The coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns imposed in countries across the globe have led to a huge decrease in CO2 emissions, however across the whole year, it is expected that CO2 levels will still rise.
But can we learn from the pandemic? In order for us to truly combat climate change and reach Net Zero Carbon, our entire world needs transformational change. And the coronavirus pandemic has shown that this is possible, as billions of people globally adjust to lockdown and adapt to new rules and limits on the way they go about their lives.
If it's possible for this many people to adapt to such extremes socially, surely this can be done for our sustainability efforts, too?
Reaching net zero carbon will be a global effort. Governments, businesses and individuals need to be held accountable for the environmental crisis; and we all need to take action, through bold, creative and innovative solutions.
Bruntwood’s approach to sustainability
Creating sustainable environments is crucial to our approach as a business. We know that we can only fulfill our purpose of creating thriving cities if we can deliver sustainable and environmentally-conscious spaces that support the wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and communities.
And this has always been our approach. Recycling rather than rebuilding, and bringing new value and life to buildings by realising their full potential.
But we know that we can do more. As we build communities across our regions, it’s crucial that we embed sustainability into everything we do. In 2018, we became the UK’s first commercial property partner to commit to the UK Green Building Council’s Advancing Net Zero programme with the target of operating at net zero carbon by 2030.
As part of this commitment to net zero carbon, we’ve worked with the Carbon Trust to define a set of science based targets which will allow us to monitor and improve our output more efficiently. These will help us to reduce our carbon emissions, positively impacting the environment, as well as the health and wellbeing of our people.
To help us to reach these targets, we’ve introduced a number of measures to our buildings to help in the fight against global warming. We’ve stepped up our game when it comes to solar panelling, installing batteries to our spaces which will allow us to store the energy generated by our existing solar panels for later use. We’ve introduced algorithmic learning in our buildings, with sensors gathering data about heating, lighting and movement so that we can use energy more efficiently. And we’ve transformed the way we use electricity in our buildings, using specialist risers and voltage optimisation to regulate, clean and condition the incoming power supply so that our buildings use less energy. We’re also taking a new approach to construction and office waste through more circular economy principles, recycling and reduced waste to landfill, and reducing our water usage.
Over in our retail portfolio, Hatch has announced its green pledge to become a truly environmentally friendly and sustainable destination in Manchester city centre. We’ve committed to sending zero waste to landfill; having no plastic bottles or straws used or for sale on site; glass, paper and cardboard staying in the UK for recycling; and turning waste oil into biofuel.
And we know that the environment around us is also increasingly important to our customers. We’re working with them to attend the needs of those that are consciously looking to reduce their impact on the environment, but also supporting other businesses to become more environmentally conscious and informing them about how they can have less of an impact through the choices they make in their working environment.
The future of sustainability
But, we’re not stopping there. We will be working to constantly revise and improve our approach to sustainability. We know that green technologies are going to constantly improve, and new innovations will be developed, so we will build on our work, committing to new targets and introducing new programmes of work that will limit our impact on climate change.
As populations grow and emissions increase, cities are having a huge effect on climate change. But it’s also these same cities that have a vital role in creating sustainable solutions for our planet, with everyone from government and businesses to each of us as individuals needing to play our part.