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Increasing “lip service” by UK companies to sustainability

Facilities ManagerLONDON: A survey by the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) says there's been a 20 percent drop in confidence by UK companies in their ability to implement and manage sustainability policies.

The BIFM's ninth annual survey noted that 40 percent of respondents thought their organization was 'very good' or 'excellent' at implementing sustainability, compared to over 60 percent last year, and 43 per cent in 2013.

The drop coincides with a reported increase in barriers to sustainability with physical constraints highlighted by 80 percent of respondents; 71 percent cited financial handicaps; and 69 percent said they experienced a lack of organizational engagement.

In addition, the survey found that 36 percent of those canvassed had no formal reporting system or data collection process when measuring sustainability. And despite 81 per cent of CEOs and senior management reporting sustainability as being a very important issue for their business, only 61 per cent of middle management and 63 per cent of front line management reported the same.

Gareth Tancred, CEO of BIFM said: "Despite increased pressure on businesses to be more sustainable, we are actually seeing a decline in their ability to do so. What is clear from our findings is that organizations need to re-think their approach to sustainability in the face of increasing barriers."

Tancred said that in nine years of conducting the BIFM survey, 2015 has seen the biggest year-on-year decrease: "What is needed to address the 'sustainability crunch' is more collaborative working, to look beyond purely environmental connotations such as energy consumption, climate change and waste management, and integrate policies aligned with societal sustainability, such as the Living Wage. The risk of not doing so is that organizations are accused of only paying lip service to sustainability," he declared.

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