The green agenda is not new and it continues to gather momentum. According to a survey last year from accountancy giant Deloitte, between 2010 and 2015, UK sustainable business expenditure will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 14 per cent. The survey also found that there is a strong link between sustainability performance and financial performance.
Clients have been setting ever more demanding sustainable targets for years. We’ve also seen the arrival of new techniques like Passivhaus and a significant rise in properties achieving the top sustainable rating of BREEAM.
But the real boost from the green agenda is in stimulating new work opportunities and this is yet to materialise. We’ve had mixed messages from the government combined with a wait and see approach by many in the specialist interiors sector.
However, as new products and measures are adopted companies will need to invest in training to make sure that their workforce has the necessary skills to meet market demand.
Taking active measures to de-carbonise your business can benefit the bottom line. So being sustainable is not about the green splash of colour in a logo, it is about being lean; the less waste you produce, the less money you’ll throw away and the more competitive and profitable you’ll be.
We’ve been diverting gypsum waste away from landfill and designing out waste on site. This has created savings in disposal costs and landfill tax. Likewise solutions like standardised design can respond to the more-for-less agenda by demonstrating cost savings in delivering cleverly designed interior systems that meet specifications and are not over engineered.
While the government is right to cut unnecessary bureaucracy, it is important to recognise that not all regulation is an obstacle. Last-minute changes or scrapping of expected legislation can mean that companies have invested only to find the landscape has changed with the resulting damage this can cause.
Unfortunately thanks to legislative delays and constant uncertainty it is looking more and more likely that the Green Deal won’t live up to the potential it offered. Just days before the scheme’s launch, essential elements were not in place and the government and awareness among consumers was poor. These mistakes are risking failure, with a catastrophic impact on what should be a vital growth sector for the construction and insulation industries.
Adrian JG Marsh