposed Dan Murphy’s, is a case in point. The centre will be a major drawcard to a catchment of some 100,000 people, with a cinema, child care centre, medical centre, health and fitness operators proposed in the tenant mix.
Taking an open-source approach to a new operating system
Most developers typically seek to protect the intellectual property (IP) associated with their new projects.
Frasers Property Australia is taking the opposite approach at Burwood Brickworks shopping centre as the challenge of climate change – and the opportunity for shared value – become more prominent.
“We believe shared value encompasses shared information, shared knowledge. There is a radical need for the industry to collaborate if we are to meet international emission reduction obligations,” says Davis.
The developer intends to make its experiences in creating Burwood Brickworks shopping centre available to the industry for broader examination once it’s complete.
Why? The clock is ticking on a zero carbon future
The importance of the shared value concept for Australia stems from a commitment for zero carbon emissions from new buildings by 2030.
“The incentive is the bottom line. If projects don’t stack up financially you won’t get investment from the private sector.
“The reality is, the only way to achieve lasting change and be carbon neutral is to focus on developing the knowledge to make improved environmental performance more commercially rewarding.
“If we do, the pace of change will increase exponentially,” concludes Davis.
As appeared in The Urban Developer, August 2018