Report 2018

Shaping the future

Environmental Stewardship

Protecting our resources, reducing our impacts

Culture and Wellbeing

Maintaining and enhancing our status of employer of choice

Governance and Ethics

Business operations with a conscience

Sustainability in Services

Leading the market towards a sustainable

built environment

Community and Charity

Working together to create opportunities

Sustainability is firmly ingrained in business practice and is a guiding principle in the real estate industry. It informs everything we do and strongly reinforces our business purpose. The business case for sustainability is clear, and powerful; not only does it create value, but also improves the performance of buildings and people’s lives.

Our embedded sustainability advice focusses on helping clients create better outcomes for people as well as protecting or enhancing our natural world and resources. A key aim of the sustainability team is to offer our clients integrated sustainability advice throughout all of AY’s relevant services. The services we provide as part of this are created to improve our clients’ sustainability performance:

• ESG or Responsible Property Investment (RPI) strategy and reporting

• Operational building sustainability, energy and carbon saving reduction

• Health and wellbeing for occupiers, developers and landlords

• Regulatory compliance and risk management (MEES, ESOS and Heat Networks)

In 2018 the Sustainability team acted for a mix of private and public real estate clients, including REIT’s, private equity investors, fund managers, lenders, local authorities and blue chip businesses. The integration of smart technology is an emerging trend which allows us to further embed our advice alongside our traditional services.

Social value

We increased our commitment to social value creation in our advice to clients and engagement across the industry by way of conference presentations, panel speaking and hosting events. As part of this work we continued our participation and advocacy of the UK Green Building Council’s Social Value programme. The programme produced a number of important outputs in 2018 (see below for more details).

Sustainability leaders network

In 2018 we created a sustainability leaders network. The group was founded to share a greater level of knowledge and drive initiatives with individuals who demonstrate a higher level of engagement with sustainability. The increased engagement sees initiatives such as; a regular newsletter, posting ideas on the ideas platform, group meetings, knowledge sharing and event participation.

Innovation and technology

Our focus on transforming our business digitally has led to new ways of delivering existing services and the rise of new business models. One of these business models is working in partnership with 3rd party start-up and tech companies. In 2018 we proposed innovative IoT solutions to clients to help them better understand the environmental performance of their buildings.

A focus on social value

GVA has a long standing reputation and track record on delivering regeneration schemes. These projects are designed to create positive outcomes for local communities, and ensure any growth achieved is both inclusive and contributes to the prosperity of communities whilst supporting the long term growth of the city or neighbourhood. The social value programme, operated by the UK Green Building Council, is a key way in which GVA is expanding our work to embed social value creation into all of the built environment projects we work on or influence.

In 2018 GVA helped to bring our expertise to the UK GBC’s Social Value Programme to shape significant thinking on how to use the concept of social value to enable the built environment sector to deliver better outcomes for communities. This includes embedding the principles of social value into different stages of the building lifecycle. Significant pieces of work generated by the programme to date include the publication of the following outputs:

• A guide for Local Authorities – Driving Social Value in new development

• Actors and industry map (a showcase of toolkits, case studies and stakeholders)

The social value programme continues to evolve and create impacts across the public and private sectors.

Other contributions

• 100% of our managed client portfolios procured electricity through a green electricity contract provider. We offset gas consumption through a Carbon Trust approved offset initiative.

• We provided supported to 43 specialist bids for client mandates (up by 23% from 2017) which comprised sustainability or social value requirements. This reflects a growing demand in procurement practices by our clients.

• Provided consultancy to a client on the 2nd largest WELL Standard designed and constructed fit out in the UK.

• Worked with the BRE to develop the Biophilic Project, a collaborative project to test the benefits of biophilic design measures in controlled test environments.

• Presented and participated in a number of industry and client events on the importance of social value and how to integrate social value into our clients business practices.

• Expanded our internal sustainability leaders network membership by 39%.

• Continued partnerships with industry working groups (BPF, BBP, CoreNet) to influence policy and drive greater action through regular engagements with the wider real estate sector.

Our goals

Integrate social and environmental best practice into our services

Collaborate with industry groups on sustainability initiatives

Our objectives

Ensure all staff undertake training on sustainability

Work with our teams to integrate sustainability ‘good and best practice’ into client services

Deliver bespoke sustainability services to our clients

Deliver free training sessions to students and the wider sector

Continue supporting the work of the UK Green Building Council

Continue being an active member of the BBP Managing Agents Partnership

Publish research reports and thought leadership articles

Alignment to UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Make Cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

GVA action:
Our work with clients and industry enables us to help transition the property sector to a sustainable model and add value for our clients along the way.



“GVA’s support to the social value programme has been valuable to enable a positive impact and reach across the industry. The contribution by GVA in helping to shape and promote the outputs generated, helps us to continue to elevate this vitally important area of our work with key public sector stakeholders and the wider industry.”


John Alker

Lead Director, Social Value programme and Head of Policy

UK Green Building Council