John Bullough, President of retail property organization BCSC, has called on the industry to proactively promote good practice in sustainability and social engagement.
Speaking at the outset of BCSC's 2007 Conference & Showcase taking place at The Sage, Gateshead, he said: "Our customers are becoming ever more discerning and aware of the issues. Doing things the right way will increasingly impact on our performance and will differentiate successful projects.
"Sustainability in all its guises is a major focus for BCSC. This month we launch the BCSC Sustainability Charter with benchmarking for the industry. Over the next two days we are going to be talking about ensuring that what we do in the built environment showcases best practice and strengthens communities."
He added: "Our business remains all about creating real places. As the latest centres open here in the UK I think we must all remain vigilant. It is perhaps timely that we reflect again on how to deliver those real, connected places that enhance the wider economic health of town and city centres. It is entrusted to us to strike the right balance between the drive for commercial dominance and the individual long-term needs of the community."
More than 3,000 participants are attending BCSC's Annual Conference & Showcase at The Sage, Gateshead. The event has been themed 'Impact' and is due to feature keynote speeches from Sebastian Coe, Sir Bob Geldof and the global explorer Pen Hadow; Julia Cleverdon, Chief Executive of Business in the Community; Wayne Hemingway, designer and co-founder of fashion label Red or Dead; Chris Sanderson, co-founder of The Future Laboratory; Patrick Hanly, Commercial Director of Harvey Nichols; Ben Page, Director of MORI Social Research Institute and John Bucksbaum, Chief Executive of General Growth Properties, Inc. and immediate past Chairman of the International Council of Shopping Centres.
The Showcase features exhibitors including retailers, developers, consultancies and major industry suppliers in an innovative, freestanding, purpose-built exhibition space that is located adjacent to The Sage.
Main sponsors include Grosvenor (Conference), Multi Development Corporation (Showcase) and Multiplex (social events program).