2020 – The turning point for environmental responsibility for businesses and the public?
You have to have been living under a rock for the past 20 years or so not to know that the world’s carbon emissions are wreaking havoc with the planet’s delicate climate. What was once perceived to be a potential problem at some point in the future is now seeming to be manifesting itself in rising sea levels, fires, and other natural disasters that scientists are linking to the rising global temperatures.
So what impact is that having on the UK property market and the way we live and work?
It seems that the majority of employers, employees, councils, architects and business owners are ‘doing their bit’ to reduce their carbon footprint, and this is now having a knock-on effect across the country.
Take flexible working for example. More and more people are able to work remotely, whether that is from home, in a coworking space, or in public places. Think how many car journeys that is saving, reducing congestion, demands on public transport and stress on those people who no longer need to travel to work every day.
Trends on the high street are also visible, with some retailers taking major steps to reduce the amount of waste being produced. Take the southwest based coffee shop chain Boston Tea Party. If you want a coffee to go, you had better bring your own reusable cup or be prepared to buy one from them – there are no single use cups available. Another example is ScoopAway, a wholefood shop in Bristol. Their bestselling lines are sold ‘loose’, so customers can scoop as much or as little as they like, reducing packaging and waste.
Government legislation concerning Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) now prevents the majority of commercial or residential property with an F or G rating being rented out, forcing Landlords to make their buildings more efficient, reducing energy consumption.
Big businesses are also increasingly committing to being carbon neutral in the short to medium term. Microsoft has gone so far as to pledge that they will have absorbed all of the carbon they will have produced since 1975 by 2050 – we will have to wait and see how they can do that, but what a commitment to make!
Local government is coming under increased pressure to ‘clean up’ the air quality in their cities. Marvin Rees, the elected mayor of Bristol is planning to introduce a ‘diesel ban’ in the city centre, and it can surely only be a matter of time before other cities follow suit.
Everyone can do their bit to reduce their carbon footprint. There are now apps that you can use to calculate yours, and suggestions are made as to how you can reduce this. Whilst there are those who think that our small island is not going to be able to make a difference compared to the large polluters like China, India and the USA, the cumulative effect of all of us taking steps to make a change can only have a positive impact on our immediate environment, as well as the bigger picture.
We would be delighted to hear from you if you have any tips, hacks or views on how you have successfully improved your businesses environmental impact.