What makes a great sustainability team? Meet our award winners, Grosvenor Property UK

The firm has taken the decision to pair sustainability and innovation as strategic priorities

Despite only forming in 2020, and mainly working remotely, the Sustainability and Innovation team at Grosvenor has worked hard over the past 18 months to set the strategy and embed sustainability throughout GB&I.

Click here for more information on the edie Awards 2023. 

They have achieved significant milestones including developing the governance, KPIs, training and communications necessary to transform GBI’s culture and reach 86% of staff feeling empowered to deliver the market’s Green Goals. They also delivered a market-leading net-zero carbon strategy which included a £90m retrofit fund, sector-leading open-source tools and targets and a commitment to become the first UK property company to be carbon-neutral by 2025 across all scopes.

This small team works across Great Britain and Ireland to set the strategy and help the business deliver its green goals and become a more innovative and sustainable business. The team is led by Executive Director Tor Burrows. Tor provides direction and guidance to the team. However, the team structure is designed to be flat, where challenge and collaboration is encouraged creating an inclusive and fun culture.

The team consists of an Innovation Director, Director of Sustainability Programme, Associate Director of Sustainability Insights, Senior Transformation Manager, Director of Climate Positive Solutions, Senior Innovation Manager and Sustainability & Innovation Coordinator along with two invaluable team Assistants.

In the face of challenges posed by lockdowns, the team members delivered numerous projects across decarbonisation, biodiversity, and culture change, and have represented Grosvenor in the built-environment sector and beyond through panels, working groups and webinars.

To inspire and engage staff, the team developed a Sustainability Academy. Each team member led their area of specialism and supported specific teams on their sustainability journey. The Academy began with an activation event to ignite action in 2020 with 98% of staff in attendance. The team has subsequently delivered regular ‘lunch and learn’ sessions, a new Podcast ‘Zeroing in on Sustainability’, and bespoke training for executive members. The team has displayed clear communication and presentation skills, delivering complex concepts and ideas in a simple and accessible way for a range of people in the business.

The team members have also displayed outstanding relationship-building skills allowing them to become trusted advisors to all levels of the business. This was particularly key when working with teams to create bespoke action plans and tools, such as a live data dashboard that helps colleagues visualise key metrics and understand their impact.

Additionally, the team has led in creating and implementing a new approach to reward and recognition, defining business-wide sustainability KPIs that underpin annual bonuses. The team’s success in engaging the business with sustainability is evident, with 85% of staff saying they feel empowered to deliver GBI’s green goals and 97% saying they believe the organisation has a genuine commitment to sustainability.

Grosvenor Property UK triumphed over other shortlisted teams from Burberry, HS2, Cushman and Wakefield, the International Marine Contractors Association, Tesco, National Grid, Vivo Power and Ulker Siskuvi to take the Team of the Year Award.

edie’s judges said: “Grosvenor has demonstrated first-class industry leadership with impressive engagement throughout the organisation. The entry had clear examples of capacity building which has led to comprehensive governance and KPIs with strong progress against their bold commitments. A fantastic example of a highly effective team delivering brilliant results.”

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