As a responsible business, we want to play a positive role in shaping our future. That involves being accountable for the long and short-term impact of our activities on our stakeholders. And the communities and environments in which we operate.
We promote environmental responsibility across all our business activities, with our offices operating an accredited ISO 14001 (2015) environmental management system. It's part of our broader policy of taking an industry lead in developing sustainable environmental strategies for commercial property. We're proud to be a Gold Leaf member of the UK Green Building Council, and fully support their vision of a built environment that helps people and planet to thrive.
We have a corporate partnership with the Woodland Trust the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity. Every kg of CO2 from the energy used in our offices is mitigated by planting new trees. Our contributions have resulted in thousands of native trees being planted, helping to provide homes for a variety of wildlife and places for recreation.
We also place great importance on the health, safety and wellbeing of our people, community and clients - which is why we cultivate a positive working environment that stimulates and inspires our employees, giving them space to flourish.
Where we work, live and play have the power to make us all healthier and happier, and to bring out the best in us. So our overall aim is simple: to make real estate have a positive impact on people's lives, wherever in the property lifecycle we're advising. Our places build people.
Working together to create opportunities
What we do often has a direct impact on communities, and we work hard to ensure that the legacy of those activities is overwhelmingly positive. We're guided by the principle that all businesses should actively contribute to the society in which we live.
Our National Charity Committee draws on the energy and commitment of our workforce to raise funds for charitable projects. We also collaborate closely with community groups and charities, empowering our people to use their time and talent to address societal and development challenges. As part of that process, every GVA employee is encouraged to get involved with our tree planting, gardening, painting and educational volunteer days.
A number of our people recently took time out to help the Groundwork Trust. The charity's work - transforming care home gardens to support people with dementia - struck a chord with us, as did their aim of encouraging people to use outdoor spaces more to improve health and wellbeing.
We've been supporting the Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Scotland since 2016 on a charity-of-the-year basis. It's been a fruitful relationship for everyone concerned, and gave us a deeper understanding of the design and management issues that need to be considered when creating buildings for people with cognitive impairments - such as dementia. We have also raised and donated over £160,000 to these great causes. Both charities provides information and support, funds medical and social research, and campaigns for better quality of life for people with dementia as well as greater understanding of the condition.
Protecting our resources, reducing our impacts
We recognise that the property industry, as a whole, has a significant effect on the natural environment - and we’re fully aware of the risks created by climate change and resource scarcity. That understanding has motivated us to take an active role, internally and externally, in protecting our natural resources.
We’ve worked hard to cut down our own energy consumption over the past three years, achieving a reduction of 15% in normalised use. As well as seeking ways to minimise our own environmental footprint, we’ve reoriented our sustainability services to support the wider industry’s transition to greener practices.
The number of clients seeking sustainability advice from us has risen sharply, a result of a growing awareness that things need to change. The increased interest from clients wishing to align themselves with us on a shared value basis is also heartening.
A central thread of our Corporate Responsibility strategy is the embedding of sustainable practices into our services. We do this in two ways. The first is through on-the-job training and development. The second element is our work in partnership with industry organisations, such as the UK Green Building Council.
It’s an approach which enables us to help our clients reach their own sustainability and environmental targets. By supporting our clients’ aspirations, we’re confident that real and lasting environmental change can be effected.
Assuring 'can do' business operations
GVA takes its legal and ethical obligations very seriously, on both a domestic and international basis.
Our people conduct themselves ethically in all of their business activities, and in any situations that such activities entail. As part of our on-going compliance programme all GVA staff are provided with e-learning courses to help them make better-informed, fairer and more sustainable decisions.
We continue to be accredited to ISO 9001, 14001, 27001, OHSAS 18001, and Construction line, Achilles, Safe Contractor and CHAS.
For more information on GVA's governance and compliance, please click here.