Spec Finish

Sustainability www.thefis.org 15 Evidenced by the announcement of its Sustainability Champion (see previous page) FIS is taking a pro-active lead in supporting the UK ambition to net zero carbon by 2050 and delivering profound transformation within the finishes and interiors supply chain on all aspects of ethical and environmental sustainability. The FIS SustainabilityWorking Group focuses on five key areas: • to influence design and procurement; • to increase understanding and expertise on all aspects of sustainability; • to set targets and support standardisation of data collection; • to create an open network to share best practice, collate and create supporting resources; and • to highlight individuals and approaches that help inspire and inform change. As we get to grips with the return to work away from home, we see the growing focus on health and wellbeing in the office and this is being driven by influences across the supply chain. Product innovation, wellbeing and safety also play a key role in delivering sustainable, people-centric buildings. Adjusting behaviours In a recent interview, FIS Chief Executive, Iain McIlwee, discussed the sector’s support of sustainability strategies, the net zero ambition and how companies in the fit-out sector can go beyond sustainability being simply a tick-box exercise and, ultimately, practice what they preach. The UK is the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050 and Iain spoke on the view of the finishes and interiors sector, and FIS members specifically, on the climate change challenge and the role that the fit- out sector plays in it. Commenting that we all, including the construction industry, have to adjust our behaviours today, Iain said: “In our supply chain there is a growing understanding, not only of our responsibilities, but also the potential of the sector to support change. The Construction Leadership Council (CLC), has made a great start, and, as the next tier of the supply chain down, it is something that the fit-out sector must get involved in.” According to the Technology Strategy Board, the construction, operation and maintenance of the built environment accounts for 45% of total UK carbon emissions (18% from non-domestic buildings). The finishes and interiors sector is worth £10bn annually – roughly 10% of construction as a whole, but, Iain acknowledged, our impact is disproportionate. He said: “If you think about the building process, we are the bit that turns that structure into a home, office, hotel, hospital or theatre – our function includes refurbishment too as, throughout their lives, buildings are likely to have around 30 refits where evolving needs and fashion drive that change.” When specifying for the finishes and interiors sector, consideration must be given to the impact of every project including future refurbishments of the building, which will determine the impact of the building throughout its life. There is also a growing recognition that we need to be better – our work will be driven by regulation and customer choice as well as our own value sets as we move towards net zero. As a sector, we are focusing on what we need to do in order to form sustainability plans and make our businesses better. Iain said: “It’s not just about science-based targets and complex calculations, it’s about doing what we know is right and, hopefully, that will lead to a collective change.” FIS takes the lead The FIS Sustainability Working Group is taking a proactive lead in support of this, by setting up its sustainability strategy, (see above). Iain said: “As we only deliver what our customers want, we can still lead in this process and help them to make informed decisions but ultimately, the design of the buildings will be driven by client need and to some extent, regulation.” FIS works with organsiations, such as Barbour ABI, to ensure that innovation in our sector is plugged into the brains of people that are designing and specifying buildings so that they understand what’s possible. There is an increasing understanding within our community, that FIS members are moving up the scale of customer service by informing the design process and inspiring change. Iain said: “Many areas require more of a standard approach; for example, rather than measuring everything in different ways we are starting to look at how we can agree on how to measure waste. We are providing a vehicle to share best practice and we are engaging with the CLC and the Government race to zero pledges and adapting those for this sector. Our Sustainability Hub www.thefis.org/knowledge-hub/ sustainability usefully curates everything available. Early engagement Better communication and earlier engagement with the supply chain will make the biggest impact, this is something that the FIS core strategy is all about; delivering quality through a focus on product, process and people (PPP). Iain said: “I am increasingly of the view that quality, safety, sustainability and net zero are linked to selecting the right products. Often in construction, procurement processes drive the late appointment of contractors when they should be engaged early to make use of their expertise to drive change in product selection for example. We must adopt clear and robust processes where early engagement and communication are essential with all tiers of the supply chain.” We also have to look at extended producer responsibility – the process has to improve or we can’t deliver change. A report published some time ago by the Zero Carbon Hub highlighted the issue of products that were FIS SUSTAINABILITY HUB FIS has signed up to the Pallet LOOP Charter, a circular pallet distribution model that addresses existing inefficiencies in the management of pallets in the UK construction sector. www.thepalletloop.com

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