We have four commitments related to sustainable design. We are embedding these across the company at all levels, ensuring they inform the decisions we make and that we are working to drive significant positive change in the places that we develop and operate.

Design all our new developments to meet or exceed best practice guidelines for carbon emissions and the use of energy, water and materials. Current BREEAM targets are Very Good for Retail and Excellent for Offices.

For each new development, our Sustainable Development Brief provides a single point of reference for project teams during the development process. It summarises our requirements for sustainable design, green building certification and environmental management. The brief is used by consultants, contractors and stakeholders to outline our approach to sustainable development, ensuring that together we deliver on our environmental commitments, irrespective of the size or nature of a project.

Carry out embodied carbon analysis to inform the selection and procurement of building materials to reduce environmental impacts and achieve at least a 15% reduction in embodied carbon

Embodied carbon is the emissions produced from the creation, operation and final demolition of a building. It includes the carbon emissions that arise from the processing, manufacture and transportation of construction materials, but also the products and components required to maintain and refurbish a building throughout its lifecycle.

We are working to ensure that the reduction of embodied carbon is embedded in our design development process across the company. We carry out embodied carbon assessments to inform the selection and procurement of building materials to reduce environmental impacts, focusing on products and materials that save costs and carbon. On projects such Westgate Oxford and our retail scheme at Selly Oak the embodied carbon consultant is an integral member of the design team, working between architectural, structural and services disciplines to ensure all decisions take account of carbon.

Maximise the biodiversity potential of all our development and operational sites

We want to better develop our approach to wildlife and natural systems. These systems sustain our business, our communities and each of us as individuals. As an industry and as a business we can impact upon them in positive or negative ways.  

We have adopted a strategic target to maximise the biodiversity potential of our operational and development sites and have been working with The Wildlife Trusts to understand what this means for us in practice and what we need to do to achieve it – and demonstrate that we’ve achieved it through creating clear metrics and targets. The Wildlife Trusts are the UK’s largest wildlife charity, dedicated to all wildlife whether in the countryside, town, city or at sea.  

This is a complex area and we are addressing three main challenges:

  • Create clarity for our stakeholders on what we are trying to accomplish and why
  • Prioritise and manage resources to achieve the greatest impact  
  • Measure what we do in a meaningful way

Ensure our buildings are designed and managed to maximise wellbeing and productivity

When designing a new development we consider the effect our space will have on everyone who encounters it – from office customers and their employees to retailers, their employees and their customers; from visitors to neighbours; from people today to those who may experience the building ten or twenty years from now. Given the amount of time employees spend at work, and the importance of leisure hours, it’s vital our office and shopping centres are safe, healthy and enjoyable places to spend time. 

We think this is the right way to approach development, not least because it makes our assets more appealing, more valuable and more resilient. In short, designing to support wellbeing helps make us a more sustainable business.

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