Interview with Entrepreneur Gulin Yucel, Europe
How is Sustineo supporting/promoting the principles of sustainability in Turkey?
Sustineo Istanbul’s mission is to promote the right definition of sustainability. Moreover, we aim to be a leader facilitating the translation of abstract sustainability concepts into tangible actions for all types of organizations (businesses, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations).
We do this by informing, inspiring, and helping leaders to integrate sustainability in the core of their operations. We bring in business intelligence on sustainability concepts, help to plan for a specific ‘sustainability agenda’, and execute with precision and integrity, to ensure a healthy transition and transformation.
We believe that the business world, primarily the big corporations, will be leading the way for the sustainability transformation. Planetary boundaries and social risks are causing businesses to lose a lot in terms of monetary and non-monetary (prestige, respect, etc.) benefits, and hence threaten their survival.
On the other hand, if planned carefully and innovatively, there might be significant savings and new opportunities for businesses. Our role at Sustineo Istanbul is to be able to demonstrate businesses risks and opportunities, measure the impact, help them to develop their own plan, and manage the change.
Is there a certain sector more prone to adopting the ‘green’ principles?
In theory, there is no sector that is more prone to adapting the ‘green’ principles; the benefits and risks apply for all sectors. In practice, the adoption of ‘green’ building principles varies. We see the education sector (private) adopt the ‘green’ building standards in their campuses and sites. Currently, we see private universities advertising their ‘green’ campus facilities. This is not surprising and, if we consider that the clientele is young people who care about environmental and social issues, this is very promising.
We also see large corporations, mostly global companies, asking for ‘green’ building standards as part of their operational standards. We see some ‘green’ museums and public buildings. Despite some private real estate projects with ‘green’ building standards, there seems to be no appeal from mass consumers as yet.
What are the main implementation issues when ‘going green’?
The major issues when ‘going green’ in constructions in Turkey primarily relate to the lack of regulations on standards (carbon-emissions, energy efficiency, healthy living, materials, waste and water management) as well as the lack of demand from mass, corporate, and public customers.
When regulations are lacking, the intent of developers and investors for building ‘green’ does not go beyond ‘having the credentials for high value and high quality’. Furthermore, this is a worldwide dilemma since investors have the final say around profit maximization and hence developers are trying to decrease costs to a minimum. This is one of the biggest hurdles for ‘green’ buildings as a common standard, as they might bear a cost uplift of 10-20% initially. Neither investors, nor developers have a motivation for operational cost savings that ‘green’ buildings offer during their lifetime.
From the other end of the spectrum, consumer awareness and demand should be there for ‘green’ constructions. Despite the current lack of ‘green’ constructions in Turkey, we have hope that the ‘conscious’ youth will kick off this demand in the next 5-10 years. Moreover, The Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (UCTEA), Chambers of Commerce, TGBC, and other organizations should be working actively in this mutual effort to increase consumer awareness around ‘green’ buildings.
Source: Sustineo Istanbul