London’s ‘green’ offices are expensive. But they may help retain workers

Employee satisfaction is a big motivator for companies to go green, particularly as the U.K. faces its tightest labor market in decades.

Hiroshi Watanabe / Getty Images

LONDON — A fifth of the world’s biggest companies have committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions, according to analysis by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, and a large portion of those emissions come from the workplace.

Demand for sustainable offices is high, which means prices are, too. In fact, there is now a 26% gap in sale prices between London buildings with sustainability ratings from organizations such as BREEAM and LEED and those without, according to data from analytics company MSCI.

That’s known as the “green premium.” On the flip side, less environmentally friendly, typically older, buildings come with a “brown discount.”

That seems to leave company bosses and investors with a simple choice between lower overheads and lower emissions — but

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