Retailer engagement brings huge environmental benefits for shopping centre
Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough has successfully engaged with its retailers to achieve significant reductions in energy, waste and water use.
The shopping centre, which houses more than 90 stores, implemented a first-of-its-kind assessment scheme - the Growing Greener pledge - which has analysed each store's core sustainability components and flagged areas for improvement.
The scheme has achieved a 4,253,000kWh saving in energy use (resulting in financial savings of £477,000); cut water use by 3,000m3 and carbon emissions by 2,933 tonnes. It also achieved sending zero waste to landfill.
The shopping centre is one of the first in the UK to have its own environmental manager, Carol Wakelin, who said: "Sustainability is a win for the environment and a win for the bottom-line of the UK's retailers."
"If all stores across the whole of the country could also make simple changes, the impact that we have on the environment would be greatly reduced and the cost savings would be massive.
"We are already the greenest shopping centre in the East of England, but our goal is to combine forces with our retailers to become the greenest shopping centre in the UK, and possibly even Europe."
Exemplar of Best Practise
Queensgate has reported over an 80% participation rate by its stores in the scheme, with Wakelin adding that the engagement level and enthusiasm has been "overwhelming".
One way the centre has incentivised its retailers is by holding its own awards recognising achievement within the scheme. Queensgate hopes the winning branches will become exemplar of best practise for other stores across the UK on how to improve their environmental credentials.
Queensgate's property management company, JLL's, head of retail management Jordan Jeffery said: "This is a fantastic initiative and one which by all accounts has been a real success. The challenge with initiatives such as this is retailer engagement, which is by no means an easy feat in a shopping centre."
"The insight that Queensgate has been able to obtain by working with its retailers is remarkable, and has enabled Queensgate as a whole to record its environmental impact in much greater detail than any other shopping centre."
Queensgate is not the first UK shopping centre to engage with its retailers to tackle its environmental footprint. In December, Trinity Leeds shopping centre launched its 'Make Your Mark' recycling campaign challenging its 120 retailers reduce waste to landfill by separating waste streams. Bluewater has also set itself the task of cutting its annual energy use of 16,800MWh by 50%, with the aim to become Europe's most energy-efficient retail complex.
Energy management report: Employee engagement
Edie's third annual exclusive report - Energy Management: Procurement, Planning and Purchasing Priorities 2015/16 - released last week, revealed that employee engagement is the second most important focus of energy initiatives among UK businesses.
Sixty-five percent of energy managers said they would be focusing on employee engagement this year. It is far more likely to be implemented by private companies, with public sector respondents instead looking for 'plug-and-play' solutions requiring little employee behaviour change. Read the full energy management report here.