Prime’s reputation as a trusted partner is built on the understanding that if we say we can deliver something, we will. So when we set out to create our Sustainability Strategy, it wasn’t to pay lip service to the climate change agenda. Making empty promises just isn’t in Prime’s DNA.
We’re a business that is driven by our values. It’s why our commercial success never comes at the expense of community and compassion. It’s also why, as the climate emergency has risen up the global agenda, we’ve become increasingly aware of our social responsibility in regards to the environment.
So far, our journey towards sustainability has been a gradual evolution. From generating 40% of our energy needs through solar roof tiles at our HQ to the introduction of electric charging points in our car park, we’ve already invested time and money in several green initiatives. As much as these were positive steps forward, we realised that we needed to go further — and soon — because the climate is in an emergency.
To preserve a livable climate, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to net-zero by 2050.
Energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and land use are among the main emitters of greenhouse gas emissions, and as a leading developer of health and care spaces in the UK, we have to acknowledge the long-lasting impact our work and projects have on the planet. From the design of spaces to the materials we use to build them and the resources needed to maintain them, we can’t develop a future of outstanding care without caring about how we get there.
In 2020, the NHS set out their commitment to becoming carbon net-zero by 2040 the first health service in the world to do so. Defined by clear deliverables and milestones, this ambitious commitment from the NHS is representative of the type of large-scale institutional action that is needed to develop a greener, safer planet. It’s imperative too when you consider that if health services across the world were their own country, they’d be the fifth-largest emitter on the planet.
When it came to devising our own sustainability strategy, we knew that the importance and urgency of the issues required equally bold ambitions and a science-led approach. It’s why we haven’t shied away from defining our own set of environmental targets:
As well as adapting our head office operations to reduce energy consumption, travel, waste and water, we’re investing more into renewable energy. However, our commitment to the environment goes beyond the walls of our office; to really expand the impact of our sustainability commitment, we’re focusing on our project strategy too.
We believe passionately that the spaces we develop should contribute to the health and wellbeing of the environment and the communities who use them. We also recognise that we have a significant influence on the design and procurement process of our schemes. Green initiatives such as urban parks and green spaces, living walls and sustainable drainage systems (SuDs) are just some of the ways we can invest in biodiversity for the buildings and environments we create.
Our focus on communities and the environment has also shaped our internal Theory of Change model; a set of principles and goals that are driving us towards a future where care is never restricted by the space it is delivered in. By following a roadmap that continually directs us towards greater sustainability, we can connect our work to the change we want to see. Building flexible spaces that can evolve with the shifting needs of the people who use them will enable more long-term, more sustainable use. However, creating spaces that fulfil this brief requires innovative solutions and creative, conscientious thinking.
Fortunately, ambition isn’t something that’s in short supply at Prime.
We are a member of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) with aspirations to not only follow best practices but to contribute to new standards through our learning as well. To cement our commitment to the balance of profit and purpose, Prime has also applied to become a B-Corp; the global standard that helps businesses to become forces for good through their responsibility to both people and the planet.
Sustainability matters to all of us — whether you are an investor looking to assemble more socially responsible investments, an estate manager keen to achieve more long-term solutions, or simply a concerned citizen conscious of protecting the planet for future generations. Here at Prime, we are moving forward with a more purposeful and science-led approach to ensure that we can build a future that prioritises health, wellbeing and the environment. If we can do that together, the possibilities can be even more impactful.