Net Zero commercial property is fast becoming our dedication here at Workman.

In the words of Sir David Attenborough:

“The moment of (the) climate crisis has come.”

Additionally, as he points out to BBC News:

“South-east Australia is on fire. Why? Because the temperatures of the Earth are increasing.”

Certainly, 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. Yet I think there can be few that remain sceptical that we all individually and as an industry have a very urgent and fundamental responsibility to act now for the sake of, bluntly, survival.

Press coverage for Net Zero commercial property

The general rhetoric and press coverage on ESG in Real Estate has grown significantly in the last few years. Particularly in the last few months. However, targets remain for 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 commercial property mean to Workman?

We feel we’re in an ideal spot 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). Moreover, it will fundamentally affect the way in which you manage and operate a building.

Indeed, 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 forward. Traditional targets have been around 5% reductions, but we now need to start looking at 60%. New procurement strategies are also necessary and a very definite and embedded engagement of all stakeholders. Thus, we can ensure we take every opportunity to maintain performance.

A call to arms – and we’re ready

In short, this is a team effort (and for team read the whole industry, working together, as one). 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 to attribute to anything… long-term survival.

Workman feels it’s a privilege to be in a position to play a central role in this team. Moreover, we’re 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