Sustainable Development Goals

Design and deliver sustainable places

Design and deliver sustainable places

In support of Sustainable Development Goal 11 to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Sustainable places
We strive to build environmentally sensitive places where residents can live a sustainable lifestyle. We focus on brownfield sites, with scope for good public transport, and seek to create places that are resilient to climate change and have more biodiversity than they had before.

Creating communities
We engage the local community in the design of our developments and continue to use our toolkit, Creating Successful Places, on new developments as a framework for applying the ideas that can lead to future residents experiencing a great quality of life. Community plans are now in place at 12 of our developments to provide a structured approach to help communities to thrive for the long-term.

Sustainable living
To help homeowners live sustainably we incorporate a range of features into developments as standard, from water efficient and energy efficient fittings and fixtures, to recycling facilities, cycle storage and electric car charging points. See our Sustainability Living Tool to find out more about the measures we have taken to encourage sustainable lifestyles.

Promote the use of clean energy

Promote the use of clean energy

In support of Sustainable Development Goal 7 to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Carbon positive

In May 2016, in a landmark announcement for the housing industry, Berkeley committed to becoming the first major housebuilder in Britain to be carbon positive. As part of this, we are targeting a 10% reduction in 2018 emissions compared to 2016 levels. Our construction sites are the main contributor to our carbon emissions and so we are working to address out of hours electricity consumption together with implementing minimum energy efficiency recommendations for site set up and operation. At the same time as taking action to reduce energy consumption, we have been looking into investing in cleaner energy sources and offsetting schemes for our operational activities.

Clean energy

Within our homes and developments, we incorporate clean and renewable technologies and promote the installation of energy efficient appliances. Of the homes completed in 2016/17, 69% were supplied with energy from low carbon or renewable technology.

Designing for climate change

Designing for climate change

In support of Sustainable Development Goal 13 to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Adapting to climate change

With climate change we are expected to experience more extreme weather patterns, including wetter winters, hotter summers and more frequent heat waves. We are focused on addressing the risks most relevant to the design of our developments: flooding, water shortage and ensuring thermal comfort. We seek to build homes where people can live comfortably in the future.

We design in a number of features to increase resilience to these impacts, such as sustainable drainage systems, rainwater harvesting and measures to reduce overheating. We have set a leading commitment to respond to the industry-wide issue of overheating by using a risk assessment methodology on all sites. As part of our approach to reduce the effects of climate change, we also incorporate green infrastructure such as open space, parks, gardens and living roofs.

Mitigating climate change

We recognise the role business must play in tackling global climate change and are delighted to be the first housebuilder to commit to becoming carbon positive. To help our residents use energy and water responsibly, all our homes are provided with low energy and water use fittings and fixtures and residents are provided with Living Guides. 

Use resources responsibility

Use resources responsibly

In support of Sustainable Development Goal 12 to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

We recognise that we have a significant impact through the use of a vast number of products and services in the homes and places that we create. The products are sourced from a global marketplace so we have a responsibility to understand these supply chains. Through careful consideration and management of our supply chain we seek to reduce any negative impacts and have a positive impact where possible. To ensure our materials are responsibly sourced we are working to develop further information for the business on key materials and require all timber to be certified, and preferentially select only certified wood-based products.

Responsible operations
Each site has targets in place to reduce energy and water consumption and waste production. We are pleased to announce that we have achieved a 17% reduction in construction waste produced per person in 2016/17 compared to 2015/16.

In our offices, we have targets in place to reduce paper consumption by 20% per office employee by 2018 and are trialling technology to help with this.

Each site is registered to the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) and is independently assessed. Our average audit score was 42/50 in 2017, demonstrating performance beyond the industry average of 36/50.

To date, we have had no environmental fines or prosecutions.

Responsible supply chain
We encourage our contractors to use resources responsibly too and were the first housebuilder to become a partner of the Supply Chain Sustainability School's 'Homes' School, which provides a wealth of free resources for suppliers to help them reduce the environmental impacts of their products and services.

Encouraging residents
We seek to encourage residents to use resources responsibly and provide all homes with Living Guides which include information on saving energy, saving water, and purchasing responsibly. Of the homes completed in 2016/17, 64% were also provided with smart meters.

Protect and enhance ecology and biodiversity

Protect and enhance ecology and biodiversity

In support of Sustainable Development Goal 15 to sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.

Creating a net biodiversity gain

In May 2017, we committed to creating a net biodiversity gain on all new developments though incorporating green infrastructure, from ecological enhancements to living roofs. We will use the Nine Concepts, developed in conjunction with The Ecology Consultancy, to inform our approach and will work with our ecologists, landscape architects and Local Wildlife Trusts to make this happen.

Protecting ecology

We recognise the importance of protecting existing biodiversity; we consult ecologists on every site and follow their recommendations to help us achieve this.

Enhancing ecology

We believe that new development can create places with more nature afterwards than before through providing higher quality habitats and more biodiversity. We bring underutilised brownfield land back to life and incorporate living roofs on all suitable residential apartment roof spaces. Of the developments that completed during 2016/17, 86% were on brownfield land and 91% incorporated features designed to enhance ecology.

Delivering ecology and biodiversity

Ecology-case-study - Woodberry DownAt Woodberry Down in Hackney, new tree belts, hedgerows and wetlands have been created to marry with existing habitats beyond the site boundary and enhance local wildlife corridors.
Ecology-case-study - Wye DeneAt Wye Dene, the swales created to minimise surface-water run-off provide an amenity feature for the development and have been planted to provide habitats for wildlife.
Ecology-case-study - One Tower BridgeAt One Tower Bridge, four beehives, each containing approximately 50,000 bees, grace the rooftops and Berkeley sponsored the planting of bee forage nearby to ensure good health of the apiary. We are delighted that our One Tower Bridge development won the CIRIA BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards 2016: Pollinator Category.

Use water efficiently and reduce pollution

Use water efficiently and reduce pollution

In support of Sustainable Development Goal 6 to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Water sensitive operations

The supply of freshwater is likely to become increasingly scarce in the future. In the UK, we are expected to experience hotter and drier summers, which could lead to water shortages. We recognise the need to conserve water and are implementing water efficiency measures across our activities, targeting a 5% reduction in site water use per operative by April 2018. We also recognise the need to operate sites responsibility to reduce the potential for pollution and contamination and have procedures in place to manage this.

Water efficient homes and developments

To help residents reduce their water use, we aim to install water efficient fittings in all new homes and rainwater harvesting on all developments. The homes that completed in 2016/17 had a 14% improvement in the average internal water efficiency of completed homes compared to Building Regulations requirements. During the same period, 55% of completed developments had rainwater harvesting installed.

Encourage innovation and infrastructure

Encourage innovation and infrastructure

In support of Sustainable Development Goal 9 to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.

Innovative infrastructure

We are increasingly living in a connected world, with our customers expecting access to the internet and good connectivity from the first day they move in. Technology continues to develop, from enabling us to control the temperature of our homes through a smart phone, to intelligent devices learning our behaviours and movements. We are committed to researching and understanding the evolution of smart technology and connectivity in homes and on developments and now have minimum fibre broadband infrastructure and wiring standards which will enable customers to 'plug in' emerging technologies according to their wishes and as and when they become available.

Innovative design

We have developed the Urban House type to meet the combined demands of more high quality homes in the UK that are adaptable to lifestyle changes and homes with low environmental impact. We have also trialled an off-site, modular method of constructing this house type with demonstrable environmental efficiencies during the production process.


We engage with external organisations to promote collaboration and learning across the industry. For example, we are Gold Leaf members of the UK Green Building Council and actively engage in a number of their working groups. We are also members of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers' (CIBSE) Homes for the Future Group, which looks at key industry topics relating to housing.

Support decent work

In support of Sustainable Development Goal 8 to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.

Support decent work

Addressing the skills crisis
We consider the skills crisis to be one of the most significant risks facing the industry and believe we have a role to play in encouraging new people into the industry and upskilling the workforce. We are now a client member of Build UK, which we see as playing a vital role in reversing the current trend of more people leaving the industry than joining it.

We aim to provide a variety of routes through which people seeking to improve their skills can join the business, including through apprenticeships, sandwich placement schemes and graduate schemes.

By working closely with our contractors, we have significantly increased the amount of training within our workforce; in 2017 more than 1,600 people were in formal training. Of these, over 650 were apprentices, with the remainder undertaking vocational training. We were pleased to be able to recognise some of the great work which is being achieved in this area at the inaugural Berkeley Apprenticeship Awards in autumn 2016.

Job creation
In 2016, Berkeley supported a total of 30,000 jobs; this has more than doubled over the last five years. Attracting, developing and retaining a talented and diverse workforce which operates in a safe, healthy and supportive working environment, is imperative to our business. We pay all staff at least the Living Wage Foundation's Living Wage and aim to provide the right environment and support to enable them to fulfil their potential.

Addressing modern slavery
We ensure that slavery and human trafficking does not take place within our business and throughout our supply chain. Further details on actions taken to combat modern slavery can be found on our website:

Promote health and wellbeing

Promote health and wellbeing 

In support of Sustainable Development Goal 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.

Healthy workplaces

As individuals spend a notable amount of time in the workplace we have the potential to significantly influence the wellbeing of our employees. Through our commitment to providing healthy workplaces we seek to improve the quality of life of our employees and improve employee satisfaction and productivity. Health and wellbeing programmes are in operation across a number of our divisions.

Healthy homes

We also seek to develop homes and places that enable our residents to lead healthy and happy lives. We provide walking and cycling routes, cycle storage and, in 2014, were the first private developer to commit to minimum space standards. We hope that our residents will also benefit from our work to enhance biodiversity, as nature can make people feel relaxed and happy and create a sense of identity and belonging.

Safe workplaces

We also want to ensure our workplaces are safe and continue to aspire to operating incident and injury free. We are honoured to have been awarded the Sir George Earle Trophy in one of our divisions, an international award from RoSPA for premier performance in occupational health and safety; the first time this prestigious award has been won by a housebuilder. Over the last ten years we have worked extremely hard to ensure that all our contractors, suppliers and partners share our commitment to promoting safe and healthy work practices. As a result, we have seen a year-on-year reduction in the number of incidents.