The case for Business Improvement DistrictsNovember 2013
Tass Mavrogordato, ceo of inmidtown, a Business Improvement District, explains how the organisation contributes to the sustainable business model
At inmidtown we’re striving to make the area between the City and the West End, London’s most sustainable commercial district. In 2012-2013, we helped businesses in the area save over 918 tonnes of Co2, and 1,218 tonnes of waste was diverted from landfill.
Businesses in urban environments face a host of sustainability challenges, but through our industry leading initiatives, we’re helping our members navigate these to achieve competitive advantage. Becoming the world’s first capital city commercial district to eliminate the waste it sends to landfill is just one example of that. In practice, our Zero to Landfill scheme means ensuring every waste stream – from glass bottles to confidential files, food waste to redundant electrical equipment – leads to a sustainable outcome. For instance, general waste is converted into energy and returned to the National Grid network, while white paper is recycled into stationery items, which are delivered back to member businesses. Wherever possible we look to create closed loop processes, for example food waste is broken down and used for compost in the area’s green spaces.
Through our sustainability services, members can show the cost and carbon impact such initiatives are having on their operations, and how that’s benefitting the local environment.
The hyper-local nature of our carbon saving initiatives also make them more effective than typical service providers, which tend to cover a greater geographic area. A good example of this in action is inmidtown’s procurement and recycling services where one truck services multiple businesses within the area. Through this service 33% of our businesses make cost and carbon savings, while also reducing air pollution in the wider area.
So that everyone can see the impact businesses in the area are having on achieving a greener London, as set out in The London Plan’s vision for sustainable development, we track these savings through a real-time Carbon Counter on the inmidtown website. Individual businesses can see their own contribution to the collective achievement too, through a quarterly report which provides individual calculations around cost and carbon savings.
In addition to the ethical impact of these initiatives, businesses that have access to them are experiencing improved employee engagement and workforce productivity, alongside meaningful and real-time results.
This is especially true of the businesses we’re working with to help design and create ‘green roofs’ – helping businesses make use of the vast amount of rooftop and above-street space which can be used to reduce energy use, and even grow food for staff and other local people in the area, another great example of a closed loop economy in the making!
At inmidtown we’ve received a high level of member engagement because our businesses gain competitive advantage from the services we provide. The ease with which businesses can be actively sustainable in the area, with truly quantifiable results, is a key driver for why Midtown is becoming London’s commercial district of choice.
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