1. As a business owner, what responsibilities do you think leaders in the commercial property industry have when it comes to the environment and climate change?
I think we all – inside and outside of commercial property – need to recognise the threat of climate change and take it seriously.
In our everyday lives, there are steps we can all take to reduce our impact on the environment. However, as a business leader, you have the power and ability to make decisions that have significant impacts, especially in high-carbon generating industries, like commercial property.
I am happy to say that we’ve seen commercial real estate already moving in that direction, the landlords we work with are already making decisions and doing the work to be kinder to the planet, and this will only grow.
2. What’s the risk for businesses that don’t act now?
If we don’t all play our part to slow climate change, the consequences are very grim. We’re already seeing those consequences in the form of natural disasters, but this will only get worse for future generations to come.
I recognise that businesses, especially recently, face many challenges and have competing priorities. But we all need to strike a balance and find a way to include sustainability in the list of priorities.
Consumers, employees, and investors also play a part here. They are becoming more and more mindful of where they spend their money, who they work for, and what they invest in, and are choosing brands that share their values and take responsibility.
So really, while becoming more sustainable, businesses aren’t only helping the environment but also investing in themselves and their performance in the future.
3. What commitments has Backbone Connect made to reducing carbon footprints and achieving net zero?
At Backbone Connect, we’ve committed to reducing our impact on the environment in our operations, office, and solutions.
We are continuously reviewing how we can improve the configuration of our operations and the services we deliver to our customers, and in turn, reduce our customer’s environmental impact.
We’re not experts in climate change or sustainability, so what we’ve done is find people who are and listened to them. Backbone Connect has pledged to net zero and we follow the ISO 14401 framework. While we work on achieving net zero, we’ve partnered with Ecologi, an organisation funding climate change projects, to offset the carbon we produce.
We’ve also established an internal team within Backbone Connect to assess our office environment and bring in greener solutions. For example, we made October No Disposable Cup Month, to encourage employees to use reusable coffee cups.
So, we’re taking it seriously, dedicating resources, but continuing to work on it and educate ourselves.
4. Why did Backbone Connect choose to have the Connected Buildings solution EPD certified? Why was it important?
Every company in every industry is making changes to be more sustainable. An important part of this change is ensuring the efforts you’re taking are legitimate, and a surefire way to do so is by working with partners who have the proper accreditations and certifications.
For example, we see many of the landlords and asset managers we work with committing to achieving a BREEAM certification for their buildings as a means of supporting their green initiatives and claims. BRE go to great lengths and processes to assess a building’s rating.
So, we chose to have our Connected Buildings solution EPD certified to demonstrate the environmental impact of the product, improve the environmental performance of the buildings we work with, and help landlords gain points towards building assessment schemes.
5. What should other businesses consider on their own sustainability journey?
Like any change, it has to start at the top, as leaders, we need to set a precedent. It’s a change in values and priorities, and it requires resources.
Secondly, businesses should consider finding a credible, respected standard or framework and follow it. At Backbone Connect, we’ve partnered with Pledge to Net Zero and Ecologi aligned ourselves with the ISO 14001 framework and gone through the process of earning an EPD certification.
Once you’ve set it as a priority and found a framework that makes sense for your business, get started, keep working on it, and continuously evaluate it.
6. How can businesses balance the costs associated with choosing greener solutions?
I think that the narrative of greener solutions being more expensive isn’t true.
When we consider things like energy consumption, greener solutions actually provide cost savings. Additionally, becoming a greener business has other payoffs such as appealing to conscious investors, attracting talent, and winning customers.
So, I don’t think sustainable choices cost more, maybe the initial investment will be higher, but in the long run, it’ll reduce costs, help you build a better-performing business, and save our planet.
7. How can landlords and tenants make sure the digital technology they are implementing is actually reducing their environmental impact?
It’s super important to make sure the claims you are making are meaningful and genuine to avoid greenwashing.
To ensure the technology and solutions are sustainable, landlords should first check the credentials to verify if they are supported by a credible third party. Ask questions, and try to understand the actual impact that is being made.