-12 Oct. 2020

Our bold ambition to be the sector leader in sustainable development by 2030

Graham Shaw, our Managing Director talks about our bold ambition to be the sector leader in sustainable development by 2030; an ambition which is underpinned by some colossal targets

Graham Shaw, Managing Director          Willmott Dixon Interiors


Without a doubt, 2020 is a year that continues to challenge us – as a sector and as businesses, and for many of us it has impacted in ways that none of us could have predicted this time last year. In the short and even the medium term, the circumstances of 2020 remain a very real and present threat, but I’m confident that as an industry, and particularly here at Willmott Dixon Interiors, we will continue to apply the same spirit and resolve that has carried us through the last six months.

Finding solutions to difficult challenges is something we do very well in our industry. I’m immensely proud of the hard work and commitment we, and our partners, have shown over the recent months.

And it’s this same spirit and resolve that we require over the next decade to help us solve a much bigger, longer-term challenge – Sustainability.

On the 29th September, Willmott Dixon made some very significant announcements concerning how it wants to address the challenge of sustainable development. Our new Sustainability Strategy 2030, Now or Never, sets a new precedent for our business along with a series of ambitions and targets covering the next ten years – something we now refer to as Our Decisive Decade.

You can all clearly see the world around us is changing – this year more than ever we’ve experienced how quickly our lives can be directly impacted by situations outside of our control. The world is now more than ever looking at how we live our lives, the environment around us, as well as how and where we both live and work.  The pandemic has shown us very clearly that the planet is small, and how we have lived our lives in the past is no longer sustainable in the future.

If the recent pandemic has taught me anything, it’s appreciating how fragile our society is, and how as individuals, societies and businesses, we all rely on each other. In the past it’s been too easy for us to put the real challenge of sustainable development on the backburner, or to just concentrate on being a compliant business. It has become too easy to slip into our comfort zone and ignore the challenges we face – climate change, social inequality, natural resource depletion, to name but a few.

Willmott Dixon wants to respond to these challenges in a way like it has never done before and we have a bold ambition to be the sector leader in sustainable development by 2030; an ambition which is underpinned by some colossal targets, such as:

  • All our major refurbishments will achieve net zero operational carbon by 2030
  • Our supply chain will achieve net zero operational carbon by 2040
  • Willmott Dixon will be a zero-carbon business without any offsetting
  • Delivering high-impact social value and creating careers for people facing significant barriers
  • Eliminating all avoidable waste from our construction and business operations

The Now or Never strategy is designed to put us at the forefront of this agenda, and I am personally excited because it is less about simply achieving targets. Instead it will force us to think about how we innovate, evolve our business and improve the quality of services and products for our customers. More importantly, it ensures we play our part in mitigating the catastrophic consequences of runaway climate change and social inequality.

As a business, we have a role to support society through the projects we deliver, it’s important we step-up, lead from the front, and ensure everyone plays their part. Our customers are demanding this more than ever, and the science tells us we are running out of time. So, we need to be in a position to respond – not just because it makes good business sense, but because it’s the right thing to do in the long-term.

Whilst our immediate attention requires us to navigate the uncertainty we all still face from the pandemic, we must also start to address the bigger challenge of climate change and being a more responsible, social corporation over the next ten years.

To be blunt, we want to be part of the solution, and not the problem – because every time we deliver a project or do something that impacts our business, we can make a real difference. But every time we do not, we become part of the problem.

Now or Never is our response, and we have every confidence it will help us play our part. The question is – will you?

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