VINCI Facilities is the top-ranked FM provider for sustainability in the Sustainable Facilities Management Index for 2021.
This follows the company’s 2020 victory announced last January. The platinum certificate was awarded in recognition of VINCI Facilities’ high sustainability performance over continuous years and its ability to prove an embedded sustainability culture. Four other services providers achieved a platinum score.
Skanska, Bouygues Energies & Services, Mitie and EQUANS (formerly Engie) all achieved an 85-plus rating in assessments, proving a commitment to sustainability in the sector.
The FM companies have shown progress in growing sustainability but there must be more transparency on net zero, according to the Sustainable Facilities Management Index (SFMI).
The index, run by sustainability consultant Acclaro Advisory, is the sole sustainability benchmark for the UK FM sector. Now in its ninth year, the SFMI annually assesses the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of FM providers.
Acclaro’s team carries out independent assessments of 23 criteria, such as sustainability frameworks, management systems, social value, energy, water, compliance, health and safety, staff development and diversity.
2021 proved to be a year of challenges and discovery for the sector. Almost two years after Covid-19 materialised, FM’s role has shifted from crisis mode to strategic planning. Businesses now need their FM teams to help make sense of the built environment and the workplace after the pandemic, and the sector is working out how it must position itself in the market.
The 2021 assessments revealed that FM firms are making progress across the three ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) pillars at an operational level, introducing sustainability on the ground, both internally and externally. But, the index shows that apart from a select few leaders, FM organisations have struggled to make headway at a strategic level.
Main operational level findings include:
- Zero carbon: FM companies have made net zero commitments, a trend driven by growing legislative and corporate pressure. But there is a lack of transparency, and targets vary significantly across the industry.
- Biodiversity: FM service providers have made progress in this area in 2021 as they have been able to demonstrate success to customers.
- Social value: General improvements in this category have been driven by increasing client demand and stakeholder reputation. But FM companies still find measuring social value challenging.
- Transport: Significant progress in this category is due to a growing number of electric vehicle (EV) initiatives. While government legislation is pushing this forward, large commercial internal combustion engine vehicles and supply chain issues remain roadblocks.
Main strategic level findings include:
- Finance: FM companies have a gap in knowledge when it comes to the link between finance and sustainability, and how sustainability-related risk should impact decision-making.
- Risk management: FM companies understand risk at an enterprise level but struggle to thread this knowledge into contracts so that everyone benefits.
- Business models: FM companies are implementing two core sustainability-related business models: either specialising in niche initiatives such as EV chargers or developing consultancy services that enables them manage sustainability projects from beginning to end.
- Disclosure and values alignment: Leading FM organisations have begun to disclose important sustainability data, but the sector generally must aim for more consistency in disclosure to help create a much-needed standard for everyone.
The 2021 SFMI assessments also show a need for progress in supply chain sustainability. FM organisations understand that real progress requires action across the supply chain – especially when it comes to cutting overall emissions for net zero targets – but there is still the need for guidance on a targeted strategic and transparent approach in this arena.
Chris Havers, SFMI programme director, said: “FM organisations continue to excel at implementing sustainability at an operational level, improving performance in areas such as zero carbon and transport internally and for customers. But we are entering a pivotal time for the planet and, if the FM sector is to play its part, FM organisations must be more transparent and disclose their approaches to key issues including net zero and social value.
“There is also a need for guidance on supply chain sustainability targets. The solution is to create transparency and consistency in areas such as measurement to develop sustainability standards that the whole industry can follow – something the SFMI is wholeheartedly committed to.”
To download the SFMI 2021 Summary Report, click here.
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