We are proud to have yet again won a host of awards at this year’s Green Apple Awards with a wide range of initiatives across our shopping centre portfolio, from water and energy saving, environmental management and innovation. For those that may not be familiar with “Green Apples” they are environmental awards launched in 1994 by The Green Organisation and have become well established as one of the most popular environmental campaigns in the world.
The aims are simple, to;
Improve environmental performance
Encourage the efficient use of resources.
Enhance the competitiveness of organisations.
Support the wider goals of sustainable development, including social benefits through
community and staff involvement.
Help Green Apple Award winners to benefit from their environmental endeavours
The “Green Apples” and all the other environmental awards that we have won this year are however not just a case of writing a submission and crossing our fingers, they take a considerable amount of work from the centre management teams and property managers and are a reflection of the growing importance of, and commitment to environmental improvements and best practice across the shopping centres that we manage.
We have increasingly seen over the last few years that the shopping centre teams are coming together to find opportunities across a wide range of environmental initiatives. These now range across sustainability, from the adaption of otherwise unused areas for planting or wildlife, charity initiatives, employment opportunities, lighting and plant improvements, water and waste schemes and large infrastructure improvements like solar installations.
The drive on such wide ranging initiatives is not only through award schemes like Green Apples, they are firmly imbedded in the way the majority of our clients work and report to their investors – driven through benchmarking tools like GRESB and REEB , legislation like ESOS and MEES and clients’ own genuine commitment to improving their portfolios. It is therefore really encouraging to see new ideas and initiatives keep coming, year after year with the teams committed to sharing ideas and driving improvement to ensure that we keep hitting our targets in innovative and interesting ways.
Below is a list of all our Green Apple Awards – congratulations to everyone who entered – without our centre management teams we couldn’t do any of this.
Swan Centre, Eastleigh – Green Champion Award in Property & Estate Management and a Green World Award for Water Saving.
Prospect Centre, Hull – Green Champion Award in Retail & Wholesale Innovation.
Crystal Peaks, Sheffield – Gold Award for Waste Management.
Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull – Gold Award for Environmental Management. Also shortlisted for Green World Awards.
Woolgate Centre, Witney – Gold Award for Property and Estate Management - Energy Saving
Hildreds Centre, Skegness – Silver Award for Environmental Best Practice in Shopping Centres
Further details on the efforts of two of the schemes are described below;
The Prospect Centre - Hull
The Prospect Centre worked to reduce its carbon footprint by introducing Amy’s Garden, a community seating area outside the centre surrounding a statue of local aviation pioneer Amy Johnson.
The garden focuses on enhancing the area and supporting Amy’s legacy in the city, all the while creating a pleasant space for visitors and the community to enjoy. Amy’s Garden also provides a fantastic central space for everyone to work together to create a more sustainable environment.
In order to create Amy’s Garden, the team at The Prospect Centre used plants grown in their greenhouse and recycled soil from their rooftop allotment. In just its first three days it proved to be a massive success. Dwell time in the centre increased by an average of 10 minutes and sales at surrounding food stores also increased as people had somewhere pleasant to sit and eat their lunch. It also provides a fantastic backdrop for summer events and encourages more people to sit, watch and participate in activities.
Following the installation of Amy’s Garden, the centre has been able to install a second beehive on their rooftop, as there is now enough food for the bees, and as a result, they’ve raised money for charity through the donations of up to 20 kilos of honey from the two beehives now on site. A great example of an integrated approach combining several initiatives.
Touchwood Centre - Solihull
Touchwood’s waste had historically been at 40% recycling rates and 100% diversion from landfill but the team were determined to go to the next level of sustainability and recycling, through culture change, process improvement and education.
In order to increase the recycling on site a new scheme was developed which placed the emphasis on the tenants to segregate their waste predominantly by allowing tenants to store their waste in their units.
Using ‘Nudge theory’ to change behaviour and create a new norm, each tenant was surveyed to understand their waste and to obtain a contact name for each tenant. A letter was then issued outlining the scheme and how it would work, the letter was sent from the waste supervisor and appealed on a personal level for each tenants help. The traditional general waste was reclassified as ‘non-recycling’ to remove the temptation to place unknown items there rather than make a decision about their recycling properties. This non-recycling was placed into a clear bag and collected less regularly then the boxes of recycling, to incentivise tenants to segregate their waste into recycling and prevent the waste building up in store.
This approach coupled with a change to location that the recycling is sent to, has seen the site rise from 40% recycling to 98% within 12 months, nothing to landfill and the remaining 2% sent for energy recovery. There has also been encouragement for individual stores to share the best practices we have developed with their head offices for roll-out elsewhere.
As our centre management teams continue to work on these and other sustainability initiatives into 2018, we look forward to them receiving further recognition in the future.