Message from the CEO
Our vision is to be the best property company in the UK in the eyes of our customers, communities, partners and employees. Our sustainability vision reflects this ambition. We aim to be the sustainability leader in the UK listed real estate sector – a company that pioneers better ways to approach everything from community employment to energy, waste and biodiversity.
Why do we think it’s so important to take a lead on sustainability? Because it helps to ensure this company remains healthy and successful for years to come. Put simply, we need to act in the right way so that the people we depend on keep supporting us.
The rationale for this approach is clear: people have a choice.
Our customers can choose whether to occupy or visit our space or not. That means we must understand their changing needs and respond in the way we design, build and manage property. Yes, it’s about helping occupiers to manage costs and meet environmental regulation. But it’s also about providing great experiences inside our buildings, delivering modern space that helps our customers to attract new talent and support the wellbeing of their employees. It’s about providing great experiences for people outside our buildings too, from the natural parkland at Bluewater to the new public realm we’re opening up in Victoria, SW1.
Our communities can choose whether to support our development schemes and properties or not. By regenerating land in a smart and thoughtful way we can deliver powerful economic benefits, creating thriving locations where people want to spend their time and money. We believe new developments must enhance the local area, a challenge we’re meeting in current schemes across London and at our Westgate retail scheme in the historic centre of Oxford. We also believe the construction and management of our assets should generate jobs for local people, which is why we’ve extended our successful Community Employment Programme from London to Oxford. We’ll be taking it out to our shopping centres over the next 12 months.
Climate change is an issue of importance for all of us. During the year we played an active role at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, talking about our approach to sustainability and sharing experiences with others. Inspired by the steps taken towards a global agreement, we have set an ambitious science-based carbon reduction target for the company. We’ve also taken direct action, becoming the first property company in the UK to switch to fully renewable electricity.
Our partners can choose whether they want to work with us or not. That’s why we set high standards for our supply chain, always backing that up by acting according to our values, particularly the value of integrity. For example, our commitment to fair pay for employees is now matched by a requirement that our contractors, on all new developments, pay a Living Wage to anyone who works on our behalf.
Across the business we partner with a wide range of organisations, from suppliers to government, charities and industry peers. Over the past few years I have been delighted to help The Passage homelessness charity in Victoria, SW1. Working in partnership with Westminster City Council, Grosvenor Estate and Berkeley Homes, we ensured Section 106 funds were redirected to enable the charity to transform its dilapidated care centre, and we supported them during the works. The result? Instead of firefighting property issues The Passage can now focus on providing essential support to the local community.
Our employees can choose whether to spend their time here or go elsewhere. In my experience the most talented people want to work for a company that believes in itself and, in turn, that they can truly believe in. Sustainability is central to this. I am convinced the importance we place on thinking in a rounded, long term way provides us with an advantage in the competition for talent. Not least it presents the sort of intellectual challenges our people relish. In February we launched our new Sustainability Matters online training programme to all of our employees. We will be developing the programme this coming year with a series of role-specific face to face modules. The messages within the programme will be reinforced later this year when we move into our new head office at 80-100 Victoria Street, SW1, where thoughtful refurbishment has already achieved BREEAM Outstanding at design stage.
We will only continue to thrive as a business if all of these people – customers, communities, partners and employees – choose us. Our shared agenda with these groups helps make Land Securities more resilient and more successful. Critically, investors are more likely to choose to invest in us if we’re meeting the needs of everyone we depend on. It’s a virtuous circle.
This year we carried out research to ensure that, in terms of sustainability, we continue to meet the changing needs and expectations of our stakeholders as we move forward. The findings of our materiality review are discussed in this report, together with an update on our commitments and actions. Following the review we have chosen to focus on three priority areas – creating jobs and opportunities, efficient use of natural resources, and sustainable design and innovation. Over the next 12 months you will see us work to lead in each of these areas, driven by our purpose of helping businesses to succeed, economies to grow and people to thrive.