9 July 2020

Driving Change Collectively: The Beginning of Sustainable Neighbourhoods – 5 takeaways

On Thursday 9 July 2020, I attended Bisnow’s webinar Driving Change Collectively: The Beginning of Sustainable Neighbourhoods, where the discussion centred around how landlords and tenants can work together to create a more sustainable built environment.

5 takeaway points from me as follows:

  • Collaboration. The traditional landlord and tenant relationship must be transformed into a more collaborative relationship. The sharing of data (particularly in relation to the consumption of water and energy) as well as the use of shared waste management systems will be key to achieving sustainability in the long term.
  • Fit-out. The fit-out programme is a key opportunity to create a sustainable space. It is becoming increasingly common for landlords to insist that tenants carry out their works in accordance with a fit-out guide which encourages sustainability initiatives (such as the use of the circular economy (i.e. reduce, reuse, recycle) and sustainable materials).
  • Transforming space. Landlords need to be creative so that vacant space can be used to alleviate the strain on the wider economy. The establishment of the NHS Nightingale Hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic is a classic example of this.
  • Customers value sustainability. Retail/leisure customers care a great deal about sustainability (particularly the younger generation). In the future, customers will only support those businesses which support sustainability. CEOs of large retail/leisure organisations are driving sustainability initiatives not only because it makes business sense to do so, but also because their children are educating them on sustainability issues which need to be tackled as a matter of urgency.
  • Long-term approach required. The announcements made by Rishi Sunak in the Summer Statement on sustainability initiatives (e.g. the £5,000 per household grant for projects to make homes more energy efficient in England) are to be welcomed. However, such announcements need to be the start of a comprehensive long-term plan to improve the building stock in the UK. Boris Johnson has previously championed the phrase “Build, Build, Build”. Perhaps this needs to be adjusted to “Build Back Better”.


  • Tor Burrows, Director of Sustainability & Innovation, Grosvenor
  • Munish Datta, Director of Membership & Operations, UKGBC
  • Phil Birch, Sustainable & Healthy Buildings Manager, John Lewis Partnership
  • Thom Elliot, Co-founder, Pizza Pilgrims
  • Hosted by: Astrid Stanley, Partner, Howard Kennedy LLP

Paul is a Senior Associate in our Commercial Real Estate team.

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