Canary Wharf Group reduces emissions despite portfolio expansion

Canary Wharf Group (CWG) has managed to reduce emissions by 14.4% across its estate despite increasing its portfolio in the last year, according to the British property company's latest CSR report.

CWG claims the reductions were secured while total energy consumption grew by 3.9% in 2016, with new offices becoming occupied. The property firm, which has been using 100% renewable electricity since 2012, saw a 4.6% fall in electricity use last year.

Commenting on these latest results, CWG chief executive Sir George Iacobescu CBE confirmed that the company is mapping UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) against its targets to become more aligned with longer-term objectives. 

“We are proud of the hard work we have put into achieving past successes, but we will strive to do more,” Iacobsecu said. “We have mapped our targets against the UN SDGs and we are focusing on the future for long term improvements.” 

Science-based targets

CWG’s latest CSR report reveals that the business is considering the adoption of science-based targets to help address the challenges of an expanding portfolio, which last year included construction at New District, Newfoundland and Southbank Place. The company’s newest commercial address, One and Five Bank Street, achieved an Outstanding BREAM rating – the largest building of its kind in Europe to receive this accolade.  

Sharp rises in demolition and excavation waste meant that across CWG, around 657,785 tonnes of waste was generated in 2016. The nature of the additional waste generated meant that the percentage sent to landfill rose from 1% to 3.56%, while the amount recycled fell slightly to 96%. 

With approximately 17,000 disposable coffee cups thrown away each day on its estate, CWG has taken an innovative approach to waste reduction. A pioneering initiative launched at the start of the year saw the property developer join forces with British paper cup recycler Simply Cups and biomass recycler Bio-Bean. Through the creation of closed-loop ‘Clean Coffee Zone‘, coffee-related waste is now recycled and turned into new resources. 

CWG has also taken to install greywater recycling systems, as well as water-efficient fittings in the new buildings. During the year, total water use in CWG was 586,161 cubic metres. Water use per occupant in office buildings rose by 6.25%, but across retail fell per 1,000 visitors by 52.7%, a significant reduction resulting from these water-efficiency initiatives. 

Canary Wharf itself includes three extensive green roof urban parks, 13 buildings with living roofs totalling 8,000sq metres, and more than 650 trees. The environmental benefits of CWG’s tree population, from pollution removal, carbon storage, carbon sequestration and oxygen production is estimated to be £658,000, according to the company’s biodiversity study. 

George Ogleby 

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