BEIS announces green buildings drive and single-use plastics crackdown

EXCLUSIVE: The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has today (16 October) underlined its commitment to phasing out single-use plastics and reducing its estate emissions by 66% through two new commitments that have been posted on edie's Mission Possible Pledge Wall.

Announced during the Government’s Green GB Week (15-19 October), the new pledges will see BEIS undertake an external audit of energy use in its 1 Victoria Street headquarters later this year, before phasing out the majority of single-use plastics on its estate by 2020.

The pledges were both submitted onto edie’s brand-new virtual Mission Possible Pledge Wall, which enables businesses to submit new commitments online under the campaign’s key pillars of Energy, Mobility, Resources, The Built Environment and Business Leadership.

Green buildings 

BEIS’s new commitment to undertake an energy audit at its London headquarters supports its previously stated ambition to reduce emissions from the Department’s estate by 66% by 2020.


Writing on the Mission Possible Pledge Wall, the Department’s Director-General of Corporate Services Sarah Harrison stated that BEIS “will be undergoing a comprehensive energy audit of the estate in winter 2018”.

As part of the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, a long-term trajectory has been set to improve the energy performance standards of buildings – including upgrading private rented homes to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C.

It comes after BBC Freedom of Information requests found that four of the 11 buildings leased by BEIS received the lowest energy display ratings of ‘G’. According to the BBC, these buildings use twice the amount of electricity than average offices. The Victoria Street headquarters also scored below average, with an ‘E’ rating.

Plastics crackdown 

The Victoria Street headquarters will also be used to trial a phase-out of single-use coffee cups, which forms the basis of BEIS’s second commitment on the Mission Possible Pledge Wall. Harrison wrote that BEIS will “end the use of single-use coffee cups from January 2019 in 1 Victoria Street, and phase out the majority of single-use plastic on the BEIS estate by 2020”.

During Green GB Week, no single-use coffee cups will be on sale at the 1 Victoria Street coffee bars, and the Department has targeted January 2019 for the complete phase-out. In 2017, 48,912 disposable coffee cups were purchased by BEIS, down from 60,832 the previous year.

Green GB Week partnership

In addition to these pledges, the Government has today published a new online database showcasing how more than £2.5bn in projects and investments will be spent to grow a green economy. BEIS has also today announced that up to £7m will be spent to encourage small businesses to improve and accelerate energy efficiency projects. The funding will commence in Spring 2019.

BEIS has partnered with edie for Green GB Week to encourage businesses to seize the opportunities of sustainability and clean growth. As part of this partnership, a host of big-name businesses – including Amazon, John Lewis and Deloitte – have all made brand new sustainability commitments to the Pledge Wall.

Online retail giant Amazon, for example, has signed a deal to power its UK buildings with 100% renewable energy and deploy up to 20MW of large-scale rooftop solar on 10 UK fulfilment centres over the next 18 months; while  Elsewhere, banking firm HSBC has committed to set aside £250m to invest in solar parks and wind farms.


Matt Mace

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