Open-access content 24th March 2009
BIFM deputy chairman Rob Greenfield emphasises the need to avoid sacrificing sustainability to the recession
26 March 2009
At the time of writing this column the weather was improving and hopefully spring is now upon us after our cold spell. However, nothing should be taken for granted given some of the weather extremes experienced in recent years and scientists continue to make the case for global warming as being the likely cause.
Unfortunately, as the current global downturn continues to unfurl, there will be some tightening of belts with companies identifying areas within the operations where savings can be made. It would be all too easy to cut the budgets for environmental projects that would potentially undo all of the great work that has already taken place. Therefore, the current challenge for FM businesses is to continue with their funding for the implementation and maintenance of their sustainability policies, avoiding the easy option to scale back on investment.
Organisations still face key drivers for greater sustainability from their customers, shareholders, finance, legislation and the general public. In addition, there are significant risks to their business by failing to look at new smart ways of working, not keeping up with emerging technology and missing an opportunity by being left lagging behind. There are now many effective ways for businesses to reduce the impact of their and their customers operations on the environment including enhanced recycling, waste management and energy management to name but a few.
Moreover, many initiatives can now drive down costs as well as reduce carbon footprint, making them particularly attractive when so many companies are looking to achieve operating efficiencies within their business. For example, vehicle tracking can lower fuel usage and improve overall efficiency of mobile resources, while effective energy management can reduce consumption levels resulting in financial and environmental savings.
In my own organisation we are aware that we have a responsibility to promote business behaviour that is both socially acceptable and delivers a sustainable future. We are pressing on with our sustainability policy and have just held a visioning workshop with the executive board. I hope that others will follow our lead and not be tempted to use the economic downturn as a reason to let things slip.