JLL (formerly Jones Lang LaSalle), is strengthening its business in the Middle East and North Africa region by spearheading a number of sustainable real estate projects in the UAE and continuing to operate as a good corporate citizen.

Over the past year alone MENA staff numbers have risen from 130 to 180, the business characterised by long-standing relations with established clients which provide repeat customers.

Founded more than 250 years ago in the UK, JLL has grown into a global brand comprising 200 offices and 50,000 people all over the world, with presence in 40 Middle East and African countries.

The company provides a wide range of services to investors, developers and occupiers in every sector of the real estate market, from Consultancy, Valuations and Leasing, Sales to Property Management, Project Management and Cost Consultancy.

Sustainable and Strategic Growth in the UAE 

JLL has five offices covering its MENA operations, in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah and Cairo, with its team made up of 35 nationalities and approximately 90 Arabic speakers.

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JLL’s service offering covers all sectors of the real estate and hospitality services market, including leasing and managing shopping centres and commercial buildings, project management of fit outs and new builds, strategic consulting, valuation advisory and sales and acquisitions.

Alan Robertson, CEO of JLL MENA, said: “JLL have had a permanent presence in the region for more than 12 years and the firm has grown significantly through that time. While the Middle East represents a small part of the overall global business, it is regarded as a strategically important region for the firm, and is seen as one of the key growth locations for the foreseeable future.”

In the UAE the company is placing an increasingly strong focus on sustainability; sustainability being central to JLL’s ethos worldwide and allowing it to both enhance the environment while delivering economic returns.

Vivienne Thomson, Senior Consultant, Upstream Sustainability Services, added: “Sustainability at JLL is about maintaining and expanding our role as a good corporate citizen. We are proud of our reputation for acting with integrity and for the ways our people contribute to the communities in which they live and work.”

“Since commercial buildings account for about 40 percent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the developed world, our industry has a key role to play in tackling climate change. Sustainability has also created a significant business opportunity: Our Energy and Sustainability Services revenues increased by 16 percent in 2013.”

The sustainable ethos of JLL can be split into five core areas: Energy and resources; Client service excellence; Green buildings; Community and supply chain; and Workplace, wellbeing and diversity.

Ground-Breaking Projects

 JLL is showcasing its sustainability commitment through ongoing work in the UAE, including through its work with Majid Al Futtaim Properties to help the real estate giant reach its own sustainable targets.

Beyond shopping malls, Majid Al Futtaim Properties develops and manages hotels, communities and offices, and JLL is supporting its long term performance goals. This includes monitoring environmental data performance, producing independent sustainability reports, developing related communications plans, training staff and advising on a range of other sustainability related issues including ISO certification and labour rights best practice.

Majid Al Futtaim Properties has become widely recognised for its sustainability leadership within the region, and the long-term nature of the relationship has enabled JLL’s Upstream Sustainability Services unit to develop a sophisticated and in-depth knowledge of the company which facilitates a highly bespoke approach.

In the Business Bay area of Dubai, a partnership with a Korean fund has led to significant sustainable gains at the U Bora Tower, which has seen occupancy rates increase to 75 percent since JLL won instruction to manage the building in 2012. At the time of appointment, the building was operating at 15 percent capacity.

Key green initiatives at the site range from motion and photo-sensitive lighting to proposed waterless urinals and waste recycling initiatives working with outside providers.

Another area of activity offering short payback advantages is air conditioning and water chilling, controlled by a Building Management System which has led to savings of 15 percent per annum.  

David Pine-Coffin, Associate Director at JLL, said: “The U Bora Tower is a prime example where we have been able to leverage our experienced teams based in both London and India to apply initiatives that result in a direct saving to the bottom line operating cost.”

Worldwide Footprint

Across the world JLL’s Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) teams implemented improvements on 1,852 existing buildings, documenting $39 million in energy savings and a reduction of 220,000 metric tons of CO2e in its US-managed portfolio.

Smart technology is a key factor in this performance. The IntelliCommandSM programme is a remote building monitoring and control system which combines monitoring-based commissioning to optimise building performance and predictive analytics, helping solve root causes and increase reliability.

Proctor & Gamble saw average annual energy cost savings of 10 percent since deploying IntelliCommand technology, the initial investment being returned within three months and set to be rolled out to other locations around the world.

Thomson added: “Since we manage three billion square feet of space globally for our clients, we can contribute by developing industry-leading strategies, tools and technologies that help clients improve energy efficiency and control associated costs.

“For example, as one of the world’s biggest purchasers of light bulbs, JLL has partnered with Philips globally to deliver innovative lighting solutions that achieve both energy and cost savings without compromising quality.”

In-house platforms, including OneView Energy and Sustainability Analytics help clients to make sense of enormous volumes of sustainability data. More than 126,000 buildings are on JLL’s numerous platforms, granting vital visibility of sustainable performance.

Ensuring suppliers share an aligned vision is equally important, underlined by the fact that JLL handled more than $1.5 billion in client expenditures for the properties that they managed in 2012.

The company works with the Ethisphere Institute to develop surveys that gather information on supplier programmes and policies covering ethics, compliance and environmental impacts. The Supplier Risk Index is another useful tool, designed to help organisations identify and manage potential risks in their supply chains.  

A Good Corporate Citizen

Through its wealth of expertise, smart technology and sustainability programming, and close ties with suppliers, JLL is at the forefront of sustainable property management.

Such work is implemented by the company’s staff, who have access to a range of training and development opportunities. The company’s graduate scheme takes on a large number of Arabic speakers in the MENA region over a two year programme of broad-based training.

Named on the Ethisphere Institute’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the seventh consecutive year, JLL has found that recognition as one of the world’s most ethical companies is helping to attract the most talented employees.

“JLL is committed to a corporate culture that embraces and promotes strong principles of business and professional ethics at every level,” Thomson said.

“Ethical practices are inherent in our values, mission and strategy, and guide all of our interactions with clients, customers, vendors and employees. Being a conscientious global citizen is not just good policy, it is good business.”

Moving forward this reputation will doubtlessly help JLL to acquire more long-term clients and boost business in the MENA region.

Robertson concluded: “We have more than doubled in size in the last five years and we expect that rate of growth to continue over the next few years. We are here to stay and expect to continue to expand in the region, as we help our clients achieve their various goals in real estate.”

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