Workman Delivers on Sustainability at Two Rivers

01/12/2016

At Two Rivers Shopping Park in Staines, the Centre Manager has engaged with store and restaurant managers on a range of sustainability initiatives – significantly increasing recycling, promoting local biodiversity, encouraging green travel and improving energy efficiency.

ZERO WASTE TO LANDFILL

£26,000 LANDFILL TAX AVERTED ANNUALLY

90% LESS CO2 EMISSIONS FROM WASTE MANAGEMENT VEHICLES

BREEDING SWANS RETURN EACH YEAR

POPULAR ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING POINTS

Situation

Two Rivers Shopping Park in Staines is a 35,300m2 prime retail and leisure scheme jointly owned by client monies from Aberdeen Asset Management and M&G Real Estate, both committed to responsible property investment. Aberdeen acts as the asset manager for the joint venture and Workman as managing agent.

Aberdeen gave Workman a mandate to deliver sustainability initiatives as part of its broader approach to Responsible Property Investment. The Two Rivers team implemented a range of initiatives, supported by Workman’s Environmental and Sustainability team.

Actions

Waste management

Two Rivers launched a new waste management scheme when Centre Manager Joanna Hall joined in 2010. This aimed to increase recycling, minimise waste to landfill and reduce CO2 by cutting waste collection journeys. Joanna grew momentum for the scheme by engaging with retailers and expanding the recycling offer to cover cardboard, food, glass, paper, plastic, polystyrene and wood. Waste is segregated at source, which delivers higher recycling rates than sending mixed waste to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) for segregation.  

Biodiversity

The river is a major feature of the Two Rivers scheme. The Centre team and Eco Landscapes manage the area for both biodiversity and appearance, e.g. avoiding over-maintenance of the river bank, where a pair of swans build their nest each year. The team monitors the swans and keeps in touch with the regional Swan Sanctuary for support. They also put up posters and social media posts about the swans, which attract interest. In addition, the team has created several green areas around the scheme.

Green Travel

Two Rivers is easily accessible by bus, train and bicycle and there are cycle spaces across the scheme. The Centre team installed electric charging for two cars in 2010 through Pod Point, which offered the most user friendly and affordable option. There were technical issues with this early model, e.g. when two cars tried to charge simultaneously. However, the pods have now been upgraded and customer usage has picked up significantly, so the team is looking to install more pods.

Energy

Two Rivers is implementing a phased LED lighting replacement programme. 20% of lights and fittings have been replaced with more efficient technologies, with a further 20% to follow this year and the remainder in the next two years. In addition, new car park equipment reverts to sleep mode when not in use, saving power.

Financials and benefits

Waste management

  • £110,000 investment in recycling equipment over five years, e.g. cardboard compactors and bins.
  • £26,000 landfill tax averted annually.
  • Zero waste to landfill, with around half of all waste recycled (311 tonnes annually) and residual waste sent for incineration.
  • 90% less CO2 emissions from waste management vehicle journeys to Two Rivers, with one vehicle serving multiple retailers, rather than everybody organising their own collections.
  • Service yard improvements, with fewer bins thanks to daily collections, e.g. one retailer needed 15 bins when they managed waste independently, whereas through the shared scheme they only need six bins.

Biodiversity

  • Supporting a breeding pair of swans, popular with customers and the local community.

Energy

  • The LED replacement programme enabled the team to install new illuminated signage across the scheme without costly works to upgrade the power supply.
  • Energy cost and CO2 savings are additional benefits.

Green travel

  • Car charging points amongst the busiest Pod Points in the UK, offering an important service to customers.
  • In the first nine months of 2016, the points produced 50% more power for customers than the whole of 2015.
  • Capital investment: £1,450 initial installation and £1,500 upgrade.
  • Annual costs: electricity, £600 for maintenance and £120 to track usage online.
  • There is potential for points to generate income when more are installed.

Overall

  • Strengthening relationships with retail occupiers.
  • Enhancing the reputations of Workman, Aberdeen Asset Management and Two Rivers.
  • Contributing to Workman and Aberdeen Asset Management’s sustainability programmes, with both organisations exploring opportunities to expand initiatives to other schemes.
  • Local competitive advantage due to car charging points.  

Challenges & Achievements

 

RETAILERS

 

How to get retailer buy-in for recycling?

 

It can be challenging on a multi-occupied scheme to manage operations to meet the needs of all retailers. When the Two Rivers waste management scheme launched in 2010, most of the retailers already had their own schemes, often organised at a head office level. Existing retailers were given the opportunity to join, whilst new retailers moving to Two Rivers were automatically signed up. The Centre Manager engaged with store and restaurant managers individually on the benefits of the scheme including financial savings, service yard improvements and environmental savings. She also expanded the waste streams to meet retailer needs. 23 out of 65 retailers now participate. Cleaning partner Facilicom carries out daily collections for participating retailers.

 

RETAIL STAFF

 

How to ensure retail staff segregate waste?

 

Having gained the buy-in of store and restaurant managers, the site team made the scheme as straightforward as possible and put clear signage on all bins. This is important as retail outlets can have relatively high staff turnover. The Centre team and waste contractor Environmental Solutions also monitor waste data and carry out regular audits to pick up any issues that they then flag with retailers. For instance, a recent audit highlighted that some restaurants were contaminating recyclable waste with food waste. The contaminated waste could no longer be recycled and had to be compacted, which is more expensive. Restaurant managers were informed about the contamination and the impacts this has, doubling compactor collections and increasing monthly costs by over £500. Restaurant managers then worked with their teams to address contamination.

 

VERIFYING DATA

 

How to ensure that waste data is accurate?

 

Centre teams often rely on data provided by the waste contractor, which they then share with the client and occupiers. In the early days of the scheme at Two Rivers, a waste audit revealed that the waste data was inaccurate. As a result, the team chose to switch contractors, which has improved accuracy. For ongoing quality assurance, the team monitors the number of bins emptied for a particular waste group, such as glass, to ensure the accuracy of the reports. 

 

 

RETURNS

 

How to make the financial case?

 

When the waste management scheme was launched in 2010, the financial case was partly based on the rebate values of cardboard and plastic. However, rebate values have constantly fluctuated over the years, affecting financial returns. In addition, new arrivals at Two Rivers have predominantly been food and beverage brands, which generate large quantities of food waste. Therefore, the financial case for recycling now focuses on waste disposal cost savings rather than rebates. For the LED lighting replacement programme, it was agreed to replace bulbs through a phased programme to spread the capital costs over time.

Find out more

Vicky Cotton

Environmental Director

Workman

E: vicky.cotton@workman.co.uk

T: 020 7227 6211

www.workman.co.uk

 

Joanna Hall

Centre Manager

Two Rivers Shopping Park

E: cm@tworiversstaines.com

T: 01784 493300

www.tworiversstaines.com

“There is a general perception that you can’t easily implement sustainability at retail parks. However, the success achieved at Two Rivers shows the sustainability results that can be achieved by a committed management team working closely with retailers.”

Dan Grandage, Head of Responsible Property Investment at Aberdeen Asset Management