A new environmental code is being launched this week to help British businesses play a part in combating climate change.

The initiative, backed by the employers organisation, the CBI, as well as major companies like Barclays and BP will be unveiled in London on Tuesday.

It will provide a single international benchmark that will allow organisations to assess the environmental impact of their buildings.

Experts say that corporate property is responsible for around a fifth of global CO2 emissions, mainly via energy use (but also through waste and water production) and around half of companies’ CO2 emissions are thought to be down to their real estate.
Richard Lambert of the CBI says research has shown that buildings represent one of the largest areas of potential in cutting UK carbon emissions.

The environment code aims to go further than just addressing energy efficiency, by providing an internationally recognised system for organisations to use in offices all over the world.

The code has been formulated by the Investment Property Databank, which provides the benchmark for valuations in the industry.

IPD spokesman, Christopher Hedley, says: “If companies don’t know how they are performing, they don’t know how they can improve. Things like DECs [display energy certificates] and energy performance certificates are so complicated they are a turnoff.
“We want to create a measurement framework simple enough that companies can take it to the management and say, ‘This is how we need to improve’.”

Companies can sign up to the code voluntarily and Hedley said the Treasury division that co-ordinates the government’s estate, has expressed an interest in signing up to the code. The office oversees 160 million sq ft of space across the country.

He said there has also been strong interest from universities and colleges  which occupy another 430m sq ft across the UK, and from private companies occupying 270m sq ft.
The  code will provide a relatively simple template for the collection, measurement and analysis of environmental information from real estate. It is designed to work alongside local building regulations, but because it can be applied anywhere in the world corporate occupiers can assess their global environmental impact.

And Mr Hedley predicts that those adopting the code will benefit from higher value buildings in the future.  “We already have quite a few corporate clients who only go into certain buildings that are environmentally responsible,” said Mr Hedley.



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