Join our campaign for change and 'Get moving on sustainability'
Human activity is changing our climate. To avoid catastrophe, we must work together and act now before it’s too late.
This is why we have launched ‘Get moving on sustainability: a campaign for change’. It represents a call to our profession and a challenge to the sector to accelerate action on sustainability.
Find out more about the campaign by clicking here.
Have your say in the IWFM Sustainability Survey 2023
Our Sustainability Survey is back with a fresh approach and renewed focus. We ask for only 10 minutes of your time to share your thoughts and experiences on two key issues: net zero planning and investment strategy. Your voice counts; please raise it.
Click here to complete the Survey.
The Survey closes on Friday 15 September.
Upskill with IWFM Academy’s new sustainability courses
IWFM have partnered with IEMA, the global body for environment and sustainability professionals, to deliver courses specifically for workplace and facilities management professionals.
View all new courses here or check out upcoming dates below:
Welcome to IWFM’s sustainability hub, where you will find a range of research, insight, guidance, inspiration, resources, and more, to help our profession play its role in tackling crucial societal issues and the global climate crisis.
We will continue to expand this hub’s content in collaboration with members of our Sustainability SIG and other industry experts, so please bookmark it and check back regularly.
Net Zero for FM
Net zero is the term commonly used to describe a neutral balance between the greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. This state is also referred to as carbon neutral.
Governments around the world have made commitments to be net zero by specific deadlines:
- England and Wales by 2050
- Scotland by 2045 (and 75% by 2030)
In addition, companies and organisations have set their targets to achieve net zero by specific deadlines and are also looking to their supply chains to follow this lead.
Circularity and the circular economy
Sustainability has long been an integral consideration for our profession, never more so than now with the global climate crisis and coronavirus pandemic. An increasingly important dimension of this is circularity and circular economy, which seeks to utilise resources for as long as possible and then repurpose them.
The principles of the waste hierarchy have been long established, but only go so far in providing longer-term solutions to the use of resources for a sustainable, inclusive future.
The circular economy is a strategic and practical approach that transforms the way we design, make and consume products, resulting in the considerable reduction of carbon extracted and emitted through wasteful behaviour. It is an essential strategy to help address the climate emergency alongside considerations around energy reduction and renewable resources.
Workplace and facilities managers have significant influence over aspects of the external environment and humans’ effects on it. Additionally, they are on the frontline of adaptation to, and management of, its impacts.
Examples of areas where FMs can provide substantial value to this area include:
There are many different definitions of air quality, all of which primarily concern the measures to which air can be assessed as clean or polluted - and carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases are not the only considerations. Broadening the definition can also capture the extent to which that air is suitable and/or clean enough for the eco-systems affected by it to remain healthy and the longer-term possible effects that air could have on the wider environment.
Social value is the quantification of the relative importance that people place on the changes they experience in their lives. Whilst these things make a real difference to people’s lives, they are not commonly expressed or measured in the same way that financial value is. Examples of social value might include awarding contracts to local suppliers, donating to public realm projects, providing staff to volunteer for good causes, hiring apprentices, or giving prisoners work experience for a second chance at life.
Wellbeing is a balance of physical and mental health, a fulfilment of the professional and personal goals.
For many businesses, the costs of staff outweigh other running costs within the organisation: in office-based companies, staff costs could be as much as 90% of the total. It is, therefore, perhaps surprising that we have only comparatively recently begun to look at the impact of the workplace on staff performance.
We live in a diverse world where people with certain characteristics can often experience invisible barriers which prevent them from or hinder them in accessing and progressing within a variety of environments, such as work. It is therefore critical that organisations implement meaningful long-term EDI plans with measurable KPIs to ensure true equality in how people engage with them. As well as simply being the right thing to do and helping to fill the FM skills gap, the plurality of thought gained from diverse perspectives will enable future innovations and vital adaptations, thus supporting long-term business success. In short, implementing effective EDI policies is simply good business.
IWFM is committed to placing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at the heart of our organisation, governance, membership and profession. We seek to create a community in which all people feel included, valued, supported and that they belong. Our ambition is to foster and support improved EDI practices throughout the workplace and facilities management profession and industry to achieve better outcomes for all. Morally and socially, we believe that this is the right thing to do.
We have created a Focus Group to help us shape and articulate our position and approach on EDI and have published a Public Statement outlining our commitment to this initiative, including how we will collect, analyse and use data to help us understand and break down barriers. Find out more on our EDI page.
Over the years, we have produced a wealth of sustainability-themed content and our Sustainability Surveys have formed the basis of this work. Please find below reports on past Surveys, as well as discussion papers, webinars and infographics based on the findings.
Making the Invisible, visible: how better air quality supports productivity and sustainability outcomes
Since the pandemic, indoor air quality has come to the fore of the public’s mind, yet ...
Developed in partnership with Mitsubishi Electric, this report offers expert insights ...
Transitioning to net zero poses huge challenges to governments and businesses. With en...
‘Net zero: The importance of communication and collaboration in decarbonising your building’ in partnership with Mitsubishi Electric
Episode 97 of our Navigating Turbulent Times webinar series.
Episode 94 of our Navigating Turbulent Times webinar series.
Episode 90 of our Navigating Turbulent Times webinar series.
Episode 89 of our Navigating Turbulent Times webinar series.
Episode 88 of our Navigating Turbulent Times webinar series.
Episode 77 of our Navigating Turbulent Times webinar series.
For many years, sustainability has influenced FMs’ approaches to their work. Please find below a variety of guidance materials to assist you in contributing towards a more sustainable world.
Past IWFM Impact Awards winners and nominees
For twenty years, the IWFM Impact Awards (formerly known as the BIFM Awards and more recently the IWFM Awards) has celebrated outstanding best practice and innovation from our influential profession.
Sustainability is just one area of our profession’s influence, but what an important area it is when it’s estimated that the built environment contributes up to 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions.
From climate change to environmental damage, Greta Thunberg to Sir David Attenborough, sustainability has permeated the public consciousness and, inevitably, the business world. In fact, 66% of workplace and facilities managers say sustainability is either extremely or very important (IWFM Sustainability Survey 2018).
As sustainability has grown in prominence, the IWFM Impact Awards has seen some extraordinary award submissions, but here are some of the winners in recent years who stood out from the crowd.
In 2015, all United Nations (UN) Member States adopted the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides ‘a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future’. Central to this blueprint are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): an urgent call for all countries to help create a sustainable world through their national and regional governments enacting local policies that tackle a variety of deprivations and inequalities.
As the UN puts it, the SDGs ‘recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests’.
Ultimately, the SDGs are also for consumers, businesses, societies and non-governmental organisations to embrace and change the way we do things to support the development of these 17 goals.
You can watch a summary of the SDGs is in this short video:
Delivering the 17 SDGs is a complex and ambitious task. This Ted Talk helps clarify the 17 SDGs and how we can get there:
The world of work has seen a mainstreaming of the principle of good workplace strategy...
The government has announced that it is seeking evidence on Scope 3 greenhouse gas emi...
Earlier this year, new regulation from the Environment Agency came into force relating...
With climate change intensifying, energy sources facing constraints, and buildings rep...
Available now via IWFM Academy, we have introduced three new sustainability courses sp...
BSI: The little book of net zero for small businesses
Canadian Geographic (video): Global energy demand
TED (video): Christiana Figueres on how we can solve the climate crisis
TED (video): Johan RockstroÌm on letting the environment guide our development
TED (video): Pen Hadow on the role of business in ecological research
TED (video): Tony Juniper discusses loss of biodiversity and the impact on commercial businesses
The Royal Society (video): Climate change in 60 seconds
UN Environment Programme (video): Why do we need to change our food system?
University of Plymouth (video): What is water security