Last year I was asked to lead on a project to define our sustainability objectives, and in particular how we would support the drive to Net Zero Carbon.
As someone who has worked in Health and Safety all my career this appeared to be very new territory but I quickly learned that a society which is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable has very similar objectives to H&S – they are both about taking actions today to ensure there is a tomorrow.
However, like many other businesses, it has taken us time to benchmark our current impact and to decide where to start.
Over the past year I have been learning about the Triple Bottom Line, Donut Economics, the Circular Economy, Ecosystem Services, and numerous other models.
Understanding the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and our responsibility to them, seemed overwhelming at first but we quickly established what was in our control and I’m pleased to say that our current objectives will contribute towards 10 of the UN SDGs.
Through our benchmarking exercises we realised that we were already doing a lot, particularly with regards to ‘Decent Work’, ‘Wellbeing’, ‘Education’, ‘Gender Equality’ and ‘Responsible Consumption’. This was an important revelation that gave the whole team the confidence to be ambitious with our objectives.
What we also realised from the start is that we sit between our suppliers and our clients, therefore we need to work together and have common objectives.
Personally, I’ve gone from being daunted by the whole sustainability agenda, to now being very excited and motivated.
What I see now is the potential for working better and smarter, the opportunities to deliver social and environmental value, and the chance for our teams to think creatively about how we tackle the challenges.
The built environment has a huge role to play in delivering Net Zero Carbon by 2050. The social housing sector has its own unique challenges, particularly with regard to providing housing that can cope with extremes of temperature and weather events, which will become increasingly important, not just for energy consumption, but also for the wellbeing of residents.
In the short term we are focussing on our operations, which includes waste and energy. We also raising awareness across our teams and sustainability is already playing a role in our decision making.
Longer term we will need to work with our clients and suppliers to co-create solutions to some of the more complex and challenging issues such as retro-fitting, waste streams, and materials.
I have now been on this journey for over a year, our sustainability committee have made some good progress in 2022 and I’m already looking forward to working with our clients and suppliers as our common objectives start to align.
If you want to know more about what PiLON is doing with regards to sustainability, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Sid Clark – Head of SHEQ Compliance