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Green your operations

28 October 2010

Jessica Beaven

The London FM Conference, sponsored by London First, took place on Thursday 30 September at the corporate business centre 
15 Hatfields, London.


It soon became apparent that the underlying theme of the day was for businesses to adopt a much more environmentally friendly way of working.

The timing of the day itself was topical, as it was also the deadline for businesses to register to the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (formerly the Carbon Reduction Commitment) to avoid financial penalties and potentially reputational damage.

The agenda was packed with speakers from different industry areas, all providing perspectives and facts that may not necessarily be considered in a day-to-day role. For example, Emma Strain from the London Development Agency informed the 100 strong audience that 80 per cent of the current buildings in London will still be in use in 50 years time. Therefore there is an obvious need to ensure the buildings have the most energy and cost efficient technology throughout.

Buildings account for approximately 40 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions, and so those responsible for the running of the buildings play a vital role in making operations run more sustainably.

The first section of the conference focused on FM in the current economic climate, and took quite a legislative angle. Sophie Schultz from law firm Allen & Overy identified the top three trends occurring in the real estate litigation group. The first being tenants wanting to get out of the leasing contract; the second being around break notice disputes; and finally, the company has seen a surge in professional negligence claims. The overall message was to gain professional advice should you find yourself in a dispute over the lease agreement with either your landlord or tenant.

Robert Guice, executive vice president from Shred It, spoke about the importance of having confidential documents destroyed securely. The impact of a data breach is potentially massive and could impact negatively on the reputation and trust of the company. Guice then spoke about the difference between secure document destroying and recycling, and how the former is an important commercial concern for Shred It.

The section that followed the introduction to the day had the diverse theme of new approaches in outsourcing. Talks were given on recruiting and retaining the best people for the job, new ways of dealing with food waste, and current best practice in service delivery methodology FM.
The latter mentioned was delivered by Jack Finney of Shell, and Sandy McNaughton of Eurest. Finney manages the substantial London portfolio and works together with McNaughton to align the global FM strategy. A new model has recently been put in place to enable Shell to provide an improvement and enhancement to all disciplines in 
FM. Finney and McNaughton believe the reason the companies work so well together is because they share very similar standards, procedures and objectives, which ultimately resulted in them winning the Euro FM Award for Partners Across Borders in 2009.

Taking action
After lunch, the first session of the afternoon took place on the subject of carbon reduction. Talks were given from a number of diverse sectors within the industry, but it was Jeremy Blow from EcoXchange that gave the most direct message for ‘Greening your Company.’

He spoke about how the environment has had an impact on your business, not the other way round as is often perceived. Encouraging those present to take action, he said: “If you want things to stay the same, then things have got to change.”

Other speakers focused on how outsourcing energy management is an option, and how investing in energy efficiency should be an important area of policy development when it comes to defining objectives and setting targets.

The final session, sponsored by Regus, veered away from hard FM and looked at office design, and how to make the most of your office environment.

Delegates were then invited for drinks and networking in the exhibition area afterwards. Thanks goes to all speakers who attended the event, London First for supporting the event, and 15 Hatfields for the use of its superb venue.