The purpose of this paper is to set out to explore the similarities and differences between jargon used to describe future‐focussed commercial building product. This is not so much an exercise in semantics as an attempt to demonstrate that responses to challenges facing the construction and property sectors may have more to do with language than is generally appreciated.
This is a conceptual analysis which draws upon relevant literature.
Social responsibility and sustainability are often held to be much the same thing, with each term presupposing the existence of the other. Clearly, however, there are incidences where sustainable commercial property investment (SCPI) may not be particularly socially responsible, despite being understood as an environmentally friendly initiative. By contrast, socially responsible assets, at least in theory, should always be more sustainable than mainstream non‐ethically based investment. Put simply, the expression of social responsibility in the built environment may evoke, and thereby deliver, a more sustainable product, as defined by wider socially inclusive parameters.
The findings show that promoting an ethic of social responsibility may well result in more SCPI. Thus, the further articulation and celebration of social responsibility concepts may well help to further advance a sustainable property investment agenda, which is arguably more concerned about demonstrability of efficiency than wider public good outcomes.
The idea that jargon affects outcomes is not new. However, this idea has rarely, if ever, been applied to the distinctions between social responsibility and sustainability. Even a moderate re‐emphasis on social responsibility in preference to sustainability may well provide significant future benefits with respect to the investment, building and refurbishment of commercial property.
Kimmet, P. (2009), "Comparing “socially responsible” and “sustainable” commercial property investment", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 470-480. https://doi.org/10.1108/14635780910982340Download as .RIS
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