Is Health the New Carbon?


Our built environment has a profound impact on our health, well-being, happiness and productivity. It can shape our habits and choices, regulate our sleep-wake cycle, drive us toward healthy and unhealthy choices, and passively influence our health through the quality of our surroundings.

Health and wellbeing is described by experts as the next megatrend and is rapidly approaching, if not here already. Figures from the Global Wellness Institute suggest that the global wellness industry is a $3.4 trillion market, with latest research indicating that for every $1 spent on workplace wellness programmes, cost savings of $6 are generated. New tenants from banks to barbers are putting out RFPs stipulating health and wellbeing as a central requirement.  With 92% of the cost of a company the staff working in it, maximising the health and wellbeing of the workforce – and therefore their productivity, morale, and initiative – is a massive opportunity.

Add to this increasing societal and economic healthcare pressures worldwide, rapid advancement of technologies available to understand workplace health and wellbeing, and the development of wellness assessment tools – such as the WELL Building Standard, Fitwel and the new GRESB Health and Wellbeing module – and we are set for a wellness whirlwind.

So, what makes CBRE a wellness leader?

We’re doing WELL!

Pioneered by Delos, the WELL Building Standard is the world’s first building standard focused exclusively on human health and wellness. In 2013, CBRE became the first company in the world to achieve WELL certification for a commercial office space with the opening of our global headquarters in Los Angeles. Employee feedback from the new WELL certified office was extremely positive:

  • 94% said that the new space has a positive impact on business performance
  • 92% reported improved health and wellbeing
  • 87% said that the new environmental has helped generate business
  • 83% felt more productive
  • 100% said that clients are interested in our new way of working

Realising the clear benefits WELL has had on our Los Angeles office, CBRE are working to both further our employee wellness agenda, and deliver wellness benefits for our clients. Through our recently launched Sustainable Offices programme for EMEA, we are placing top priority on integrating WELL principles throughout our operations.  We’re also launching wellness programmes and official  WELL projects on behalf of our clients, in countries including the UK, Spain, Ireland, the US, the Netherlands.

As a continuation of our leadership in the wellness space, CBRE and Delos have formed a strategic alliance that will advance Delos’ mission to transform indoor environments into spaces that help nurture, sustain and promote human health and wellbeing.  Through the alliance, CBRE has committed to:

  • Pursue WELL certification for at least 100 buildings, sites or offices managed by or associated with CBRE worldwide
  • Professionally accredit 50 CBRE employees through the WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP) programme
  • Inspire innovation through our involvement with the Well Living Lab™; the world’s first human-centred research lab designed to study the interaction between wellness and the indoor environment

Better Places for People

CBRE continues to lead the latest research in health and wellbeing. Since 2014 we’ve participated in the Better Places for People global campaign, led by the World Green Building Council, which aims to create a world in which buildings support healthier and happier lives for those who occupy them. Since then, two high-profile reports have been produced by Better Places for People focusing on key real estate types – Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices and Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Retail.

As health and wellbeing continue to move higher up the boardroom agenda, now is the time to consider how making the right changes can not only enhance the workplace environment for the benefit of employees, but further demonstrate direct positive impacts on business performance.


By Harrison Bowers, Sustainability Consultant, and Hannah Scott, EMEA Sustainability Coordinator, at CBRE.

This blog was originally published here.