Meet the Sustainability Leader: Verco – Consultancy of the Year 2018

The Verco team is a unique and exceptional blend of consultants, engineers and software developers dedicated to mitigating the impacts of climate change and shaping the future of the low-carbon economy. Its aim is to help clients become sustainability leaders in their sectors which is achieved by regularly checking their progress against Verco's proprietary maturity matrix.

Having supported real estate clients with the setting of ambitious energy reduction targets, feedback suggested that tenants might challenge spend on energy efficiency initiatives if outcomes were uncertain.

Verco’s response was to develop an innovative new service, offering guaranteed performance improvements through the combination of energy-efficiency experts and advanced data analytics to eliminate wasted energy, improve occupant comfort and drive continuous improvement in asset management.

Verco’s energy and resource management software Carbon Desktop is uniquely placed to deliver on the flexible needs of clients across a number of industrial sectors. Market-leading features of software include flexible data collection, local culture and currency setting and automatic, customisable email reporting. An in-house development process is built around engagement with clients on their use of the software, ensuring that their requirements are prioritised. This data has enabled Verco to identify and implement improvements equivalent to around £100m in utility cost savings and 400KtCO2 for its clients.

Verco drives its corporate clients to disclose climate-related performance, risks and opportunities in line with the latest recommendations, including the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures. Corporates are constantly challenged and supported to set more ambitious environmental targets, informed by detailed analysis of their real abatement potential from site surveys, and quantified estimates of future potential from technology innovation and development.

The group helped British Land to develop an ambitious target to cut carbon and energy intensity by 55% across its entire portfolio by 2020 compared to 2009, exceeding science-based targets. It also supported Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) and Molson Coors (formerly SABMiller) as their global energy and resource management advisors for the past eight years, providing analysis behind market-leading targets to halve emissions from breweries and reduce emissions across the value chain by one-quarter. Verco is at the forefront of leading thinking on building energy performance. It has initiated and leads the ‘Design for Performance’ (DfP) scheme which aims to replicate the success of the Australian prime office market where buildings are 4-6 times more efficient than UK equivalents.

Having raised the initial funding from industry for DfP and proved its viability via a feasibility study, Verco is now working with the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) and a number of leading real estate companies to prove the concept via an 18-month pilot programme. This should remove the performance gap associated with new commercial office buildings and forge a stronger relationship between energy efficiency and asset value.

As a result of this programme, Legal & General has been able to get its design team to commit to an operational performance target at the design stage of a major new development, and another major real estate company is adopting the DfP approach across an entire fund. Verco’s team of sustainability professionals contribute world-leading thinking around energy management and policy, and occupy advisory positions on influential sector forums such as the UK-GBC’s policy committee and BEIS’s advisory board for ESOS.

As a trusted advisor to national governments on energy policy, Verco has made a major contribution over two decades to multilateral understanding and collaboration on climate change. Since 2016, the group has been a lead advisor to the Russian Government on international climate change policy experience, and led major policy research commissions for the UK’s BEIS, DEFRA and the Environment Agency on issues such as carbon reporting, non-domestic and industrial energy efficiency.

Verco takes its environmental impact seriously. In 2012, the organisation set itself the challenge of significantly enabling 1MtCO2 of annual emission reductions by the end of 2015 for delivery by 2025 – the equivalent to 1% of the UK’s required reductions to meet the fourth carbon budget. Indeed, progress indicates that Verco is on target to significantly exceed this goal.

The business is also constantly looking to reduce the environmental impact of its direct operations. The ISO-14001 compliant firm pays ‘cycle miles’ to its staff to encourage cycling to work, and also has a dedicated CSR champion, whose role it is to review the company’s core business strategy to identify opportunities to align it with the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What the judges said: “Verco are pushing the boundary of what can be achieved through innovation in technical and financial solutions to energy efficiency. Their work to import best-practice from and their Carbon Desktop software made this entry stand out as an exemplar in the field.”

edie’s 2019 Sustainability Leaders Award

Now in their 12th year, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards have undergone a major revamp, with a host of new categories and judges, a new Awards venue, and a new Mission Possible theme – making 6 February 2019 the biggest night of the sustainable business calendar.

The entry deadline for the 2019 Sustainability Leaders Awards is Friday, 14 September 2018. The Awards will then take place on the night of 6 February 2019 at the Park Plaza London, Westminster. 


Matt Mace

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