Webcor advances “People, Planet and Performance” with technology—and creativity
Building certifications and an innovative carbon measurement tool evolve Webcor’s corporate responsibility program
Construction leader takes bold action to make its employees and the planet healthier
36,000 square feet
Los Angeles and Alameda, CA
Two Fitwel certifications
As one of the largest commercial construction companies in California, Webcor is fiercely committed to building and operating in a manner that has a positive impact on the environment, local communities and its employees. To meet those goals, Webcor partnered with JLL’s West Coast Sustainability Team on two important initiatives—make Webcor offices healthier for employees and reduce operational carbon.
With more than 1,500 employees spread across its seven corporate offices and hundreds of job sites, Webcor had ambitious environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, or “People, Planet and Performance,” as Webcor aptly re-named them. One was to honor parent company Obayashi’s 46% carbon reduction pledge. Another was to provide healthy workplaces for employees at all job sites and office environments.
For its people, Webcor turned to JLL to develop and lead a Fitwel® certification process for its California offices. For the planet, JLL was tasked with measuring Webcor’s current Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions, crafting a Scope 3 emissions strategy and identifying the optimal path to the 46% carbon reduction pledge.
Workplaces that inspire and enliven
Two of Webcor’s new offices were in the demolition phase. The spaces—a 22,000-square-foot office in Alameda and a 14,000-square-foot office in Los Angeles—were at a point in the project timeline that could accommodate design changes supporting Webcor’s People, Planet and Performance goals. Engaging JLL early in the project timeline allowed Webcor to be guided toward actionable and achievable strategies for advancing those goals.
The concept of Fitwel® certification was gaining in popularity with Webcor employees, especially in the areas of nutrition, ergonomics, healthy air and clean water. The team focused on adding features that rated highly on the 12-category Fitwel certification scorecard. As a mid-sized tenant in large office buildings, however, Webcor anticipated that certain aspects of Fitwel certification would be expensive to measure and hard to control due to the number of stakeholders that would need to be involved, including building ownership, property managers and engineers. Webcor’s initial goal was to achieve one-star Fitwel certification. JLL suspected a loftier target was attainable.
The Fitwel scorecard rates an environment’s performance across 12 categories, and points earned in those categories result in a one-,two- or three-star rating. The higher the rating, the healthier the environment. JLL collaborated with Webcor to flesh out a feasibility checklist that ultimately revealed that two-star Fitwel certification was possible without much additional time or capital investment. In addition, the team identified strategies that would deliver big results without a big price tag. JLL leveraged its relationships with third-party vendors to obtain cost-effective proposals for air quality testing and legionella water testing, among other things.
In designing the new spaces, Webcor committed to the health goals of its employees by providing meaningful features like stand-up desks and healthy food options. Webcor implemented an indoor air quality policy, enrolled in a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and committed to an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) policy focused on green cleaning supplies. All of the design and policy-related changes can positively impact employee and corporate performance.
Since Fitwel certification involves policies, budgets and office design, Webcor needed seamless coordination between different stakeholders such as building management, engineers and architects.
JLL helped Webcor engage the stakeholders, and implement a thoughtful communications plan that included internal surveys and regular updates on elements of the Fitwel certification—steps that would help Webcor achieve and maintain the Fitwel two-star rating.
Carbon knowledge is power
Webcor knew that, in addition to its offices, the major contributors to its carbon footprint were the building materials and the transportation fleet used in the company’s U.S. construction projects. However, its initial challenges were data gaps and a lack of a baseline measurement of its carbon emissions.
JLL and Webcor collaborated to create a custom, Smartsheet-based greenhouse gas (GHG) tracking tool that would enable Webcor to establish a baseline and monitor ongoing metrics. First, the team generated a complete inventory of Webcor's operational carbon volume and sources. One of the most noteworthy revelations was that the company’s light-duty truck fleet accounted for 82% of the company’s total Scope 1 carbon emissions, making a strong case for fleet electrification. With access to reliable data about its carbon emissions, Webcor was equipped to establish appropriate reduction targets and strategies moving forward.
After achieving two-star Fitwel ratings at the Alameda and Los Angeles offices, Webcor and JLL curated Fitwel policies for voluntary adoption at the corporate level and at Webcor’s additional offices. The GHG inventory project resulted in a plan to electrify Webcor’s vehicle fleet that was an outsized source of the company’s carbon emissions.
Now, Webcor has the tools in place to operate from a position of strength, with meaningful data to back up its decisions. The company is well on the way to achieving its 46% carbon reduction goal by the year 2030, while also prioritizing the health of its employees. Webcor is a rare corporation that is not just talking about doing the right thing for its people and the planet but is swiftly taking action to strengthen company culture and advance its sustainability goals for a better future.