At PEMCO we are serious about sustainability. To be a sustainably responsible business means that we are accountable for the ecological, social and economic outcomes of our actions. In support of this we account for, and report on, a triple bottom line - Planet, People, Profits.
Today it’s very fashionable for a business to make such a statement, but for our senior management team, sustainability has been a real and integral part of our thinking and business behaviour for more than 30 years. In the 1980’s we were installing low-energy lighting in hotels when most people thought they were an expensive luxury; we were campaigning for cycle paths in town centres when petrol was cheap; we put the first internationally accredited environmental management system into British Airways in 1993; and our MD, Keith West, drove the Bluewater shopping centre to successful accreditation to ISO 14001 - the first shopping centre in the world to achieve this prestigious environmental management award.
Today we are as keen as we’ve ever been to lead the property management sector in becoming ever more sustainable as an entire industry. PEMCO continues to place sustainability at its centre and will actively lead on practices of sustainable Property Management in all respects.
Reducing our environmental impact is central to our business strategy. A socially and environmentally responsible approach to business underpins our core operating principles and is reflected in our company values. We’ve always known it’s the right thing to do. But we also believe that it’s the smart thing to do because it creates long-term commercial value for our business while reducing our financial, operating and reputational risk.
Our activities are not restricted to positioning PEMCO as a sustainable business alone; concerted effort is also applied in assisting the actual properties that we manage to become more sustainable. This will include the supply of engineering and procurement services leading to the tight control of electricity, gas and water consumption, and in actively supporting activities such as the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency scheme (CRC). We will also actively manage the reduction of waste materials, reuse and recycle waste wherever practical within the properties under our management. We believe that as a result of changes by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to their property valuation guidelines (published in April 2010), property values will in future be linked to the sustainability of buildings. Some commentators are predicting increases in value by up to 16% for the most sustainable buildings. We believe that from then on, the principle of environmental performance commanding increased value will be “common currency” throughout the UK property industry.
In terms of corporate social responsibility, PEMCO does not merely aspire to be socially responsible and environmentally sound, but we actually live and breathe real sustainable practices such as only using recycled products in our own offices, investing in alternative energy powered motor vehicles and insisting that all our IT systems are hosted on servers powered only by green energy. For PEMCO, green is not just a colour; and we planned from the outset to be a low carbon business (simply being Carbon Neutral is not good enough for us). Put simply, this means that we have planned that in total, our business activities absorb more carbon dioxide than they produce. To ensure that we meet this plan, we regularly calculate the total carbon footprint arising from all our business activities. This calculation is undertaken in full compliance with the GHG protocol and is repeated every six months as our business grows. We then offset the impact of this footprint by continuously investing in a range of high quality carbon offset projects, in particular we have committed to directly fund tree planting in support of the Forest for Peterborough. By offsetting in this way, we continuously plan to bring our carbon balance down to and then below ‘net zero, or in other words to be at least ‘carbon neutral’ and preferably 'carbon negative'. Our committment to the Forest for Peterborough means that we directly fund the planting and ongoing maintenance of a native British tree for every individual property that we are contracted to provide services to. Our vision is that in time this will lead to the establishment of a forest in the British countryside (we like to think of this as the PEMCO Hedge Fund).
We also have a policy to integrate into our local communities by offering local employment and trading with local businesses where this is possible.
Well, we’ve just signed a tenancy agreement on our head office accommodation in Market Deeping, on the Cambridgeshire / Lincolnshire border.
As an ongoing and tangible example of our commitment to sustainability, we’ve actively decided to base our head office operation outside of London which has no doubt resulted in cheaper operating costs, but we also chose the particular property with an eye to environmental performance. For example, our head office premises:
Our web server that serves both this website and MyPEMCO, our suite of online business software, is hosted by MEMSET, the UKs first officially certified Carbon Neutral data centre. We think they’re great too!
We are planning a number of other initiatives during 2012 which will make PEMCO even greener. We look forward to sharing these with you in the future.