CEO Update: A Spotlight on Sustainability
Just one month in and we have already celebrated a big milestone by launching our Road To Zero Sustainability Action Plan at our inaugural West End Climate Summit, which you can read more about in the sections below. I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all who made the event such a success; it was fantastic to see so many West End colleagues back together in person and a huge moment for Dee Corsi & Will Dyson from the New West End Company team who have led the charge on this project for the past two years.
We have also be continuing our efforts to work with Government and our London partners to enhance the visitor experience for international tourists. We are continuing to push our efforts to revert the Government's tax-free shopping decision, and new research from VisitBritain has helped bolster our position by highlighting the financial loss to the Treasury. Alongside this, the Association of International Retail has predicted that a fall in spending of over 16% would wipe out the Treasury’s forecast of an additional £400 million and result in a net loss of VAT. Click here to read the full press release.
Of course we are also focussing on our domestic audience too, and we have closely been monitoring our weekly footfall in the district and how the return to offices has impacted our figures. We have seen footfall stabilise at around 80% of our pre-pandemic levels, which has been expected due to the changes in our flexible working habits. You can read more on this in the Financial Times.
It's not only our visitors we are continuing to attract to our District, but also new businesses. We have had a flurry of activity this year with the opening of Uniqlo x Theory on Regent Street & the new flagship Balenciaga store on Bond Street, with many new openings to look forward to this year; the Arcade Food Hall, The Good Store, Hugo Boss and Gymshark to name a few. To bolster our offering further, we are working with London & Partners & Westminster Investment Services on key global investment campaigns, including the Future Occupiers Programme, soley to focus on bringing new and innovative international brands to our District. To find out more about this programme, click here.
As you will have no doubt seen on our channels, and heard from the team, this month truly has been a focus on ensuring that we as a District are addressing the climate and ecological emergency and holding ourselves accountable as we work together to reach our net zero targets. The below shines a light on the work that has been done so far; initiatives that we look forward to building on with you, our members and partners, in the months and years ahead.
ROAD TO ZERO SUSTAINABILITY ACTION PLAN
Over the past two years, we have been working closely with environmental consultancy, Bioregional to create a Sustainability Action Plan for our District. led by Chief Operating Officer Dee Corsi and Head of Sustainability & Urban Infrastructure, Will Dyson, we are pleased this month to have finally launched our Our Road to Zero Sustainability Action Plan. The plan, created with our members and partners at its heart, focusses on three key areas, harnessed by the One Planet Living framework: path to net zero carbon, improved air quality and sustainable customer experiences.
Click here to read more on our key targets and and how we as a company and a district will hold ourselves accountable for our actions in tackling the climate and ecological emergency.
WEST END CLIMATE SUMMIT
Last week we hosted our inaugural West End Climate Summit on the eve of Earth Day, to celebrate the launch of our Road To Zero Action Plan and kickstart collaborative conversations with key West End businesses and stakeholders on what is one of the most important issues of a generation.
It was a very inspiring morning, hearing about the steps that have already been taken and the plans in progress here in the West End to combat climate change. The work done by all of our members truly showcases our District as a leading destination in sustainable operations through our businesses and property owners. While there is of course a way to go toward reaching our net zero targets, we are confident that, by working together we can address climate change and truly make a difference.
Take a look below at our highlights video of the Summit below, or revisit our panel discussions on our YouTube Channel.
I'd like to take this opportunity to give a huge thanks to our keynote speaker, Paul Scully MP, Minister for London, our panel chairs; Oliver Wayman, Co-founder at BOTTLETOP, Tor Burrows, Executive Director at Grosvenor Property UK and our very own Chief Operating Officer Dee Corsi for leading our innovative and inspiring conversations, and of course to our panellists from The Crown Estate, Montagu Evans, Derwent London, Westminster City Council, GPE, Microsoft, Bioregional, Greater London Authority, IKEA, John Lewis & Partners, Marriott Hotels & The Good Store.
ROAD TO ZERO BUSINESS HUB
As part of our West End Climate Summit and the launch of our Road To Zero Sustainability Action Plan, we have also launched our Online Business Hub, which is filled with case studies and practical advice for businesses in the West End, including initiatives that you can get involved with to work with us to achieve our ambition to become a truly sustainable district. Click the image below to explore the hub and resources available to your business.
BEYOND NOW ON OXFORD STREET
Our sustainability awareness campaign, BEYOND NOW 2022 has also been running through April. In its second year, BEYOND NOW showcases the ever-evolving journey that some of the UK’s most beloved brands are on to create a more sustainable future for our high street, enabling us to shop more responsibly. Over 30 brands got involved with the campaign with initiatives ranging from Adidas's sneaker cleaning workshops through to Lush's ethical store tour to shine a line on sustainable product invention.
This year we also invited Londoners, visitors and shoppers alike to submit their own #mybeyondnowpromise, a personal promises to drive change towards a more sustainable future, no matter how big or small. This could be anything from re-styling their wardrobe with a mix of old and new season buys to jumping on a bike for a shopping trip. To date, over 1,000 promises have been submitted, which you can explore on the Oxford Street website.
Watch below to find out more about the campaign: