This is going to hurt…In the words of Sir David Attenborough “the moment of climate crisis has come” and as he pointed out to BBC News on 16th January, “the south east Australia is on fire. Why? Because the temperatures of the Earth are increasing”.

Whilst the UK property industry (and in fact, the UK as a whole) can’t take full responsibility for what is now generally accepted as an international emergency I think there can be few that will now doubt that we all individually and as an industry have a very urgent and fundamental responsibility to act now for the sake of, bluntly, survival.

The general rhetoric and press coverage on ESG in Real Estate has grown significantly in the last few years and particularly in the last few months, however targets have been left to organisations (with the possible exception of CRC and MEES, both of which had limited genuine impact).

Now for the first time we have a real target – Net Zero Carbon by 2050.

Whilst there is an argument to say 2050 is too long, it is the first time we have something concrete to work to – and we have to start somewhere.

It is going to be a huge challenge but the urgency around the need for this means we need to absolutely embrace this target and run with it… fast!

What does Net Zero mean to Workman?
We feel we are ideally placed to assist clients with our specialist combined knowledge of property management and building consultancy. What we would start by saying is this will hurt across the industry.

There are no short cuts (we don’t believe that off-setting if a viable long-term option) and it will fundamentally affect the way in which a building operates and is managed.

It will also cost.

Perhaps the headline on this is that gas goes, which will obviously require both significant planning and upgrades. Major efficiency initiatives and on-site generation opportunities will need considering in each and every refurbishment undertaken from now.

In reality there isn’t going to be a second chance in the next 30 years if you miss the next major refurbishment.

New industry skills
A new level of on-site skill and M&E expertise is required to manage assets to their absolute efficient best moving forwards (traditional targets have been around 5% reductions – we now need to start looking at 60%), new procurement strategies are required and a very definite and embedded engagement of all Stakeholders to ensure every opportunity is taken and then performance is maintained.

A call to arms – and we’re ready
In short, this is a team effort (and for team read whole industry, working together, as one) and potentially one that goes against the traditional goals of achieving best (financial) value or outperforming competitors.

This is a different layer of value and possibly the highest value that can be attributed to anything… long-term survival.

Workman feel privileged to be in a position to play a central role in this team and we are ready for the challenge that the industry now faces.

We know that a large number of our clients are ready too as they sign up to the BBP’s Climate Change Commitment – partnerships that are absolutely key to the long-term results that we need.

Vicky Cotton
Sustainability & Wellbeing Director