Ultimate responsibility for sustainability lies with the Main Board of Directors. Karl Whiteman is the Director allocated with specific responsibility for Sustainability and Health & Safety.
We have a dedicated sustainability team of more than 20 full-time professionals across the business who work with our project teams to enhance our approach. Quarterly sustainability committee meetings are held at a Group level, and these are supplemented by operational sustainability forums. We also rely on a network of champions throughout the business to help us achieve our goals.
We believe that every one of our employees has a duty to integrate sustainability into their own role and working practices. This is reflected in Our Vision which is a framework for our business, rather than a stand-alone sustainability strategy.
These committees and working groups are explained in more detail below.
Policies and standards are set at a Group level and these are supported by a sustainability management system in place across all of our divisions that follows the principles of the ISO 14001 standard. Our sustainability management system includes procedures to manage sustainability at each stage of the development process, from land purchase, through design, procurement and construction, all the way to marketing, sales and handover.
The operational sustainability forum manages and reviews the sustainability management system and the sustainability team is responsible for ensuring implementation of the procedures, providing any necessary training and undertaking progress reviews and audits.
These roles are explained in more detail below.
Ultimate responsibility for all matters relating to sustainability rests with the Main Board of the Berkeley Group plc. At each meeting (approximately bi-monthly) the Main Board is provided with a report on Our Vision and Sustainability, including progress against our commitments.
We have a central sustainability team which assists in the delivery of sustainability across the Group. The team is responsible for setting the strategy for sustainability and Our Vision, ensuring compliance with legislation and providing a framework for the operating companies to follow to enable them to meet the Group requirements. This team reports directly to the Group Managing Director (CEO) through the Head of Responsible Business.
Each of our operating companies has at least one dedicated sustainability practitioner to ensure Group requirements are met, and to guide their approach regarding any local aspirations. These practitioners work closely with the project teams across all areas of the business, from land purchase through to customer service. Alongside the provision of training to all staff, part of their role is to complete four formal assessments of each live construction site each year to assess compliance with our internal procedures, check regulatory and planning compliance and promote good practice. A report from each visit is sent to the relevant construction managers and directors to ensure any issues are dealt with appropriately. Higher risk sites, such as those with stringent environmental planning conditions or in a sensitive setting, are visited more frequently.
Biennial audits are also conducted on our permanent offices to check compliance against our Sustainable Business Policy and company procedures and to identify areas for improvement.
The Berkeley Group Sustainability committee meets bi-monthly and is chaired by the Head of Responsible Business, Lorraine Fursland. It consists of a representative from each part of the business. Its primary role is to agree the detail of Berkeley's approach to sustainability and ensure that that our policies, ambitions and performance indicators are appropriate. The committee is also responsible for overseeing and ensuring implementation against the strategy and commitments.
The Operational Sustainability Forum enables the Group's approach and requirements for sustainability to be disseminated and implemented within the operating companies. The forum reviews and agrees implementation strategies, monitors each division's sustainability performance and shares best practice.
The Sustainability Working Groups are task and finish groups that look at specific topics. They are formed to discuss key sustainability issues, to share knowledge and develop approaches for the Group. Examples include Responsible Sourcing, Timber and Climate Change Adaptation groups. The groups meet periodically and include representatives from the divisional sustainability teams, together with Group representatives.
All of our offices have Office Sustainability Champions in place to promote sustainable working. The Champions play a key role in promoting initiatives to employees and ensuring facilities provided in offices are used efficiently.
Within each of our project teams we nominate an Our Vision Champion. They are responsible for monitoring progress towards any Our Vision commitments that are relevant to their project and championing improvements in sustainability performance to achieve our targets.
On each of our construction sites, the Site Manager or Project Manager will take overall responsibility for sustainability management on site and, as such, will act as a Site Sustainability Champion.