MAKING OUR MONEY WORK HARDER THROUGH EFFICIENT USE OF RESOURCES ACROSS OUR BUSINESS
The demand for a circular economy is growing with predictions of a fundamental shift away from the traditional linear model of ‘take, make and dispose’ in the next decade. This is predicted to boost UK economic growth by up to four per cent.
The circular economy (CE) focuses on reshaping business and economic systems so that waste is ‘designed out’ of how we live with products and materials kept in use, by design, for as long as possible to get the maximum value from them.
Our balanced resources objectives focus on reducing our environmental impact and improving cost efficiency. This contributes to our long-term vision of developing a CE model across our supply chain.
During 2018–19 we have worked collaboratively with the UK-GBC Circular Economy Partnership (UK-GBC CEP) to accelerate our existing knowledge and practices. In April 2019, this culminated in the UK-GBC CEP publishing its ‘Circular economy guidance for construction clients: How to practically apply circular economy principles at the project brief stage’. We believe the application of the guidance will make a significant difference in improving the industry’s practices.
In addition, we continue to engage with London Waste Action Recycling Board (LWARB), specifically given the requirements under the draft new London Plan for a CE statement in planning applications. We are beginning to integrate these requirements into our planning applications in advance of the formal publication of the Plan.
We continue to incorporate blue-green cities infrastructure into our developments to attenuate rainfall and replenish London’s aquifers. This approach helps support urban biodiversity and improved public realm. In addition to supporting the Mayor’s ‘Good Growth’ agenda and zero carbon objectives, we believe the construction industry must play a significant role in driving the recovery of nature in the UK.
In recognition of this we were signatories, along with the UK-GBC and our peers, in calling for legally binding objectives to protect and enhance nature in the upcoming Environment Bill.
Further to our progress in 2017-18 we continue to meet the objectives that we set in 2018–19 to: reduce energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and waste; improve recycling rates; increase procurement of sustainable materials; align our procurement policies with BLL objectives; reduce our corporate water footprint and customer’s water impacts.
We achieved our 3 per cent target of reducing our site waste intensity and energy usage once again this year. GHG emissions across our corporate offices and car fleet demonstrated an 7.8 per cent (2018: 21 per cent) saving.
We are procuring renewable green electricity for our head office buildings resulting in zero associated carbon emissions, and are investigating the conversion of our sites to similar tariffs.
Following the installation in 2018 of 12 electric car charging points we are encouraged that an increasing number of employees are opting for electric and hybrid vehicles. We believe our investment in this infrastructure is changing behaviours and will reduce our scope 3 carbon emissions.
Our IT systems are being updated and new paperless procurement systems are being introduced. We have also omitted plastic cups from our offices, and our caterers have converted their packaging to biodegradable materials to improve recycling rates. Our employees benefit from a healthy options lunch and increasingly Fairtrade fruit is provided throughout the day to supplement our mental health and wellbeing programmes.
Further to the net carbon positive work that we undertook during 2017-18, we continue to explore ways of reducing emissions from our sites and corporate operations, by our customers through design, and also increasingly embodied carbon in materials. These are complex areas of work, consequently we are working with Greater London Authority (GLA) policy makers and industry groups in advance of such aspects being incorporated into the new London Plan.
Over the last three reporting periods, we have seen reductions in our intensity targets metrics, including CO2, energy, waste and water. This positive trend is helping us prepare for the new London Plan. We have also reported our total corporate emissions in our Annual Report in accordance with the requirements of the ISO 14064- part 3 standard. In addition, we are beginning to investigate the development of a roadmap towards science based targets in response to the Paris Agreement and emerging Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Through the introduction of our new pre-qualification and supply chain management systems which are PAS91 compliant, we undertake an enhanced risk analysis of socio-environmental requirements as well as health and safety obligations.
We have bought 94 per cent (2018:91.8 per cent) of our timber from sustainable sources such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) Chain of Custody Certification. We have also strengthened our procurement requirements to include BES: 6001 and Ethical Trading Initiative (ETi) conditions.
During the period, we updated our procurement policies and whilst we have a reputation as a fair and prompt payer we are exploring the benefits of being a signatory to the Government’s Prompt Payment Code.
We have reduced our water use intensity by 2.5 per cent (2018: 1.65 per cent), which is below our target of 3 per cent. Our homes use an average of 105 litres of water per person per day, which is a 16 per cent improvement compared to national building regulations.
For mixed-use schemes assessed through BREEAM, water usage has been reduced by 12.5 per cent for a very good rating. We have also shared a water neutrality concept with utility providers to complement our thinking on creating net positive developments covering carbon, waste, biodiversity and SRoI.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Creating net positive developments
Improving resource use and efficiency is central to the circular economy and therefore our aim is to create net positive developments covering carbon, waste, biodiversity and SRoI. We will also focus on water resilience and reduce customer demand through design. In the future we will look to report against TCFD.
We acquired the site in 2014 and obtained planning permission in September 2015 to deliver 192 new mixed-tenure homes. The Forge provides substantial public realm enhancement beyond its boundary and a new public pedestrian and cycle link through the development. It makes a net positive biodiversity contribution compared with its previous use as a bus depot.
Buildings range from three to five storeys with a 14 storey focal building. The development comprises 35 per cent affordable housing and 39 per cent of the homes are family sized with three bedrooms or more. 125 homes have been sold to M&G for build to rent.