Why we need to tackle climate change together

Emily Hamilton, Senior Sustainability Manager, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland explains why addressing climate change and meeting the company’s new environmental goals requires joined up thinking and actions.

In the 300 years Grosvenor has been operating, we have experienced technological and political revolution as well as two world wars and many recessions. Our approach to investing patient capital by managing property and places for the long term has enabled us to weather many of these extreme events. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent there’s no point in having long term patient capital if we do not have a liveable planet or a thriving place we can invest into.

We are in the midst of both a climate and ecological emergency. It’s hard to read a newspaper, watch the television or engage with social media without being reminded that locally and globally the impacts of this climate crisis are worsening. Add to this rapid technological and digital disruption and it would not be an exaggeration to say the property industry cannot continue ‘business as usual’ or it too will cease to exist.  

Addressing the climate crisis requires joined up thinking and actions. If responsibility isn’t taken at all levels, individual, corporate and governmental we will fail in tackling climate change.  Of our new goals: zero carbon, zero waste and enhancing biodiversity - bringing our suppliers, tenants and even residents and visitors to our places with us is a crucial element. We need to do so quickly as well – so our actions need to be stretching and time limited.

To extend the reach of our goals we have launched a Supply Chain Charter that commits us, alongside our partners, to the same stretching, time limited goals. However, we know that within our business and across the sector rapid upskilling is required to achieve these goals and that if our intention is to work collaboratively we must learn and adapt together. So we have created a network of organisations that can help provide tools and resources to our partners.

We’ve already worked very successfully with partners to makes changes that see us on track to halve carbon emissions on our estate by 2023 and reduce waste – with Anglo Group and Gnewt on consolidating deliveries to reduce polluting traffic and congestion, with First Mile to enhance recycling and as founding partners of Wild West End, a partnership between local property owners to create more purpose led green space in the area.

We know industry collaboration works - through the Better Buildings Partnership’s Design for Performance project we are working alongside  Great Portland, Landsec, LGIM, Lendlease, TH Real Estate and The Crown Estate, overcome the energy performance gap for new office design.  We are testing DfP at our two largest West End development projects - 65 Davies Street and the South Molton Triangle.

We also know that tenant collaboration works – on our estate we are helping delis, cafes and restaurants audit their waste, recycling and plastics usage and build a plan to enhance their environmental performance.

To accelerate change we will be looking for more ways to work across the industry’s full spectrum. We are in great company with our peers, suppliers and stakeholders in terms of our desire to accelerate change.

One thing is clear. We cannot just carry on as we are. Business as usual has got us into this situation and only bold leadership, innovation and collaboration can get us out.  

Click here to read more about Grosvenor Britain & Ireland’s sustainability strategy and Supply Chain Charter.

This article was first published here by Estates Gazette.

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