Creating a Net Zero office – How Employers Can Play Their Part in Sustainability

20 March 2024

A change in the way the office is run is necessary to achieve Net Zero by 2050.

The future of work needs to be greener, and building a Net Zero workplace isn’t just a noble pursuit, it’s a necessary strategy for businesses striving for sustainability and long-term success.

Building a Net Zero office isn’t just about installing LED lightbulbs, it’s a complete rewiring of the way we approach the workplace and requires an ‘all-in’ approach from all of staff in order to work effectively. Expectedly, turning this commitment into action requires more than a few tweaks and token initiatives.

At Birchwood Park, we are committed to contributing to the UK’s social and economic sustainability future. With our own commitments to becoming Net Zero in all our managed areas and buildings by 2030 and 2040 for all our occupier managed buildings. Here, we discuss ways businesses can play their part in achieving a more sustainable future.

Promoting Sustainable Commuting

Commuting into the office makes an impact on the business’ carbon footprint.  Millions of professionals each day taking private transport to work, such as a car, releases greenhouses gas emissions into the environment. According to a study by the Department for Transport, cars are the most common mode of transport for commuting in the UK, with 61% of journeys made by car in 2020. This reliance on private vehicles contributes significantly to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

To support a sustainable future, employers must drive forward initiatives to promote a greener commute to the office and more energy-efficient transport, such as:

  • Car share– to reduce the number of single occupancy car journeys being taken to the office each day
  • Flexible hours – to ensure staff have greater freedom on arrival time into work and therefore greater access to public transport
  • Installing bike racks – to promote cycling to work
  • Fitness incentives – such as health reward schemes, to encourage walking to the office where possible

Recently, Birchwood Park introduced it’s free bus scheme, offering cost-free travel across Warrington to-and-from the Park for occupiers and their staff.  Public transport, like buses, offers a more sustainable alternative to commuting and studies suggest that a single bus can cut carbon emissions by up to 175 car journeys.  This, bolstered by cycling facilities, free bus links to nearby train stations and the installation of electric vehicle charging stations, ensures employers can give their employees can a sustainable option when they commute to work. Greener travel not only aids in minimising the overall environmental impact of the workforce, but it also helps fosters a culture within the workplace that prioritises sustainable living, ensuring your workforce is proactively championing greener transport both at work and in their social lives, contributing to a more sustainable way of living.

Responsible Waste Management

Inadequate waste disposal can lead to pollution of air, water, and soil, harming our ecosystems and biodiversity. Therefore, offices must strive to improve their waste management services if they wish to pursue a greener way of working.

At Birchwood Park, the team is proud to send zero waste directly to landfill, as well as ensuring over 75% of waste is being recycled each year, from all its manned buildings.

Employers looking to follow suit can introduce similar initiatives by reducing the use of single-use plastics, advocating for recycling practices, and implementing initiatives amongst staff such as litter picking. Creating this culture of responsible waste management within organisations contributes significantly to the larger objective we all share, of establishing a more circular economy. Birchwood Park’s dedication to waste reduction showcases the transformative potential of minor adjustments in day-to-day operations, as part of our shared mission towards Net Zero.

Moving beyond the Buzzwords

Sustainability is more than just a buzzword, and offices need to practice what they preach by demonstrating real sustainable choices in the workplace, not just shouting about them on social media.

Cultivating a Net Zero workforce also isn’t just about saving the planet (although that’s pretty important!). Numerous studies show that companies with strong sustainability practices experience enhanced employee engagement, as well as helping to attract and retain more top talent. These companies have been found to be better prepared to navigate the challenges of climate change and its effect on the global economy for years to come. When implementing sustainability initiatives in the workplace, it’s a win-win scenario for staff and the planet.

Remember, every green step a company takes contributes to a more sustainable, long-term future. Employers who embrace the green revolution will certainly reap the benefits.

Current Occupiers