Our ESG Journey
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) has become increasingly important to our stakeholders, particularly investors, customers and employees. Our investors are asking us about our resilience to climate change, our customers want to know where their energy is coming from and where their waste is going, and our employees want reassurance that they are working for a responsible business.
We recognise that the building and construction industry significantly contributes to the global carbon footprint, and we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment. Working with suppliers, partners, government and local communities, we strive to continually reduce our carbon footprint, build climate resilience and help create sustainable communities. In our redevelopment and refurbishment projects, we strive in all instances to meet high environmental standards set by industry and government bodies. We are active participants in the ‘circular economy’ where we recycle materials from demolition activities and re-use them on site, minimising any materials sent to landfill.
In 2017, we brought all our initiatives together under the umbrella of ‘Doing The Right Thing’ which is now embedded in our values through ‘Show We Care’ and ‘Find a Way’. This is reflected in our culture and how we manage our business, our investments and our customer relationships.
Our commitment to net zero carbon by 2050
In September 2019, Workspace signed up to the Better Building Partnership (BBP) Climate Change Commitment to deliver net zero carbon real estate portfolios by 2050.
As part of the commitment we will be publishing our net zero carbon pathway by December 2020, addressing both operational and embodied carbon. Following this we will be disclosing our progress against this pathway on an annual basis, sharing asset-level energy performance and developing a climate change resilience strategy in line with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).
Following a detailed analysis of our emissions across the business and looking at the different climate scenarios used for the 2°C and 1.5°C trajectories, we have developed a set of Science Based Targets (‘SBTs’) which are aligned to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5°C report. These targets will be launched in 2020 following approval from the SBT initiative and include both our operational emissions and our embodied carbon emissions.
We commit to the following targets to help us achieve our net zero carbon objectives:
–– Reduce absolute scope 1 GHG emissions by 42% by 2030 from a 2019/20 base year.
–– Continue to source 100% renewable electricity.
–– Reduce scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased capital items related to development projects by 20% per lettable area by 2030 from a 2019/20 base year.
Supporting our communities
Building communities and improving our neighbourhoods is an important part of our sustainability strategy, and we aim to be a good and responsible neighbour. With properties in 15 different boroughs across London, we play an active role in supporting our local communities in many ways. We listen to our customers, communities and stakeholders and find out how we can support them in doing the right thing through events, working groups and surveys.
Our InspiresMe programme is a key part of our ‘Doing The Right Thing’ strategy which focuses on supporting disadvantaged young people in London. Through our InspiresMe programme, we organised CV and career workshops and provide interview practice and work experience placements.
Our people drive our ESG initiatives
We encourage our employees to involve themselves in our communities as part of our Doing The Right Thing initiatives. “Show you care” is an integral part of our corporate culture, and our employees volunteer both their time and their skills to make a positive impact on their local community. We also support employees who want to develop their skills and learning. Attracting, retaining and developing a dedicated and talented team of employees who embrace our values and culture is an important part of our business strategy. We therefore have a strong programme of training, wellbeing and community involvement to support our employees.