Stakeholder Engagement & Sustainability
The nature of our work means that we have many stakeholders, representing a wide variety of groups. Some of our stakeholders have an interest in what we do on individual development sites, whereas others have an interest at a strategic, corporate level. We have a range of different methods to engage with all of these stakeholders, to understand their opinions and respond to their requirements. Getting this engagement right is fundamental to the success of our business and also helps us to develop our approach to sustainability and the plan for the business, Our Vision. We have highlighted our key stakeholders below and briefly explained how we engage with them.
We want all of our employees to fully understand and engage with both the Our Vision strategy and our efforts to improve sustainability performance. We think it is important that employees feel they have influence and ownership over the framework and its outcomes.
In spring 2018, we worked with an external consultant to seek feedback on the next phase of Our Vision. All employees were invited to provide their views; responses were received from approximately 1,200 people, representing 45% of the business. We used the results of this work, along with views from key external stakeholders, to shortlist topic themes for further consultation with each of our autonomous businesses and specialist committees. Workshops were run on each of the focus areas to debate and refine the commitments for 2018-2020 before sign-off by the Main Board.
We continue to welcome comments from our employees on our approach and regularly invite feedback during meetings and training sessions.
At our offices, the Office Sustainability Champions often encourage staff to get involved in developing our approach to managing office related sustainability impacts.
We also provide regular communication to our employees on sustainability using company-wide emails, regular briefings, bespoke sustainability training and company conferences.
Our reputation amongst our customers is critical to securing sales, increasing repeat purchases and enhancing our reputation. We sell homes and commercial space to a wide variety of customers including individual purchasers, registered social landlords, major property investors, financial institutions and commercial operators.
Each year we undertake a survey of potential customers which includes questions focused on understanding customer awareness of sustainability and their purchasing preferences. We use this information to ensure we deliver homes that meet their requirements. We also ask every customer who purchases a home to complete a survey including aspects such as specification as well as what the development is like as a place to live, which helps guide our approach to placemaking.
We actively raise awareness of sustainability to our customers to help them to live more sustainable lifestyles. In addition, sustainability information is provided in our sales and marketing suites and through tailored marketing materials including posters and brochures.
Listening, understanding and responding to the needs of local people is essential in securing community support for development proposals and ensuring that we deliver sustainable communities. People's interests vary from location to location, but local communities are - unsurprisingly - most concerned with how the development will affect their everyday lives. We are committed to listening to these concerns, as well as to the community's aspirations, and working with local people to find appropriate solutions for every development.
We believe our approach to sustainability and our commitment to stakeholder engagement enables faster planning permissions and better designed schemes that meet the aspirations of the local community. Our comprehensive Community Engagement Strategy reflects some of the best consultation strategies we have previously employed, taking account of the feedback we have received from our communities. These are used on all new projects and exceed statutory requirements, allowing us to enter into a genuine dialogue with those who can affect or may be affected by our developments. We use a range of methods of engagement, such as community planning weekends, meetings and telephone helplines, as well as various methods of communication such as newsletters and websites.
We are currently working with local communities to understand what it is like to live on one of our developments and the quality of life our residents enjoy. We have also implemented community plans on 12 of our developments. The results of this work will help us learn and continually improve the way we create successful places.
We outsource much of the development and construction process and work with a large supply chain. This makes the potential scale of our sustainability impacts considerable, but this purchasing power also gives us the ability to drive sustainable innovation within the industry.
All new contractors that work with us are made aware of our sustainability policies and requirements through our Sustainability Standard for Contractors. This Standard establishes the minimum requirements that we expect all of our contractors to meet.
Where possible we seek to work with our suppliers to obtain sustainable products which perform well and are of the quality that our customers expect.
We also continue to work with our suppliers to raise their understanding and awareness of relevant sustainability issues. The Berkeley Group is a partner of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, which provides a range of resources for our suppliers to improve their sustainability knowledge, including e-learning modules and awareness raising workshops.
We rely on our supply chain to help us develop to the high standards we are known for and believe in developing long-term relationships with our contractors to achieve this. These relationships encourage us to explore best practice solutions to sustainability issues by working together.
Industry Bodies, Trade Organisations and NGOs
The Berkeley Group works with a number of industry bodies and trade associations to promote good practice in sustainability. By working with these organisations, we are able to have a two-way dialogue with the wider industry and ensure that we are aware of their response to, and influence over, the ever-changing sustainability agenda.
Examples of this include:
- Gold Leaf member of the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC)
- Participation in the Construction Leadership Council's Green Construction Board
- Participation in the UK-GBC Capturing the Value of Sustainability working group
- Participation in the CIRIA Net Biodiversity Gain working group
- Participation in the CIBSE Homes for Future Group
- Associate member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme
- Partner member of the Supply Chain Sustainability School
- Participation in the Build UK Skills and Training Subgroup
We also periodically participate in industry research to raise awareness of sustainability or improve industry performance.
Our investors are interested both in Berkeley's financial performance and the factors that may affect that performance in the short and long-term. Our share price performance reflects the confidence our investors have in our board members, management teams and business model. We continue to engage with our investors to demonstrate that our approach to sustainability adds value to our business. Our results announcements and presentations include key information on sustainability and we have also made steps towards integrated reporting by incorporating information on sustainability and how we create value within our Annual Report.
Berkeley maintains its listing within FTSE4Good and continues to submit carbon information to CDP each year.
For more details on our external measures of success, please see our reports and case studies.
National and Local Government
The Government sets the context within which we operate through laws, regulations, general policy and strategy. Local Government sets the specific parameters within which individual developments take place. All of these levels of Government are placing an increasing emphasis on the role that business can play in delivering sustainable development, and more specifically sustainable communities.
We aim to work with all levels of Government to inform their approach to sustainability. This includes responding to Government consultations, liaising with Councillors on planning matters, engaging with Members of Parliament (MPs) and hosting visits to our development sites.