Sustainability in action

Date: 27 September 2019
Written by: Laurence Baker

As Global Goals week comes to a close, we thought it a good time to reflect on the sustainability issues we’ve been discussing across our Group of businesses this month.

At the beginning of the month we announced our commitment to supporting the UN Sustainability Goals. Linking into our purpose of 'Creating Environments for People to Prosper' we want to make sure we connect what we do to the contributions we make to the world.

Taking a the first step, however small, is vital - so since then we've been talking to our colleagues from across Group about how they are challenging their clients, partners and the wider industry to make a difference. Our range of companies allows us to deliver full turnkey services within built environment - from concept design, through delivery and fit out, furnishing and ongoing operation. This allows us to see and understand the impact throughout the lifecycle of a property or project.

Kicking things off our MEP design consultancy GDM looked at the impact optimising building services can have on reducing the environmental impact of a building. Highlighting cost as a key factor they questioned why organisations focus on the initial CAPEX rather than the savings that can be gained through LED lighting or sustainable heating and cooling solutions.

The interior design team at Space Invader took this one step further, looking at how we should also be considering the impact the design of an environment can have on the well-being of the people that us a space.  In order to help businesses, landlords and occupiers take that first step they've also published their top tips for making your workplace more inclusive and more sustainable.

Our FF&E solutions teams from SouthernsBroadstock & Ralph Capper provided insight on how they are making a difference in the furniture, fittings & equipment industry.  With a furniture manufacturing arm, SouthernsBroadstock has a clear understanding of the challenges facing the industry. With energy use being one of their largest environmental impacts, they've installed photovoltaic panels across the roof of their Macclesfield facility and use a biomass boiler which provides carbon neutral heat and utilises their waste residue.  Luxury furniture consultancy Ralph Capper utilises this understanding of the manufacturing process to ensure its suppliers and partners all share our commitment to sustainability. This includes working with suppliers whose designs use 100% recycled materials and that can be easily disassembled and reused at the end of their lifecycle.  It also affects the packaging of any furniture - they ensure that as much packaging is removed before final delivery so as much of it is recycled as possible. They also require that packaging is printed with non-toxic ink, and should be fully recyclable, ideally made from corrugated paperboard.

Our change specialists from Mobias looked at the banking industry and how the 'Digital First' transformation within the financial sector is having an impact. From a sustainability perspective this transformation is a fantastic opportunity to reinvent and transform their bank locations, allowing them to trail new concepts and technology that delivers significant sustainable benefits.

Over at Spatial Initiative they discussed how the education sector was responding to the need to reduce carbon emissions and how as a sector they are starting to realise the importance of looking at the overall lifespan of building. The blog discusses the benefits of taking a modular construction approach as well as the need to take a holistic view of any project and property.

You can’t start making decisions about your sustainability strategy without understanding where you are now. The team at iSite - our proprietary property estates management software, looked at how understanding property utilisation, how assets are being managed and energy use are all vital in order to ensure your property estate is working as efficiently as possible.

Underpinning all of this is the technology and IT infrastructure that links everything we do from smart building systems to our office applications. As a piece of the puzzle that is often left because of the criticality of its nature (resilience and uptime is often more important than sustainability), Critical Environment Specialists Keysource looked at how the industry is beginning to see a shift in attitude and how sustainability becoming increasingly more important.  Taking part in government round tables and leading conversations with techUK they've also been championing the need for clarity and transparency within the industry, working to support the development of industry standards and accreditations.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals bring focus to global challenges. But what we do locally as businesses is essential. Doing something responsible, however small is 100% more effective than doing nothing.

Let's create something remarkable.