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Cushman & Wakefield Promotes Jessica Francisco to Chief Sustainability Officer: 6 Things to Know

April 4, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

Cushman & Wakefield has promoted Jessica Francisco (pictured above) to chief sustainability officer (CSO) -- a newly created position at the commercial real estate services firm.

Here are six things to know about Cushman & Wakefield's sustainability strategy, and Jessica Francisco's career experience, and her focus at the company.

1. Business Scope and Scale: Cushman & Wakefield, founded in 1917, is based in Chicago, Illinois. The company has roughly 52,000 employees across nearly 400 offices and 60 countries. The commercial real estate brokerage specializes in property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, and valuation services. Revenue was $9.5 billion in 2023, down 6% from 2022 amid macroeconomic challenges in the commercial real estate market.

2. Sustainability Strategy: Cushman & Wakefield in June 2023 disclosed plans to accelerate its overall sustainability strategy. Key moves included adopting Salesforce Net Zero Cloud for carbon reporting and other capabilities. The real estate firm is seeking to:

  • Reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions across its corporate offices and operations 50% by 2030 from a 2019 base year.
  • Engage key clients representing 70% of scope 3 emissions at the firm’s managed properties to set science-based targets by 2025.
  • Reach net zero value chain emissions (Scopes 1, 2 and 3) by 2050.

3. Sustainability Services: In addition to pursuing net zero strategies in its own business, Cushman & Wakefield offers sustainability services to customers. Examples include:

  • Bespoke real estate sustainability strategies
  • ESG compliance programs
  • Carbon accounting
  • Climate risk scenario analysis, scores and assessments
  • Energy, water and waste audits and efficiency plans
  • Building benchmarking and score optimization
  • ESG reporting and disclosures
  • Net zero audits, strategies and roadmaps

4. Jessica Francisco's Experience: Francisco joined Cushman & Wakefield in 2022 as the global head of sustainability for the firm’s occupier services business. She previously held key sustainability and energy efficiency positions at numerous companies. Examples include:

5. Chief Sustainability Officer Responsibilities: As CSO at Cushman and Wakefield, Francisco will "develop and implement comprehensive firmwide sustainability strategies and goals, embed best practices across all business units, integrate sustainability into the company’s core services, and establish metrics to measure progress and ensure impactful results in collaboration with business partners across the firm," the company said.

Nathanial Robinson, chief investment and strategy officer, Cushman & Wakefield

6. Reporting Structure and Executive Perspectives: Francisco reports to Chief Investment & Strategy Officer Nathaniel Robinson. In a prepared statement, Robinson said: "This new CSO role reflects the firm’s commitment to advancing sustainability not only for our own operations but also through the strategic advice and services we provide our clients. We believe sustainability is a business imperative for the commercial real estate industry. The appointment is a significant step in our ongoing journey toward a more sustainable and resilient future for all.”

Added Francisco: “As a leading global commercial real estate firm, Cushman & Wakefield has a responsibility to help create a more sustainable future for our firm and our clients. Our clients depend on us to help them achieve their ambitious environmental, social and governance goals that will positively impact future generations.”

Cushman & Wakefield and Sustainability: Why Technology Partners Should Care

By 2027, 25% of Global 2000 companies will have assigned a chief sustainability officer (CSO) responsible for meeting their organization’s ESG goals and making ESG-related IT purchasing decisions, according to IDC.

The bottom line: Technology partners need to extend their sales, marketing, engagement and support strategies to successfully fulfill those CSO customer needs, Sustainable Tech Partner believes.

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