Home Business & Industry Head of Sustainability of FTSE 250 Company Shares 4 Key Sustainability Steps

Head of Sustainability of FTSE 250 Company Shares 4 Key Sustainability Steps

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According to a Forbes report, in 2024, one of the key factors people will value in a business is having a solid commitment to reducing their environmental footprint. It means that for a business to stay competitive, they must find new and innovative approaches to accelerate their sustainability efforts.

Sonal Jain, head of sustainability at Workspace, shares insight on the “everyday actions” that they have taken across their five million sq. ft. of business space, which is spread over 76 properties in London and the Southeast, to facilitate their customers becoming greener, saving money, and reducing their energy consumption.

Sonal said, “As a provider of high-quality sustainable workspace, it is our responsibility to ensure buildings are first built sustainably, equipped with the right kit, before asking our customers to work with us to reduce energy consumption and cut waste.

“As part of our 2030 net-zero carbon commitment, we have invested in upgrading and electrifying our portfolio and aim to source 100% of our energy from high-quality renewable sources by the 2030 deadline.”

1. Invest in the right equipment to future-proof your space 

The first and most important step to take involves making sure that your space facilitates the goals that you are setting for being more sustainable.

Sonal says, “At Workspace, we provide most of the equipment in the tenants’ space, such as the lighting and the air conditioning, which is different from many commercial landlords where tenants undertake the fit-out. So we play our part by providing the best-in-class sustainable space, and then the journey begins with educating and engaging customers to use the space efficiently.”

2. Hybrid working patterns call for new technology to detect when offices are empty

Energy-saving lighting is one thing, but in a time when the average UK worker spends less than 50% of their working week in the office, making sure that your space is optimised with motion detection sensors can make huge savings on electricity.

Sonal said, “We try to make it as easy as possible for our customers to save energy, and this means utilising technology effectively. We now live in a hybrid-working world. There are fewer people in the office on Mondays and Fridays, and more in the middle of the week. And there are fewer buildings that run on the traditional 7am–7pm, five-day-a-week model.

“So what we have done is put in place control strategies that reflect the usage of the building. So if a customer forgets to turn off the air conditioning, then we have our building controls, which will automatically turn off the air conditioning based on feedback from absence detection sensors.

“We have also installed efficient lighting that uses the same absence detection sensors to prevent unnecessary energy usage in the day-to-day use of our office spaces and have installed high-efficiency heat pumps that remove reliance on less eco-friendly gas boilers.”

3. Gamify shared goals to bolster sustainability efforts 

We don’t need to say it, but people are busy, and asking employees, customers, or clients to take extra steps in their every day for the purpose of sustainability efforts might be a hard sell, so add a competitive element.

Sonal said, “We’ve entered a couple of our buildings into the CUBE energy-saving competition, which has been a great way to bring people together and deliver a whole building approach to improving our energy performance. I think gamification has a definite role to play in engaging customers and tenants.

4. Engage and motivate employees with regular reports 

Regular updates allow the people who are actually doing the work to be motivated by seeing what it’s all for and how their efforts are creating a quantifiable impact.

Sonal added, “Other tactics we employ to encourage our tenants to be greener are to publish customer newsletters, where we report energy, water, and waste performance, publish top tips, and highlight successes. We are also launching a portal where customers can see all the sustainability data about their building and can benchmark their performance against other customer units in the building.

“For Workspace, trying to nudge our 40,000 customers to change their behaviours is going to be a very slow process, which is why we think close collaboration with our customers is key.”

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