Sally Uren is Deputy Chief Executive at Forum for the Future, a not-for-profit organisation working globally with business and government to create a sustainable future.
Forum for the Future has 15 years’ experience inspiring new thinking, building creative partnerships and developing practical innovations to change our world. They aim to transform the critical systems that we all depend on, such as food, energy and finance, to make them fit for the challenges of the 21st century.
The ‘built environment’ is familiar terminology. How would you characterize the sustainable built environment?
‘At Forum for the Future we believe that a sustainable built environment should be inspiring, liveable and create healthy, happy communities that can prosper within environmental limits. The route to a sustainable built environment is through effective and appropriate planning and innovative, low carbon infrastructure. Buildings are refurbished wherever possible and new buildings are durable, low carbon, flexible, innovative, efficient and constructed using reclaimed, recycled and renewable materials. Within a sustainable built environment the buildings themselves deliver positive social value, for example hospitals improve patient recovery rates and schools raise children’s aspirations and increase educational attainment.’
What are the most important operational aspects for BAM to contribute to a sustainable built environment?
‘Royal BAM Group can make a positive contribution to a sustainable built environment by looking beyond the project and focusing on the outcomes, building better healthcare, better educational outcomes and enabling sustainable living. BAM needs to go beyond the boundaries of its own operations and work collaboratively and in partnership with its supply chains, clients and investors to ensure that every project delivers optimal environmental, social and economic outcomes.’ ‘Operationally, to ensure that BAM realizes the well documented business benefits from a pro-active approach to sustainability, it is vital that it is embedded throughout all aspects of the business, from procurement to business development. This means building a culture of sustainability, where everyone in BAM ultimately plays a role in delivering a sustainable Royal BAM Group, as well as a sustainable built environment.’
What are the essential strategic issues for BAM (or any other contractor) to weave sustainability into its brand identity?
‘BAM should strive to be recognized by all of its key stakeholders as a forward-looking organization which understands its role in creating a more sustainable world, and is taking bold and innovative steps to get there. Collaboration and partnership will be key to achieving this ambition and the BAM brand should be synonymous with these characteristics. This means that BAM needs to be seen as working with, and leading, its clients, supply chain, investors and society to find the solutions needed for a more sustainable way of living.’
‘Having been around for 140 years, the BAM brand has shown that one of its core attributes is sustainability. In order to prosper for the next 100 years, the brand needs to communicate an ambition to help deliver long term prosperity for all, within environmental limits, and in so doing, have played its role in creating not just a sustainable built environment, but a sustainable future.’