Ten years ago, the authors undertook a study, funded by the RICS Education Trust, to explore the ways in which investment decision-makers view comparative property choices. The study recognised that asset selection is undertaken in a complex environment, with multiple trade-offs necessary due to the different investment attributes represented in each property. The results indicated that, at that time, investors’ concerns about the sustainability of property were low, ranked as 7th in importance out of 8 attributes. This raised concerns over the degree to which actors within the industry were embracing the sustainability agenda. 

The current project seeks to revisit these results, a decade later, to explore whether preferences and investment behaviour have changed as Government and RICS’ sustainability stances have become reinforced. This is a timely study, with three of the ten principles of the UN Global Compact focusing on the environment (RICS, 2015) and, furthermore, it responds to calls, at the time of the original publication, for a repeat investigation into behaviour post-crash.

This paper presents the preliminary results of the study. The original methods are replicated – a simulation of complex stock selection choices (using choice-based-conjoint analysis) to reveal investors’ purchasing-decision behaviour – with the results subsequently further explored through focus groups to reveal the reasons for their simulated investment choices against their sustainability objectives. Thus, the research seeks to investigate and reveal the degree of accord between what investment decision-makers explicitly state their sustainability strategies to be and how they are implemented, against what their behaviour reveals about how purchasing decisions are made and the implicit judgements within.