I am proud to lead on our WIN portal that not only supports Wates’ sustainability ambitions, but also the four key goals of COP 26: Collaboration, Mitigation, Adaptation and Finance.
Dr Zainab Dangana
Head of Wates Sustainability Technology Services
All eyes are on the UK as Glasgow hosts the long-awaited 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26. The world needs to halve emissions over the next decade and reach net zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century if we are to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, and this critical mission requires every country, organisation and individual to play their part.
Sustainability is at the heart of Wates’ purpose to Create Tomorrow Together
We launched the Wates Innovation Network (WIN) portal earlier this year to build on the Group’s five-year strategy to help reduce the industry’s environmental impact, supporting the Government’s target of net zero buildings, and fostering the growth of sustainable, innovative SMEs across the UK.
The construction industry is well placed to mitigate the impacts of climate change with the availability of several market ready sustainable technologies, however a shocking 95% of these products never get considered because key decision makers are not aware of them, and suppliers don’t have access to the right people.
The first goal, collaboration, is therefore fundamental to exposing the solutions that already exist to critical issues we face, as we can only rise to the challenge of the climate crisis by working together.
The WIN portal was designed with this in mind, aiming to bridge the gap by connecting large companies, such as Lloyds Banking Group, looking for net zero solutions with a marketplace of innovative suppliers who are at the cutting-edge of sustainable technology. To date we have 60 innovation partners on board who support the design, construction, maintenance and use of buildings and the journey to a zero-carbon future.
When it comes to mitigation, there are many companies that are doing truly amazing things to help businesses meet bold net-zero targets. Propelair is just one example of this, and Wates has partnered with them not only as part of our WIN portal but also in our own organisation. Propelair’s water-efficient toilet replaced standard toilets in Wates’ Leatherhead office in May 2016, leading to an incredible 87% reduction in water usage after four years.
The third pillar, adaptation, is vital to protecting our communities and habitats. As the climate continues to change so must we. Again, innovation can help us get there. To take another example, every year in the UK it is estimated that 55 million litres of waste paint is sent to landfill or incineration. Paint 360, another WIN partner, works to re-engineer this waste back into brand new paint, with each litre containing a minimum of 65% recycled content.
To deliver these goals, we must mobilise finance. Whilst this largely falls under the remit of financial institutions and governments, large companies such as us can find ways to support others in accessing the investment needed to accelerate innovation and change, as well as looking beyond traditional supply chains to find the solutions we all require.
Whilst COP26 is undoubtedly a critical moment in the fight against climate change, we must not let the conversation end here. To address the challenge, we will need to embrace the technologies of today and can only achieve our shared goals by working together to continue to unlock innovation and foster relationships across industries.