P-THREE is now officially certified as CarbonNeutral®, one of the first businesses in the real estate sector to achieve carbon neutral status. This is something that each of us is personally proud of. It is a really positive step that recognises two things: 1) actions, more than ever before, speak louder than words; 2) environmental matters are becoming mainstream and the property sector, that is so influential in urban (re)development, will have a critical role in shaping our increasingly-interlinked environmental and economic futures.
While we’re delighted about our certification, we’re certainly not complacent and we acknowledge that we need to do more. One of the biggest challenges for us right now is transport, especially in these Covid times when use of public transport is limited. While it is possible for us to reach our office in central London by green means such as jogging or cycling, when it comes to viewing sites/schemes we are instructed on (for example in Edinburgh or Berlin) those transport modes obviously aren’t realistic.
So, part of our carbon neutrality is based on offsetting (compensating for the carbon dioxide emissions our transport causes by reducing it elsewhere, by, for example, planting trees). This is a dilemma not just for us, but right across the property sector and beyond. Ultimately, we need to stop producing carbon in the first place, but for now we recognise offsetting is a practical way to move towards that goal.
We can see that in the property industry, reflecting what is happening in the wider business community, sustainability is changing from being a niche, tick-box option to a mainstream business-critical factor. As a team we are already factoring sustainability into how we operate as a firm and how we advise our clients make the best and most responsible use of the places they are developing. We can see a time in the not too distant future where we no longer have to consciously make sustainability part of the equation, as it will have become hard-wired into how we all work and think.
But for us to get to that stage all of us need to start taking practical steps in 2020. Whether it is becoming CarbonNeutral®, as P-THREE has done, or something else, the important thing is that it starts to happen now. And not just because there may be a commercial advantage in doing so, but because it’s simply the right thing to do.
Article by Hannah McNamara, Co-founder of P-THREE