51 (146) 2021

Green for Glasgow, Green for Good

Tackling the climate emergency: SEGRO’s responsible strategy for a lower carbon future

By Waldemar Witczak, regional director, SEGRO
Header waldemar witczak dyrektor regionalny segro

The real-estate sector is a significant contributor to carbon emissions through the construction and operation of buildings. So responsible development and decarbonisation could be a real game-changer to help address global climate change. In line with this idea, one of the largest players in the European warehousing industry, SEGRO, has included long-term sustainability targets in the latest review of its business strategy. The company also set itself the goal to become net-zero carbon by 2030. In addition to achieving and maintaining the lowest CO2 footprint possible, its Responsible SEGRO framework also outlines how the company will invest in local communities and nurture talent to ensure it can be a force for societal and environmental good.

One of the core values for SEGRO is to champion low-carbon growth, which is why the company is focused on reducing the carbon footprint of its buildings, using fewer resources, and promoting biodiversity. The company is also investing in green solutions and new technology to improve the sustainability of warehouse, as well as optimising operating costs, which in turn lead to real benefits for customers too.

Sustainability and the economy are linked together closely, and positive changes can be achieved in many ways. For example, each of SEGRO's new buildings in Poland receives the BREEAM certification, which evaluates not only its green credentials, but also innovation of applied technologies, facility management and employees’ comfort of work. Among the activities already initiated in Poland, SEGRO has transferred all of the electricity it provides to customers on its parks to supplies from renewable sources. SEGRO is also installing increasing numbers of photovoltaic cells on the roofs of its warehouses to provide even more green energy for its parks and its customers.

Everything counts: even seemingly small actions can increase the environmental performance of warehouse spaces. Introduction of modern LED external lighting at all of SEGRO parks as well as in the interiors of refurbished spaces, has enabled the company to improve the energy efficiency of projects. Not without the reason: LED technology can lead to reduction of energy consumption by up to 30%, compared to traditional lighting. As a new component implemented by SEGRO in connection with the certification, the company introduced life-cycle assessment forms, which allow a very precise calculation of carbon dioxide consumption at each stage of construction. On this basis, SEGRO can introduce changes that, in the long run, allow a further reduction of CO2 emissions.

Another initiative relates to the growing trend of electric vehicles. More charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles in each of SEGRO's logistic parks are getting installed, as well as bicycle racks for eco-friendly commuters.

How to be there for people and stay successful

The other pillars of the Responsible SEGRO Framework reflect the company’s dedication to education and caring for local communities. The company has been implementing such activities for decades: supporting local charities, taking part in social events, or installing beehives and ‘hotels’ for insects in its parks. Furthermore, in 2021, the team in Poland delivered the Be Active with SEGRO programme, which is designed to promote physical activity. The participants – willing employees in teams of five people - earned points for every kilometre they completed by running or cycling, and this was converted to money which SEGRO donated to foundations. In total, participants (customers, industrial agencies, partners) cycled or ran almost 210,000 km which is equivalent to going around the world more than five times. This donation helped the RAZEM (‘together’) Foundation and the Women's Rights Centre to combat the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Another example of the company’s social responsibility and dedication to education is the Polish SEGRO Academy, the first project of this kind in Poland. It supports language learning for groups of young people, especially those from an underprivileged background, and at the same time gained insight into the warehouse and production industry as an attractive career opportunity. Finally, this year SEGRO employees volunteered to take part in the Clean River project, for which the team engaged in ecological activities on the riverbank in Łódź.

Collaborative action for the brighter future

At a Group level SEGRO joined the UN’s Race to Zero initiative - the global campaign to support a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. SEGRO has also signed The Climate Pledge, a commitment to achieve the Paris Agreement 10 years early, and be net-zero carbon by 2030 or sooner.

This year was also a real stage for climate change campaigns. During the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) held on 31 October – 13 November 2021 in Glasgow, Paul Dunne, the managing director of group operations at SEGRO addressed real-estate leaders to discuss the critical role that the commercial real estate sector plays in climate change and how the leading players should make the industry more responsible, sustainable and climate-friendly. SEGRO has always been prepared to lead the way for the others, including being a driving force for environmental change and a better, greener future.

So how is it working out for the climate? Developing the right sustainability and technology agenda has already delivered some significant carbon reductions: currently at SEGRO there is a saving of CO2 equivalent to over 17,000 hot air balloons! But we know there is still a long way to go. Further information about the whole Responsible SEGRO Framework can be viewed at https://www.segro.com/rsfvr.

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