Sustainability resources, best practise & case studies for the built environment

The built environment is responsible for a huge 39% of all global carbon emissions, far higher than any other individual sector. Here in London's West End, property owners and developers are playing their part in reducing the operational end embodied carbon footprint of our built environment through new developments, retrofitting and management.

West End Case Studies

Here we will showcase West End business strategies and initiatives at the forefront of sustainability and innovation across the property sector.


Landsec publishes Nature Strategy

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The Challenge

Across the UK and globally, biodiversity is in devastating decline. Species quantity has dropped 19% since 1970 in the UK and a third of global biodiversity has been lost. This is not only concerning for the loss of nature itself, but the loss of ecosystem services nature provides such as flood risk mitigation, wellbeing benefits, and providing clean air.

Landsec’s approach

Landsec realised its potential to enhance urban nature as one of Europe's largest real estate companies. In March 2024 Landsec launched its Nature Strategy, which outlines the goal of using their sites as a mechanism to maximise urban nature. The report is based on three principles: improving nature in the built environment, promoting health, wellbeing and community engagement, and creating nature-based solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Landsec will tackle both existing and new developments as part of the strategy, with bespoke Nature Action Plans to maximise opportunities at existing assets, and ambitious targets for biodiversity net gain at new developments.

Grosvenor Property UK

Grosvenor reaches milestone to retrofit 1 million square feet in London

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The Challenge

The emissions from the buildings in Westminster are double the UK average. Grosvenor is in a good position to reduce the emission intensity of these buildings as they manage over 2,500 units, including 500 Grade I and II listed buildings and structures in Mayfair and Belgravia. Tackling energy inefficiency in its assets is part of Grosvenor’s strategy to reduce emissions from its buildings, developments and supply chain by 90% by 2040.

Grosvenor’s approach

In 2020, Grosvenor committed £90 million to retrofitting its Mayfair and Belgravia portfolio to improve the building's energy efficiency. A landmark 1 million square feet has been retrofitted in London by Grosvenor, with an additional 250,000 square feet to be retrofitted in 2024.

Since 2020, over 360 sites have been renovated to optimise energy efficiency by installing LED lighting, insulation, double-glazed windows and even decommissioning 55 boilers.

Grosvenor Property UK

Grosvenor’s mentoring programme helps SMEs to set science-based targets

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The challenge

For many organisations, the emissions from the goods and services they procure from their suppliers form a significant proportion of scope 3 emissions. Knowing how to engage suppliers to set their own emissions reduction targets can be challenging, particularly for SMEs who may have limited knowledge and resources to manage reducing their carbon footprint. SMEs make up 99.9% of the business population in the UK, but only 358 of the 5.5 million of these businesses have set science-based targets with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

Grosvenor’s approach

Grosvenor has set an ambitious target of reaching net zero by 2040, and with 50% of its emissions coming from its supply chain, engaging with their suppliers is key to reaching this goal.

Grosvenor created a free mentoring programme for its SME suppliers to help them measure and reduce their footprint, delivered over eight months by training provider Heart of The City. The participating companies accessed support through workshops, clinic sessions and 1:1 mentoring, enabling them to calculate their baseline footprint, create an action plan and submit for a validated science-based target with SBTi. As a result, 28 companies are expected to gain validation from SBTi.

By 2030, Grosvenor expects 40% of its supply chain emissions to have a science-based target and aims to only award contracts over £1 million to suppliers with a science-based target.

Shaftesbury PLC

Shaftesbury PLC Partners With Sustainability Ratings Site Good On You

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The Challenge

Sustainability is becoming a higher priority for many customers in making their purchasing decisions, with 63% of fashion shoppers wanting the brands they buy from to actively promote sustainability. However, growing awareness of greenwashing means that shoppers may not trust brands’ environmental claims, and retailers may avoid communicating their action on sustainability for fear of enforcement from the advertising regulator.

Shaftesbury’s approach

Shaftesbury PLC, which owns and manages various retail destinations in the West End, has partnered with Good On You, a leading online and public source for fashion sustainability ratings. The partnership aims to help Shaftesbury take a more informed approach when selecting its retail tenants, and to help existing tenants to progress their own sustainability actions by providing them with tools and information. Brands can also use the Good On You platform to communicate their sustainability credentials to consumers in a transparent and credible way – the site assesses and ranks brands’ publicly available information against a set of criteria. The partnership makes Shaftesbury the first landlord to partner with Good On You, and it hopes that the collaboration will support more sustainable districts by empowering retailers and engaging shoppers.


Landsec Opens First Net Zero Office Building

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The Challenge

As corporate sustainability is rising up the agenda, many businesses are turning their attention to their office space, which will likely account for the majority of their direct carbon emissions. There is a growing demand for ‘green’ office space (e.g., having BREEAM or WELL certification) but in London only 20% of offices possess an environmental certification.

Landsec’s Approach

In April 2023 Landsec opened The Forge, its first net zero carbon office development. Located in Bankside, adjacent to Tate Modern, the development provides 140,000 sq ft of office space across two buildings. The Forge aims to excel in environmental and social sustainability, by providing 100% renewable energy and high-performance glazing to improve energy efficiency, as well as a large terrace and extensive cycle facilities to support wellbeing.

The Forge was designed by architects Piercy & Co and Bryden Wood and is the first commercial development to have been designed in line with the UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) definition of a net zero building. The UKGBC’s framework covers both embodied carbon and operational carbon, whilst most previous definitions of net zero buildings have only covered the latter.

The Forge has achieved BREEAM Excellent and NABERS 5* ratings. Landsec estimates that the building’s embodied carbon footprint is 36% lower than it was in the initial design state, due to improvements in material efficiency and use of lower-carbon materials.

The Crown Estate

The Crown Estate: Net Zero Housing Projects

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The Crown Estate has launched two pilot housing projects focused on achieving net zero standards. These initiatives will explore innovative approaches to construction, emphasizing energy efficiency and affordability. Their aim is to  pursue industry best practice and create vibrant, sustainable and energy efficient communities while supporting national net zero goals. Find out more here.


GPE: Sustainability Strategy & Developing Sustainable Buildings

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GPE announce new sustainability strategy

Great Portland Estates have announced a new sustainability strategy with an intention to reach net zero by 2030 and to reduce energy intensity in occupied buildings by 40% across the decade. The strategy includes a commitment, “Creating Sustainable Spaces” which encompasses all spaces across ready-to fit, fitted and fully managed. This follows the delivery of their first net zero carbon operation building at 50 Finsbury Square.

GPE's Guiding Principles for Design set out its aims and aspirations for building design, while taking into account climate change adaption and mitigation to ensure the longevity of buildings. Click to read more.

British Land

British Land: Net Zero Logistics Hub & Social Impact Investment

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British Land secure planning permission for London net zero logistics hub

British Land have confirmed planning permission for an ultra-low logistics hub in Paddington. The site will offer inbound access to HGVs while outbound deliveries will be from smaller electric vehicles and bikes. The development is expected to remove 100 large vans from the roads per day and create over 500 jobs from the area.British Land invests £25m in social impact to 2030

British Land have announced £25m of investment in generating social impact to 2030.

The Social Impact Fund will focus on education, employment and affordable space and deliver £15m on cash contributions and £10m of affordable space to 2030. Click to read more.

Grosvenor Property UK

Grosvenor Property UK: Going for Zero & Call for Planning Reform

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Grosvenor Property UK is committed to being net zero carbon by 2030. The pathway, independently validated by the Science Based Targets initiative, sets out how the company will achieve this goal. Click to read more.

Grosvenor take a retrofit-first approach to net zero offices - Grosvenor’s Holbein Gardens site will be the group’s first net zero office building, following a retrofit of the original site. The work employed low-carbon alternatives to concrete, reclaimed materials, and prioritised cycle spaces over car parking. It’s estimated that the future occupier will save 50% on energy costs vs. a typical London office due to the improvements to energy efficiency. Read more.

Grosvenor signs open letter to government demanding planning reform - Grosvenor have joined over 100 companies across the built environment sector in signing an open letter to government calling for planning system reform. The letter, chaired by the UK Green Building Council (UK GBC) urges the government to explore planning sector reform to align with Climate Change and Environment Acts. Find out more.

Derwent London

Derwent London: Managing Assets Responsibly & Net-Zero Carbon Offices

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The principal method to help Derwent London ensure its buildings are operated efficiently is its Sustainability Framework for Assets. The framework requires each managed property to have a Building Sustainability Plan (BSP) in place, which covers a range of issues with energy/carbon forming a key part. Click to read more.

Derwent London looks to smart technologies to transform sustainable spaces

Derwent London are exploring the role of smart technology in their journey to net zero. They have recently partnered with Johnson Controls to aggregate and centralise building data into a cloud-based platform, to give them better visibility on building performance and emissions created. They hope to use AI learning to optimise energy use and achieve savings. Read more.

Derwent London invests in net-zero carbon offices for the West End

Derwent London have begun work on a net zero carbon development in Baker Street. The site will comprise 200,000sq ft of offices as well as some shops and homes, and will be designed to support low-carbon heating. Click here to read more.

A net zero carbon building, 20 Berkeley Square is set to become one of the greenest office buildings in Mayfair. Click to read more.

Sector Commitments & Resources

The below highlights industry trade body resources and commitments that may apply to your West End business. Read on to find out more about these initiatives and how to get involved.

Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) Responsible Property Management Toolkit

Developed by the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP), the responsible property management toolkit offers practical advice and a vast range of resources to address the sector’s sustainability challenges. This ranges from environmental management through emissions reduction, waste and supply chain management (to name a few) as well as looking at social value, employee health and wellbeing.

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) Net Zero Buildings Definition

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) are a charity with over 600 member organisations from the built environment in the UK, looking to promote best practice in sustainability in the sector. In 2019 they developed a framework definition for what qualifies as a ‘Net Zero Building’ along with guidance on how this can be achieved in both construction and operation.

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap

At COP 26 the UK GBC launched a sector-level roadmap for the UK built environment to achieve net zero. Beginning with a sector-level carbon footprint, this roadmap to 2050 outlines the technological shifts, policies and industry actions required to achieve net zero.

Among the guidance, the Stakeholder Action Plan outlines immediate actions, progress by 2025, and progress to 2030 for 14 kinds of industry stakeholder across the sector.

The London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) Climate Emergency Retrofit Guide

The London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) is voluntary network of over 1000 built environment professionals spanning developers, engineers, housing associations, architects, planners, academics, sustainability professionals, contractors and facilities managers, with support and input from local authorities.

Specifically aimed at addressing retrofits, the LETI Climate Emergency Retrofit guide establishes best practice for the retrofit process in the UK across a variety of property types.

The London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) Embodied Carbon Primer

In order to support built environment professionals in reducing embodied carbon, LETI provided guidance for anyone planning construction to reduce the embodied from both building design and choice of materials, as well as exploring how massing and treatment of sites can affect embodied carbon.

SBTi Net Zero Standard

Science-based targets provide a clearly-defined pathway for companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth.

Targets are considered ‘science-based’ if they are in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.

In order to be recognised as a 'net-zero business' acting in line with climate science, businesses must now at least halve their emissions by 2030, and reduce them by 90% by 2050 at the latest, all without the use of carbon offsetting. Companies with land-intensive operations must also set an SBTi Forestry, Land Use and Agriculture (FLAG) Target.

In June 2023 SBTi released a new guidance document to support businesses in addressing supply chain emissions, outlining how larger companies can encourage their suppliers to set their own science-based targets. The guidance includes how to identify and prioritise suppliers for reduction targets, securing buy-in, training and engagement tools and methods, and monitoring progress.

GHG Protocol Land Sector and Removals Guidance

In 2023 Greenhouse Gas Protocol (the standard methodology for corporate measurement of emissions) will be launching new guidance on how to measure emissions and removals from land use, land use change, biogenic products, technological CO2 removals, and related activities. It is expected that this guidance will support the reporting in the TNFD framework. Companies with significant land use emissions, or who invest in carbon removals and storage, should take note of developments. Draft guidance for pilot testing was published in September 2022.

Science Based Targets for Nature (SBTN)

Science Based Targets for Nature is a sister organisation to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). They provide guidance on setting environmental targets aligned with the best practice recommendations from the scientific community to tackle the interconnected challenges of nature depletion and climate change.

Guidance is already available for target setting on climate and emissions reduction through SBTi and the Net Zero Corporate Standard.

In May 2023 SBTN announced the first science-based targets for nature in the form of technical guidance for freshwater and land. These cover the ‘Assess, Prioritise and Set” stages of the process, with updates for the “Act and Track” stages to arrive in 2024.

Targets are in development for Oceans and Biodiversity.

UK GBC Guide to Commercial Retrofit

This guide from the UK Green Building Council acts as a summary of key considerations for retrofit projects, as well as highlighting case studies which bring to life the real-world considerations and benefits of undergoing a retrofit.

The Core Carbon Principles - ICVCM

The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM) have developed a framework and quality standards for the carbon offset market, known as The Core Carbon Principles (CCPs). It is hoped that the introduction of the standards will improve the quality and transparency of carbon offsets.

UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) Biodiversity Net Gain Fact Sheets

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) are creating a series of resources to help organisations meet or exceed Biodiversity Net Gain requirements. The first of these are a series of fact sheets which explain the key concepts around Biodiversity Net Gain.

The World Green Building Council Circular Built Environment Playbook

The World Green Building Council are providing resources for the sector to improve circularity in the form of the Circular Built Environment Playbook. This provides more than 20 strategies that organisations can use to embed circular design principles across all stages of building development. Read more.

UKGBC Guidance on Carbon Offsetting and Pricing

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has developed sector-specific guidance on approaching carbon offsetting and internal carbon pricing. The document includes a step-by-step process for developers and investors to approach offsetting as well as defining what minimum requirements, good practice and leading examples look like.

UK Business Climate Hub 

The UK Business Climate Hub is a new online resource designed to support businesses to cut energy costs and carbon. Launched by the Government and various UK business groups, the Hub is particularly aimed at SMEs and sets out a framework of seven steps to sustainability. 

The Hub includes advice articles on practical actions businesses can take towards sustainability, such as adopting renewable energy, electrifying vehicles and minimising waste. There is also a list of available finance and support, and an events listing page for relevant webinars and in-person events.

Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA)

Several organisations with a maritime supply chain such as IKEA, Patagonia and Amazon have formed the The Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA) to accelerate the deployment of zero emissions fuels in the sector. The organisations have launched requests for proposals for zero-emissions shipping services to be delivered in 2025 with the promise of significant bulk purchases if companies can meet their criteria for zero-emissions fuels.

UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) Embodied Ecological Impacts Knowledge Hub

The UKGBC has launched an online learning resource to help the sector understand and reduce embodied ecological impacts of building materials. These are the supply chain impacts on nature made through choice of materials – a concept similar to ‘embodied carbon’ as part of whole life accounting for emissions. The Embodied Ecological Impacts Knowledge Hub tracks and maps the supply chains of several materials key to the design and construction of the built environment – including sand, timber, metals and ores – and how they are impacting precious ecosystems, biodiversity, and natural environments around the world.  

Nature strategy handbook 

The Nature Strategy Handbook serves as a practical tool for businesses aiming to create a comprehensive nature strategy. It outlines the essential elements of a credible nature strategy, aligning with various frameworks, guidance, and regulations. The handbook offers a series of essential questions, recommendations, and resources to aid in developing a nature strategy, whether as a separate document or integrated within existing business, climate, or sustainability strategies. 

The handbook has been produced by ‘It’s Now for Nature’, a global campaign to bring together the business community to act on nature and contribute towards a nature-positive world by 2030. 

New partnership to standardise international hotel sustainability

The World Travel & Tourism Council and Biosphere have joined forces to advocate for sustainability measures in the global hotel industry through the Hotel Sustainability Basic initiatives. In an industry saturated with information, the initiative offers a standardised set of criteria for hotels to adopt.

The Hotel Sustainability Basics initiative is made up of 12 key criteria, based on 3 pillars:

  1. Measuring and reducing energy and water consumption, as well as reducing waste and carbon emissions.
  2. Fundamental actions to protect the environment.
  3. Fundamental actions towards a positive contribution to the communities in which they are located.

Better Building Partnership releases updated Green Lease Toolkit

Last updated in 2013, the Green Lease Toolkit was created to cater to a diverse range of users, including letting agents, lawyers, property owners, and investors. Users can utilise legal clauses within leases covering topics such as circular economy, waste and renewable energy to improve the sustainability of commercial buildings.

The updated version of the toolkit contains the ‘Green Lease Essentials’ section, which defines a vision of the minimum expectation of green leases. With the rapid pace of the sustainability agenda, the Green Lease Toolkit will be regularly updated, staying in line with industry best practice.

UKGBC launches guidance in retrofitting commercial buildings

“Building the case for net zero: retrofitting office buildings" emphasises the importance of implementing cost-effective and carbon-efficient retrofit methods over the medium and long term. According to the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), projects lacking clear retrofit strategies often overlook significant opportunities, such as easy, low-cost measures to reduce energy consumption and trigger points that facilitate more efficient retrofitting processes.

The UKGBC estimates that the office sector needs to achieve a 59% reduction in energy consumption by 2050 to fulfil net zero commitments, highlighting the crucial role retrofitting plays in meeting these targets. However, as the sustainability agenda expands alongside minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES), many building owners risk falling behind. With 77% of office stock having an energy performance certificate lower than B, potentially rendering them unlettable by 2030, the urgency for proactive retrofit measures becomes increasingly apparent.

GRI Biodiversity Standard

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has updated its Biodiversity Standard to address the issue of declining biodiversity around the world. This decline is causing ecosystem collapse and driving many species to extinction, which may ultimately threaten 50% of the global economy. The revised standard sets a global benchmark for accounting for biodiversity impacts and enables companies to disclose their positive or negative impacts on biodiversity.

The updated Biodiversity Standard focuses on four key areas, including transparency in the supply chain, location-specific reporting, new disclosures on the direct drivers of biodiversity loss, and requirements for the impacts on society, including communities and Indigenous groups. By implementing these measures, the GRI hopes to relieve the pressure placed on nature and help protect biodiversity for future generations.

Circular Buildings Coalition (CBC)

The CBC is a group of organisations focusing on the transition of a circular built environment across Europe. Partners include the Ellen McArthur Foundation, the World Green Building Council, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The CBC is involved with ‘Blueprint Projects’ across Europe including two projects in London. The ‘London Circular Construction Coalition’ is a collaboration with ReLondon, focusing on increasing the demand of construction materials in their second life. The University College of London has collaborated with the CBC on ‘The Building Passport Alignment project’ – an ESG framework for real estate and sustainable buildings. Both projects have an accompanying white paper.

Edie Sustainability Communications and Disclosure Handbook

Edie has recently released an updated version of their sustainability communications and disclosure handbook. The purpose of this handbook is to help businesses with their sustainability reporting, both voluntary and mandatory. The main focus of the handbook is on greenwashing, disclosures, and storytelling. By combining sustainability reporting, marketing, and communications, the handbook aims to increase transparency and promote positive behaviour change.

UK Government offers £190 to help companies reduce their energy usage

Companies in manufacturing, recycling, controlled environment horticulture, industrial laundries and textile renting services can now apply funding from a £185 million pot through the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund. Applications are open until 19 April 2024 and offers funding for energy efficiency projects, deep decarbonisation projects, engineering studies, and feasibility studies. Depending on the project type and company size, the minimum funding threshold per project is £30,000 - £30 million. Application guidance can be found here. In addition, £6 million has been granted to 12 winners of the Local Industrial Decarbonisation Plan competition, who have used the funding to develop low-carbon development plans.

SBTi reports on beyond value chain mitigation

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has released two reports to mobilise action from corporations and support the design and implementation of beyond value chain mitigation (BVCM). BVCM is one of the four pillars of the SBTi’s Corporate Net-Zero Standard. It does not reduce a company’s scope 1, 2 or 3 emissions but enables other economic and social actors to avoid, reduce or remove greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions - and is therefore crucial for accelerating global carbon reductions.

The two reports are: Above and Beyond: An SBTi report on the design and implementation of BVCM and Raising the Bar: An SBTi report on accelerating corporate adoption of BVCM.

Global alliance to advance sustainable finance for the built environment

UK-based Building Research Establishment (BRE), the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the US Green Building Council (USGBC) have allied with the goal of unlocking sustainable finance in the global real estate sector. The alliance is expected to bring guidance for the built environment on financing sustainable buildings and furthering the agenda of the world's leading sustainable building rating systems such as BREEAM, Green Star and LEED.

The first set of guidance is expected to be released at London Climate Action Week in June 2024 and will focus on sustainable finance mechanisms such as green bonds and loans.

BSI UK Nature Investment Standards

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has launched their first version of the nature investment which is now open for consultation. The standard is designed to increase private sector investment into practices that encourage nature recovery.

UKGBC guidance on embodied carbon measurement and reporting

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has released new guidance for how developers, owners, contractors, investors, lenders and facilities managers can utilise embodied carbon assessments to report on an asset’s scope 3 emissions across its lifetime. In addition, the guidance explains how architects, engineers and other professional services can use project-based emissions disclosure for embodied carbon which has historically been challenging to align with the GHG Protocol.

Legislation & Disclosures

The below outlines current and upcoming legislation that may apply to your West End business. This list will be updated throughout the year as legislation changes.

Current legislation

Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)

Requires large UK companies to report on energy efficiency measures and plan for continuous improvement. Read more.

Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR)

Requires large UK companies to publish (at a minimum) their Scope 1 and 2 emissions and report on their measures to reduce emissions. Read more.

Mandatory Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) reporting for large businesses

Listed companies, banks or insurers with more than 500 employees will be required to disclose climate-related financial risks in line with the existing TCFD standards. Read more.

Green Claims code

Guidance from the Competition & Markets Authority for businesses who want to make environmental claims about goods and services.In February 2023 the Committee of Advertising Practice has released supplementary guidance to the Green Claims Code regarding on the use of carbon neutral and net zero claims in advertising. Read more

Carbon border tariff commences in the EU

The European Union (EU) has initiated the first phase of the world's inaugural carbon border tariff. The intervention will require all importers of iron and steel, aluminium, cement, electricity, fertilisers and hydrogen to report on the carbon emissions created during the production of these goods. From 2026, importers will have to purchase certificates to cover these emissions, putting foreign producers on a level playing field with those in the EU that have to buy permits from the EU carbon market. The impact will likely be most severe on the EU’s biggest trading partners, including the UK. Read more.

Minimum energy efficiency standards

As of April 2023, it is unlawful to let a residential property with an EPC of less than band E. Some exemptions apply, including a cost cap.

The Government had previously committed to applying EPC standards to commercial properties. By 2030, all non-domestic rented buildings were to meet EPC grade B, with EPC C by 2027 a proposed interim requirement. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appeared to roll back on these commitments in September 2023, but detailed guidance has not yet been issued. Find out more.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Act

Becoming law from October 2023, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act introduces changes to the ways powers are devolved to local authorities and to English planning system. Key changes include the replacement of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment regime with the Environmental Outcomes Report. The Act replaces previous Section 106 payments with a new Infrastructure Levy. The law gives Local Plans more weight in planning decisions, with an aim to reduce the time associated with planning. Before the Act can fully take effect, there will need to be a raft of technical consultations, secondary legislation and an update to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Read more.

Upcoming legislation

Due diligence provisions to eliminate deforestation in supply chains

The Environment Act 2021 introduced measures banning the purchase of commodities that are the product of illegal deforestation. In 2022 DEFRA consulted on secondary legislation needed to enforce this law and give businesses guidance on compliance. The Government will publish its approach to implementing new legislation in due course. Read more.

Mandatory publication of Net Zero transition plans for large businesses

From 2023 large businesses will be required to publish a net zero transition plan to 2050. The treasury has established an industry task force to oversee the development of a “gold standard” for climate transition plans, set to be finalised this summer. Read more.

Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDRs)

Corporates will be required to disclose a range of sustainability information regarding governance, strategy, risk management, targets and metrics under the emergent Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDRs) framework. Consultation regarding this took place in 2022 and the final rules and guidance are expected in the first half of 2023. Read more.

Energy Bill

Among developments relating to energy pricing and supply, the Energy Bill will focus on new market standards to accelerate adoption of low carbon technologies such as hydrogen fuel and heat pumps, as well as advancing industrial carbon capture and storage. Read more.

Sustainable Drainage Systems

DEFRA has recommended that sustainable drainage systems should be made mandatory on new developments in England from 2024, to reduce flood risk. A public consultation will be conducted on the new approach later in 2022. Read more.

EU Green Claims Directive

The EU Parliament voted to implement a directive which bans businesses from making deceptive or confusing green claims targeted at customers. The directive will introduce requirements to substantiate claims with life cycle data, and specifically explore the validation of certification schemes, noting the proliferation of eco-labels in the market was a cause of confusion for the public. Claims such as ‘climate-neutral’ or ‘carbon-neutral’ where offsets are used are likely to be banned. Similarly to the UK’s Green Claims Code, organisations will be mandated to ensure claims regarding a product’s positive environmental impact need to give information about negative impacts as well.

Changes are expected to roll out in 2026, giving EU states two years to make changes to their own laws. Read more.  

UK Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill

The forthcoming Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill will give the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) powers to determine when consumer law is infringed outside of court. Breaches could result in fines of up to 10% of global turnover. The Bill is under development, but lawyers indicated that misleading environmental claims are likely to included, so the law would strengthen protections against greenwashing. Since the introduction of the Green Claims Code in 2021 even sustainable brands continue to fall foul of the regulator, who note that environmental claims are some of the most complex to construct. Read more.

EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD)

The EU have tabled mandatory reporting for large organisations to protect the environment and human rights across their own operations and supply chain. If adopted, organisations would need to demonstrate ‘prevention action plans’ and ensure that suppliers comply with the plans. Read more.  

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) has been formally adopted by the European Union, taking effect from 2024. This directive expands and amends the existing Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), requiring companies to publish information on their sustainability strategy and objectives, as well as their impact on people and the environment. Reporting for CSRD will involve disclosing an extensive range of metrics, a double materiality assessment, alignment with the EU taxonomy/TCFD, and target setting. The CSRD aims to enhance transparency and comparability of sustainability data, helping businesses to be more accountable for their social and environmental footprint. Read more.

Biodiversity Net Gain for new developments comes into force from February 2024 

The Environment Act in 2021 stipulated that developers must prove their project demonstrates an increase in biodiversity on-site. Developers in England will be required to deliver 10% “Biodiversity Net Gain” from 12 February 2024 onwards. In some cases, it will be possible to deliver net gain through improvements elsewhere – biodiversity offsetting. Smaller projects will not be mandated to demonstrate this until April 2024. Read more.

Sustainable Drainage Systems

DEFRA has recommended that sustainable drainage systems should be made mandatory on new developments in England from 2024, to reduce flood risk. A public consultation will be conducted on the new approach later in 2023. Find out more.

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

The UK Government has announced that it will implement a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) on imported goods by 2027. The CBAM will impose a levy on certain products to ensure that they are subject to a comparable carbon price to those produced in the UK, levelling the playing field across different levels of decarbonisation effort in different regions. The tax will initially apply to imports of iron, steel, aluminium, fertiliser, hydrogen, ceramics, glass and cement.

In 2023 the Government consulted on a carbon pricing mechanism and UK manufacturers strongly supported such a policy, feeling that it would prevent their businesses being undercut by cheaper products from countries with less stringent environmental regulations. Further detail on the mechanism, including the exact list of products in scope, will be the subject of consultation in 2024. Read more.

UK Deforestation Due Diligence Law

At COP28 in Dubai, Defra announced new legislation to ensure that products containing palm oil, soy, leather, beef and cocoa will no longer linked to illegal deforestation. The UK Deforestation Due Diligence law is expected to apply to large businesses with a turnover of over £50m and will ban sourcing of these products from land illegally converted or deforested. Eligible businesses will also be required to undertake due diligence on their supply chains and report this annually for transparency.

Defra has not yet announced when the requirements will come into effect. Find out more.

EU agreement to strengthen air quality standards

The representatives of the European Parliament and the Council presidency have recently come to a temporary agreement to strengthen air quality standards in the EU. Their goal is to achieve zero pollution in the region by the year 2050. The agreement stipulates that EU air quality standards should comply with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Furthermore, the agreement requires the development of roadmaps and action plans in case pollutants are expected to exceed the target reduction. Achieving zero pollution is expected to impact transport and freight, as fuel combustion activities are one of the leading sources of air pollutants.

Before the agreement can be enacted into national law, it must first be reviewed by the Parliament Environment Committee and undergo legal review. Once approved, the agreement will be implemented as national law within two years. Read more here.

Westminster City Council’s ‘retrofit first’ policy

A new policy has been proposed where developers must now explore retrofitting options before demolishing buildings in the Westminster area. The proposed policy is now open for consultation and is included in a wider review of the council’s City Plan which outlines environmental policies for the area. The proposal for retrofitting has been suggested to reduce carbon emissions. It has been recommended alongside changes to the City Plan, such as affordable housing, site allocations, and carbon offsetting. Find out more.

Voluntary disclosures

Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

Initially developed as a voluntary disclosure to improve organisational reporting of climate-related financial risks and opportunities, reporting on Taskforce for Climate Related Disclosures (TCFD) is now mandatory for the largest UK-registered companies.

The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) was announced to take over the monitoring and duties of the TCFD in July 2023. Global investor-focused sustainability criteria are to be standardised by ISSB. Since the ISSB standards completely reflect the TCFD suggestions, there won't likely be any significant changes for those who report to TCFD. Read More.

Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)

The Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) is a risk management and disclosure framework for organisations to report and act on nature-related risks such as biodiversity loss and other impacts to natural capital. The framework published its final recommendations in September 2023. Read more.


CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) is the global disclosure system for companies and investors to manage their environmental impacts. CDP is the gold standard for corporate environmental reporting and is fully aligned with the TCFD recommendations. CDP covers disclosures across Climate Change, Forests and Water. 2023 will see organisations asked to disclose on plastics for the first time through CDP’s water questionnaire. Read more.

International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB)

The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) is a standard-setting body working to develop an international baseline standard for sustainability disclosures. ISSB aims to unite the fragmented reporting standards and quality among different regions and nations. This ISSB has issued its first two finalised frameworks, IFRS S1 and IFRS S2, with an expectation that the first corporate reports aligned with them will be published in 2025. It is anticipated that the ISSB standard will become the dominant framework for sustainability reporting.

IFRS S1 is the “core baseline” of sustainability reporting and is applicable to all large businesses. It covers company impact, including emissions across all scopes and waste management.

IFRS S2 is concerned with climate mitigation and climate adaptation and builds on existing disclosure frameworks in this field, mainly the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Find out more here.

TCFD Climate Scenario Tool for Food, Agriculture and Forest Products

A free online tool created by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development allows users to investigate possible climate change scenarios that are relevant to the food, agriculture, and forest products industries while navigating by specific variables and compare, visualise and download output data. The tool aids users in assessing their value chains' strategic resilience to climate risk and provides information for disclosures in response to the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Read more.

80m of funding announced to help UK businesses decarbonise

The UK government has announced over £80 million in funding to support businesses in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions. This funding aims to help companies shift from fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives. Projects funded so far range from hydrogen-powered cornflake production to low carbon whisky distillation. Find out more here.

SBTi Buildings Sector Guidance 

The Science Based Targets Initiative has developed new guidance aimed at companies that count the emissions from buildings they own or operate as a significant portion of their footprint (over 20%). The guidance aims to increase ambition in the sector and provides two 1.5C-aligned pathways for target setting, for in-use operational emissions and upfront embodied emissions. 

The guidance will become mandatory for buildings sector target setters once it’s finalised in 2024. Buildings sector companies that have previously had targets validated with SBTi will also have to comply if they wish to resubmit existing targets (for example if they are re-baselining their footprint). 

The guidance is currently open for pilot testing and organisations can register their interest to participate in the pilot before 11 December 2023. Find out more.