More than 30 leading organisations that collectively own and manage over 15 million sq ft of commercial space sign pioneering charter to reduce emissions from Westminster’s buildings.
Westminster City Council and Westminster Property Association (WPA) have announced that 35 leading businesses and institutions have committed to the fight against climate change by signing a pioneering Sustainable City Charter (“The Charter”) that seeks to reduce carbon emissions generated by the use of Westminster’s commercial and public buildings and ensure Westminster becomes a net zero City by 2040.
The first signatories include some of Westminster’s leading businesses, cultural and academic institutions, healthcare providers and property companies which collectively own, manage and occupy buildings with a floor area spanning 15.5 million sq ft – equivalent to the size of Hyde Park.
The way in which buildings such as the Houses of Parliament, theatres, restaurants, shops, universities, hotels and offices are used, is estimated to account for almost 60%[i] of Westminster’s carbon emissions.
The City of Westminster has some of the highest carbon emissions by local authority area in the UK, producing 2.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). It is estimated that to achieve Westminster’s net zero 2040 target, the city will need to save over 91,000 tonnes of carbon a year.
The Charter, which is the first of its kind in London, calls on Westminster’s 55,000 businesses and property owners to take radical action to reduce operational carbon across their premises and drive sustainability across the City. It includes measures to reduce energy consumption and waste, encourage sustainable forms of travel, ensure greener deliveries through the use of local suppliers and central collection points, prioritise sustainable building fit-out and refurbishment and adopt ‘green leases’ which mandate data-sharing on energy usage.
While a further 70 businesses are engaged in taking part, major signatories include:
- Derwent London
- Imperial College Healthcare Trust (which manages St Mary’s hospital)
- London School of Economics and Political Science
- The Portman Estate
- The Royal Opera House
- Shaftesbury Capital
- University of Westminster
- Whitbread (which operates six hotels across Westminster)
emissions and receive a tool-kit and ongoing support. The Charter is business-led and is guided by a Steering Group and Technical Working Group, both of which comprise of industry experts and business leaders.
The Charter was launched by Westminster City Council and WPA in November 2022 as part of the City Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan and is central to its goal to be a net-zero city by 2040. It applies to buildings in Westminster with non-domestic uses, including offices, shops, hotels, restaurants, museums and theatres and provides a clear and robust framework for reducing operational carbon. It is not intended to inform planning policy in the City of Westminster.
You can read the Charter in full here: Sustainable City Charter | Westminster City Council
Marcus Geddes, Chair of Westminster Property Association and Managing Director, Workplace at Landsec, added: “Westminster is the beating heart of London and in order to continue to attract businesses and people from all over the world it must also lead the way in becoming a sustainable city.
“This can only be achieved through close collaboration between property owners and their occupiers. Collectively, we can reduce operational carbon emissions, and build a greener, more sustainable future for Westminster and beyond.
“The Sustainable City Charter has a crucial role to play in driving the partnership and innovation needed. A huge amount of progress has already been made but we need to move faster, it’s fantastic to see leading businesses, academic and cultural institutions and property companies commit to work together to achieve this goal.”
Cllr Matt Noble, Cabinet Member of Climate Action, Regeneration and Renters at Westminster City Council, said: “Westminster has some of the highest levels of carbon emissions and air pollution in the UK, largely due to it being a dense urban area with a mostly older building stock.
“We have set the bold target of being a net-zero city by 2040, but this is only achievable if we urgently tackle emissions from commercial buildings, with property owners and businesses of all sizes fully committed to this goal.
“We are proud to already have the support of the Royal Opera House, London School of Economics and a number of other leading organisations as we work together to accelerate the pace of change.”
Find out more about the Sustainable City Charter here.
Read the Charter launch press release here.
Read more about this story in the press below.