In this series, our Chair, David Biggs, introduces the seven themes of our new strategy.
While we continue providing secure housing for people otherwise priced out of the market, David discusses the steps B3Living will need to take to protect our environment.
I remember attending a leadership course on sustainability back in 2012 led by the University of Cambridge and the UK Green Building Council. It was a time when sustainability wasn't popular, but it was something always close to my heart as I was brought up not to waste anything and re-use wherever possible.
That philosophy came from my father, who was an auto electrician and grew up during the Second World War where everything was in short supply. As a result, he never wasted anything and made a point of reconditioning, rather than throwing away and replacing it with new.
The course brought the urgency of the matter into sharp focus for me. Based on then-current consumption rates, we were consuming resources at a rate of one and a half planets; therefore, in other words, we would soon run out of natural resources. I was therefore so pleased to see the UK Government commit to net-zero by 2050 and we at B3Living need to play our part.
Clearly, our actions cannot only relate to supporting the net-zero goal but also need to look at reducing waste and reducing the consumption of raw materials. We have two key areas of focus: firstly, our activities and our business premises, and secondly the homes and neighbourhoods that we own, manage, and that our customers live in.
For the first we are aiming to be net-zero by 2030 and have zero waste to landfill.
For our housing stock, the challenge is much greater. It will be difficult enough to achieve our sustainability goals for the new buildings we will develop over the coming years. However, as I believe that over 80% of our current buildings will still be in existence by 2050, the challenge, therefore, is to make these more energy-efficient, to modernise heating systems and at the same time ensure the improvements are affordable both to B3 and to our customers. This is a massive challenge not just for B3 but for the whole of the property sector, not least because much of the technology we will need to deploy over the coming decades doesn't currently exist.
Even then, technology can only be as effective as how it is used. So, the sustainability agenda must stretch beyond being a purely asset management piece and look to awareness, engagement, behaviour change, and holistic solutions, which is why we have established a working group and action plan that draws in expertise from across the whole organisation and outside it. We have started to take the first steps of many to come.
It is a huge challenge but a challenge we must achieve and by taking small steps and all pulling in the right direction, knowing we have great and imaginative people at B3Living, we will succeed.