Property giant streamlines green goals to preserve prosperity
Britain's largest commercial property company has slashed its number of environmental targets from 15 to five, claiming the simplification will help it "move beyond CR to being a fully sustainable business".
The move follows an external review of Land Securities’ sustainability program, conducted by JLL, which identified “some real strengths and some notable weaknesses” in the firm's green strategy.
The streamlined 2020 targets include a 70% recycling rate - with zero waste sent to landfill - and a pledge to reduce water use and energy consumption by 15% in the most water and energy-hungry buildings managed by Land Securities.
Commercial property is responsible for approximately 18% of the UK’s current carbon emissions, with Land Securities owning and managing more than 26.5m sq.ft of property - valued at £14bn.
Group chief executive Robert Noel said: “There’s a simple business rationale for our balanced approach - if we don’t behave in the right way today, our stakeholders won’t do business with us tomorrow.
“They have a choice. Customers can either occupy or visit our space or not. Communities can support our schemes and properties or not. Partners can choose whether they want to work with us or not. Employees can choose whether to spend their time here or go elsewhere.
“And investors will only consider investing in us if we’re meeting the needs of these other groups. Put simply, we will only continue to thrive as a business if all these people choose us.”
In the last year, energy consumption in sites managed by Land Securities fell by 8%. Successful initiatives on this front have included the retrofitting of LED lights, the use of a ground source heat pump system, and solar panel arrays.
The company also reported that 100% of waste was diverted from landfill in all sectors except its leisure portfolio. However, recycling rates dropped, from 55% to 49%.
“Clearly, our performance on waste is dependent on the nature of our relationships with supply chain partners, particularly main contractors,” the report explained.
“We are using our role as a major client to set high standards, influence behaviour and share best practice. For example, we carry out workshops focused on waste reduction during the development design process. We work with our supply chain to improve the accuracy of waste data. And we help our occupiers to reduce waste.”
Despite not being a major user of water, and having little control over how building occupants use water, Land Securities has set its 15% reduction target in its five most water-hungry buildings by 2020.
Recent weeks have seen a renewed focus on the on the sustainability of the built environment - which accounts for nearly 50% of the UK's total emissions. Construction companies Carillion and Interserve both made ambitious sustainability commitments of their own in their recent sustainability reports.