In a landmark announcement for the housing industry, Berkeley today commits to becoming the first major housebuilder in Britain to become carbon positive.
Over the next two years it will aim to deliver a 10 per cent reduction in carbon emissions per person and set an internal carbon price, using the funds generated to offset more than all of the remaining carbon emissions.
Announcing the ambitious new target, Berkeley's Managing Director Rob Perrins explained the thinking behind their decision:
He said: "We are committing to becoming the UK's first carbon positive listed housebuilder.
The climate change negotiations in Paris made it very clear that business has to lead on this issue. There is a strong commercial case for making a business more lean, green and accountable. And in my opinion it's simply the right thing to do.
From this point, Berkeley will reduce our carbon emissions intensity by 10%, encourage the use of green energy tariffs, and invest in projects that reduce or eliminate emissions elsewhere, for example by investing in renewable energy or the retrofit of existing homes, to go beyond offsetting our remaining emissions."
The announcement comes as the FTSE 100 company reveals the next phase of its long-term business strategy, called Our Vision. This involves a set of 10 new commitments designed to drive the business forward. These apply to all its brands including Berkeley, St James, St Edward, St George and St William.
Over the next two years, for example, Berkeley will:
Talking about 'smart homes', Rob Perrins, added: "In today's world, customers see access to a good internet connection as a basic entitlement. Berkeley already equips all new homes with fibre optic infrastructure. We now want to be the leaders in providing high-quality, smart-enabled, future-proof homes that make the everyday lives of our customers easier."
Berkeley's commitment to support apprentices and training comes as the UK construction industry faces a massive skills shortage, which could be further exacerbated by Brexit.
A recent study by KPMG and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry suggests that 20% more construction managers, surveyors and site workers will be needed by 2018. Meanwhile, the Government has announced that all large employers will now be expected to make use of apprenticeships as a key part of their workforce development strategies.
In response, Berkeley is committing to recruit and train more people of all ages, giving them the skills required to pursue and build on a successful career in construction. Depending on production levels, up to 15% of Berkeley's workforce will be in an apprenticeship or completing vocational training by 2018. For comparison, building the whole of Crossrail is creating 500 apprenticeships and a number of construction companies are members of the 5% Club, which aims to have this percentage of the workforce made up of apprentices, sponsored students or graduates on formalised schemes within five years.
Notes to Editors
For more information, visit www.berkeleygroup.co.uk/about-berkeley-group/our-vision