To accelerate positive change and achieve Grosvenor Britain & Ireland’s challenging new sustainability goals by 2030, the company’s senior leaders have completed sustainability leadership training and taken on personal responsibility for sustainability. The business has also launched a Supply Chain Charter for partners to help fundamentally change the way its buildings and public realm are designed, constructed and operated.
Goals to achieve net zero carbon, eradicate waste and value nature
33 senior leaders and colleagues trained in sustainability leadership
Supply Chain Charter launched for 1,800 partners
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland creates and manages high quality neighbourhoods that are great places to live, work and visit. Its diverse property development, management and investment portfolio includes Grosvenor’s London estate of Mayfair and Belgravia and other developments in London, Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
Building on its long history of social and environmental contributions, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland published a series of bold new sustainability goals in 2019. These include:
As many of the tools and technologies required to achieve these goals are yet to be developed and tested, behavioural change and innovation need to be accelerated across Grosvenor Britain & Ireland and amongst its supply chain partners. The sustainability team therefore organised a bespoke training programme for senior leaders to drive change in every aspect of the business and launched a Supply Chain Charter for partners.
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland’s sustainability team worked closely with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership to create a course enhancing its leadership team’s ability to deliver lasting commercial and social benefit. The two-day programme, which was sponsored by the CEO, in January 2019, was attended by all senior leaders.
The programme was designed to provide delegates with:
The course started with a holistic overview of sustainability and why the property sector, and Grosvenor in particular, must be more ambitious in this space. Delegates explored how real estate can impact on the future state of the world and how Grosvenor Britain & Ireland’s sustainability goals can support positive progress towards this changing state and the business purpose. Day two provided a platform for innovation and culture change to drive the changes needed. Delegates evaluated their roles as leaders in achieving this desired state and created three personal commitments to lead this change. Examples include: eating far less meat; sharing their new found knowledge with their team; and challenging their teams to act more sustainably in both their personal and professional lives.
Alongside the publication of its new sustainability goals in May 2019, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland also launched a Supply Chain Charter, which commits the business and its suppliers to higher environmental and ethical standards. These include:
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has more than 1,800 suppliers and will expect all to adhere to, and cascade, relevant Charter commitments. The business is working with its partners and has established a supporting network of expert organisations who provide advice to partners at no additional cost to help them achieve the Charter’s aims.
[i] A net zero carbon building is highly energy efficient and fully powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources and offsets. Grosvenor Britain & Ireland will only use offsets as the last option once all other avenues for reducing emissions have been explored. Grosvenor has c1,500 listed buildings on its London estate, of which approximately a third are directly managed.
How to build on the energy after sustainability leadership training?
After the leadership course, the Chief Executive wrote to senior leaders on next steps and addressed the whole company on sustainability challenges and goals. Senior leaders agreed to take on personal leadership for sustainability and shared insights from the course with their teams. A new Sustainability Steering Group reviews sustainability plans on behalf of the Executive team, presenting them with a consolidated picture of plans across the business. Senior leaders have been invited to Sustainability Steering Group sessions to present their personal and team sustainability goals and plans. A new sustainability curriculum group, comprising people from across the business, is also developing skills on emerging trends and best practice, sharing learnings with the rest of the business.
How to drive progress across a complex supply chain?
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland shared early drafts of the Supply Chain Charter with key suppliers. Charter commitments are being embedded into new consultant appointments and the Charter is discussed in supplier meetings. Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has also invested in resources to support supplier partners. The Supply Chain Sustainability School offers suppliers free training on sustainability, off-site construction and management techniques designed to embed change. Grosvenor Britain & Ireland also retains consultants to advise suppliers on the most effective means of delivering social value and is working with property sector peers to grow a network of resources to make it easier for suppliers to access local supplies, workers and apprentices, as well as organisations that support unemployed people back to work.
Craig McWilliam, Chief Executive of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland
“Our world is experiencing a climate and ecological emergency. Companies need to have a wholesale rethink on how they use their influence to halt the worsening impacts of climate change and restore ecosystems. As one of London’s largest property companies and with a growing business bringing forward large-scale housing developments, we recognise the far-reaching impact a change in our behaviour can have. To be successful and accelerate positive change, we need to work collaboratively and innovate. This is a time for bold leadership.”