Green – a need, not a want

Fiona Lund, MD of Brouha Marketing, property PR specialists, discusses why every business, especially those supplying products to improve and maintain buildings,

can no longer ignore the Green Agenda

While the UK’s 2022 headlines have so far been dominated by the definition of ‘parties’, of both the political and cheese and wine variety, the topic in the last few months of 2021 was a very different story.

In the wake of the much-anticipated COP26, now dubbed the Glasgow Climate Pact, and in addition to COVID19, it felt as though the world was collapsing in on itself, quite literally. Although 197 parties agreed a pact, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference summit’s closing moments were hardly jubilant, and depending on who you ask, it was a resounding success or a ‘cop’ out.

A seismic shift

One thing however is certain: legislation to slow climate change will be put in place in the UK over coming years and combined with the recently released Heat and Buildings Strategy, we will see sweeping changes within the new build, home improvement and social housing sectors.

We already know about the Future Homes Standard and more will follow. These changes will impact the ways in which door and window businesses operate, what skillsets / workforce are needed, what materials you can and can’t use, quality management systems etc. And like any seismic societal shift, these changes will also impact on our brands, communications and how we market ourselves.

I remember representing Edgetech over a decade ago with the onset of WERs and working with the BFRC and Andy Jones on a piece to industry, explaining that environmental considerations were not just the domain of hippies, but offered real commercial points of difference.

This has changed again – climate change is happening now. We are no longer talking about marketing USPs and making hay while the sun shines.

We all know how competitive the market is and customers are looking for what’s beyond product and price; ethics are a massive part of doing business in 2022, encompassing innovation, customer service and sustainability.

In fact, the latest research shows that 81% of consumers prefer to buy from sustainable sellers, and 87% of consumers want brands to act now about implementing sustainability into their operations. This is such a huge opportunity for us as an industry as long as we are not afraid to ask the difficult questions.

Now, whatever sector you’re selling doors and windows into, new build, social, trade or retail, eco-credentials are no longer a nice to have; they are an absolute requirement.

If your target audience is retail, look at the stats. UK homes use around 35% of all the energy on the grid and emit around 20% of the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change.

Furthermore, over 80% of those existing homes will still be standing and be occupied in 2050. In summary, 28 million existing homes must be made greener which equates to one home being retrofitted every 35 seconds between 2022 and 2050.

If you’re selling into social housing and you don’t have a sustainability policy, CSV schedule, apprentices, or offset carbon footprint KPIs, you will not be welcomed. New build, always one of the first to move with tighter legislative demands, is about to see the NHBC move to remove the night vent position on a window to use trickle vents only, driven by a balance it claims between security and green air quality.

Patience is running out, and there is no longer the appetite, time or energy for smoke and mirrors in either our business ethics or the way in which we promote ourselves. We’re super-aware of behaviours and actions which we ignore at our peril.

These are the type of conversations we’ve been having in the latest Green Building series of our BrouHappy Podcasts, following our first successful Social Housing series.

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