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.


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.

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.

B Corp

B Corporations (B Corps) are companies certified to demonstrate high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Companies of all sectors and sizes can achieve B Corp status. To qualify, companies must achieve 80 out of a possible 200 points across 5 sections:  governance, workers, communities, environment and customer engagement. In acknowledgement of evolving best practice in sustainability, B Corp are introducing a new, more ambitious framework of standards across 2024, which will expand from 5 to 10 sections for scoring.

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.

Plastic packaging tax

A tax of £200/tonne applies to plastic packaging manufactured in, or imported into the UK, that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic. Read more.

In April 2023, the government announced a consultation into moving the plastic packaging tax to a ‘mass balance’ approach to better accommodate chemical recycling.

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

Upcoming legislation

Minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) countdown

The grading criteria for buildings energy performance certificates (EPCS) is undergoing several revisions.

  • By April 2023, domestic landlords must not let buildings with an EPC rating of ‘E’ or under (unless exemptions are registered)
  • By 2030, all non-domestic rented buildings must meet EPC grade B, with EPC C by 2027 a proposed interim requirement

Read more.

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.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

Tabled in May 2022, this Bill introduces changes to the ways powers are devolved to local authorities and to English planning system. Key changes tabled include the replacement of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment regime with the Environmental Outcomes Report. There will be further consultation about the outcomes and requirements for monitoring and reporting, and enforcement powers will also be strengthened for Local Authorities addressing deviation from EOR rules.

The bill will also give Local Plans more weight in planning decisions, with an aim to reduce the time associated with planning. A consultation recently closed on strengthening the National Planning Policy framework via the bill, which could include a greater focus on emissions reduction and environmental enhancement.

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 shared a draft of the Green Claims Directive, which will strengthen consumer protection against greenwashing. 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. 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.

Further details on specific criteria and sector-level claims are tabled for coming weeks. 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.  

Voluntary disclosures

Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

TCFD is a voluntary initiative to improve organisational reporting of climate-related financial risks and opportunities. TCFD reporting will become mandatory for the largest UK businesses (see above), however is increasingly requested by investors across a breadth of organisation types. Read more.

Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)

The Taskforce for 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.

TNFD has launched its fourth and final beta framework in advance of the planned launch in the autumn. This iteration allows organisations early insight into the proposed approach to disclosure metrics, which will follow a tiered framework of indicators spanning global, sector-specific and additional metrics. 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.