Building Operating Management

Triple Bottom Line: Facility Managers Are Positioned To Lead Efforts

By Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor   Green

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Tripling Down On The Bottom Line: Facility Management StrategiesPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Facility Managers Build Bridges To Achieve Sustainability Goals

Creating a positive work environment for occupants in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner is practically a word-for-word definition of facility management. Facility managers manage the assets that are the second largest expense in an organization. These assets — buildings — heavily influence how efficiently the first largest expense (people) are able to do their jobs. That puts facility managers in a position to lead triple bottom line efforts.

"FMs are in a unique position because they control the assets," says Gilmer. "Buildings are there to serve the people who work there." So right off the bat, the very nature of facility management covers the people and profit pillars of the triple bottom line. Adding sustainable operations to the mix covers all three, and again, helps facility management augment the overall goals of the organization.

Consider a large organization like TD Bank Group, which has more than 80,000 employees in North America. The company has set an organization-wide goal to be carbon-neutral. "This goal drives all behavior," says John De Benedictis, senior manager, retail facilities, and an FMXcellence honoree. "And so facility management is a huge component of our environmental strategy."

Indeed, in general, buildings are the biggest contributor to an organization's greenhouse gas emissions profile. So facility management — especially in terms of reducing energy use, a key goal of any facility department committed to sustainable operations — has a huge role to play in matching the corporate goals and contributing to the planet pillar of the triple bottom line.

But facility managers still have to design strategies in the real world — they must plan strategies that are "viable, equitable, and bearable," which is another way to think about how strategies fit into the triple bottom line, explains Larry Morgan, global facility management and sustainability expert for SAP Americas. "It's very easy to save energy if you just turn off all the lights," he says. But that's not exactly bearable. And it's not equitable to reduce energy costs by spending millions on a gigantic solar array. And if your building is a downtown high-rise, nor is that strategy viable.

"You often hear the justification 'we're doing this because it's the right thing to do,'" says Gilmer. "And that may be true, but that doesn't play in the business world. You have to put a business case on it. Put it in terms the business can understand. The triple bottom line helps you think through the business case."

In other words, the triple bottom line can actually be the yard stick that helps facility managers determine whether strategies are viable, equitable, and bearable. "The triple bottom line is a tool," says Gilmer. "Facility managers can be much more intentional and filter sustainable operations through the triple bottom line.

Continue Reading: Sustainable Operations

Tripling Down On The Bottom Line: Facility Management Strategies

Triple Bottom Line: Facility Managers Are Positioned To Lead Efforts

Facility Managers Build Bridges To Achieve Sustainability Goals

Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »

  posted on 12/20/2013   Article Use Policy

Related Topics: