Another major firm is backing up its ESG commitments with appointments in the c-suite. The global mega-firm JLL announced Christian Whitaker as the company’s new global head of sustainable operations. Whitaker will lead the firm’s energy and sustainability initiatives while managing portfolio-wide sustainability programs for all of JLL’s clients and investors. Whitaker brings more than 20 years of experience to his new position, having most recently served as the global head of energy services at Siemens’ Building Technologies.
“Christian’s experience and strong track record will provide the leadership and expertise to help spearhead our sustainable operations capability at JLL, globally,” JLL global head of sustainability services and ESG Guy Grainger said of the appointment. “Christian and his team will work with clients to optimize their energy use and minimize their carbon footprint through innovative technology, capital strategies and operational excellence.”
JLL joins a growing list of the world’s largest commercial real estate firms building out sustainability teams to drive ESG initiatives. Major institutions, investors, brokerages, occupiers, and developers like BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, HSBC, CBRE, KPMG, and Hines have all made executive-level moves to back up their sustainability promises. A prominent voice advocating for sustainability in the boardroom is the surest sign that ESG initiatives are more than just talk. Tracking, analyzing, and publicly reporting on the progress of ESG initiates will be the real test of commitment but the effort is likely necessary as the world is increasingly becoming skeptical of unsubstantiated ESG claims.