This has meant huge strides in everything from carbon emissions to plastic waste reduction and greater confidence from Vertus residents that theirs is a landlord genuinely invested in the Estate they both call home.
Do you know where the wood that made the paper in your office came from? Canary Wharf Group do. They also know exactly where the steel that goes into their buildings is made, sourcing it, for example, from hydro-electric and wind-powered mills in the Netherlands so they know the impact their supply chain is having on the environment.
The same applies to the FSC-certified timber in the roof at Crossrail Place, the concrete poured into the foundations at Newfoundland and every other building material shipped in for use on site. Everything responsibly sourced and certified. They even have a smartphone app which scans delivery tickets – if it doesn’t make the grade from a sustainability point of view it’s not allowed on the Estate.
When Canary Wharf began to take shape in the 1980s, sustainability was barely in its infancy. But this didn’t mean the Estate was unsustainable.
Martin Gettings, Head of Sustainability at Canary Wharf Group, explains:
“Canary Wharf Group has always been about delivering the highest quality. This meant building in efficiency and flexibility to cater to a range of different tenants with different needs, minimising disruption and maintaining air quality.
So, you see, it was becoming sustainable long before people were even talking about sustainability in the modern sense.”
To this day, any new construction causes minimal disruption – the legacy of intelligent planning decades ago. And flexibility baked into the makeup of the buildings themselves means that, when they do need to evolve (as is currently the case at Westferry Circus), they’re not rebuilt but remodelled. The shell, frame and core remain intact, saving time and energy, and reducing the overall environmental impact of the Estate.
Canary Wharf Group’s influence doesn’t end at the boundary of the Estate. Sustainable innovation is also about shaping it out in the wider world. In the early 2000s, Canary Wharf Group played a pivotal role in developing the green roof standards for Europe. In fact, the Estate still has the highest concentration of green roofs in the UK.
In the two decades since, they’ve continued in the same vein, becoming one of the first developers in the UK to create a biodiversity action plan and launching a Deposit Return Scheme – the first publicly accessible recycling machine in the UK to recycle plastic that could otherwise end up in a landfill.
Canary Wharf Group itself is responsible for just 1% of the Estate’s emissions. And that’s why it’s only by raising awareness amongst tenants and suppliers – encouraging them to take more responsibility and work together to become more sustainable – that they’ve been able to confidently commit to significant targets.
As Martin puts it, “Raising awareness by promoting the recycling of paper and other single-use materials is central to any sustainability strategy. But it’s what’s written on that paper that’s of greater importance. Committing to a 65% reduction in emissions before 2030 and aiming to achieve Carbon Net Zero status at the same time – this is what will make our future more sustainable. And that’s exactly what we’ve done at Canary Wharf.”
- 20+ acres of parks, squares and gardens with over 650 trees.
- 2012, the year when canary wharf began procuring 100% renewable energy.
- 366 miles, the distance that would be covered by all 5.8 million coffee cups recycled by canary wharf group since 2016 if they were placed side-by-side. That’s London to Dundee.
- 8.8 million pieces of single-use plastic removed or recycled since 2016.
- 180 kg, the amount of waste removed from local waterways by middle dock’s sea bin per year.
- 45 building projects are BREEAM certified or in line to be certified.
- 65% emission reduction goal set for reducing greenhouse gases by 2030.
- 1,347 kWh of electricity produced by the solar bus shelter every year.
- 590 tonnes of coffee grounds diverted from landfill and turned into biofuels.