Sustainability continued to be at the forefront of business in 2016 despite the changing global political landscape.
The year was very much the advent of doing business with purpose – the recognition that wider stakeholders benefit from the work done by business – something Wates has acknowledged for a long time. Since the setting of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2015 as well as the Paris Climate Agreement, we are increasingly seeing businesses aligning their strategies towards these goals and putting climate risk and opportunity at the heart of their approach by setting science based emission reduction targets, renewable energy targets and improving climate-risk disclosure.
ENGAGING OUR SUPPLIERS
Engaging our supply chain on our sustainability journey is fundamental if we are to deliver on our 2020 commitments. Our support to the Supply Chain Sustainability School continued throughout 2016, thanks to a grant from Wates Giving. A series of supplier workshops were held with our supply chain to promote and raise awareness of the school and its benefits. These were extremely well received and following this we are proud to have 56% of our suppliers who we spend over £500k with as members of the school. Wates also achieved Gold Member Status.
BEING A CONSIDERATE COMPANY
The Considerate Constructors Scheme enables us to drive our standards and improve the image of the construction sector. Wates sites secured 42 awards in 2016 and our average CCS performance was 40.04 – exceeding that of CCS Associate Members.
DRIVING ENERGY AND CARBON STANDARDS
Significant work was undertaken in 2016 on collating and analysing our carbon footprint. Following recent acquisitions, we finalised our new Group reporting methodology and data to ensure all parts of the business are now captured. The Carbon Trust are our independent assurance partner who are working with us and other partners to develop our carbon reduction strategy and meet our targets. We have started managing energy centrally through the single energy provider initiative, we have started to procure electric vehicles for our Maintenance Fleet, we have set sustainability standards for our offices and have a partnership to procure gold standard carbon offsets when required all this is supporting us make significant steps forward towards our goal of being more resource efficient and sustainable.
ACCESSING INNOVATION TO DRIVE SUSTAINABILITY STANDARDS
Fantastic progress was made in 2016 on our award- winning Wates Sustainable Technologies Programme – an initiative which identifies new sustainable technologies for our customers to improve energy, waste and water standards in buildings. A series of Customers’ ‘Dragons Dens’ events were held to promote the technologies which many customers are now installing to deliver real operational savings. Some of these technologies were installed as part of the refurbishment of our Head Office in Leatherhead. Ensuring we commit to high sustainability standards for our own properties, we achieved SKA Silver on the Head Office refurbishment and have incorporated technologies including Propellair Toilets, Waterblade and Savorex hand dryers.