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‘WHAT DOES SUSTAINABILITY EVEN MEAN ANY MORE?’

Ghelamco, the family-owned International real estate investor and developer co-authors ‘Sustainability Futures’ report with the world’s most renowned future consultancies, The Future Laboratory

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London, 9th May 2022:
Leading International real estate investor and developer, Ghelamco, has co-authored the ‘Sustainability Futures’ report with renowned futures consultancy, The Future Laboratory. The analysis explores and unravels the ubiquitous term ‘sustainability’ and looks at how to plan for sustainable future proofing in green developments, and carbon conscious consumer behaviours in the 2030s.

Trends Uncovered
Underpinning the emphasis on a ‘code red for humanity’ considering the current climate crisis, is a sense of optimism in demonstrable ‘Citizen Capitalism’, with individuals acting as allies in holding corporations to account and exercising an ‘aggressive culture of engagement’. Debunking the tendency of corporate greenwashing, ‘Sustainable Futures’ reveals that while 80% of businesses worldwide are reporting on sustainability practice, the average US company spends just 0.13% of its revenue on CSR1.

The report explores a younger demographic demanding eco-workplaces, where environmental concerns are overlaid in every part of a business, from product design to long haul business travel. Increasingly businesses are investing in next-generation materials as a long-term strategy to decarbonise production and manufacturing. Energising architecture will be another trend, where mono-use buildings will turn into flexible formats that provide hyper-local energy and food with greenhouses on the roof, and community facilities. In the future, entire neighbourhoods will produce everything a community needs on-site; one existing example is the ecological city, Xiong’an in China, which is a compact, mixed-use model that operates independently of nearby Beijing. Remarkably, the IT industry is expected to use 20% of all electricity by 20252.

Ghelamco’s Near Zero Ambitions
By contrast, Ghelamco is renowned for its creation of sustainable, energy neutral concepts and a one-of-a-kind approach towards green building. The developer not only focuses on energy saving, but considers workplace comfort, water usage, innovation, location and social impact. Earlier this year, the company announced its first UK property venture, The Arc, a mixed-use hub, slated to launch during Q1 2023 in Shoreditch East London, as a fully electric development boasting 30 per cent lower than multi-fuel-operated competitor. The building also pioneers in cutting-edge technology enabling surplus energy from each apartment’s underfloor heating and cooling system to be freed up for use by another apartment. Low energy, low carbon radiant ceiling heating and cooling systems, state of the art electric heat pumps and the highest possible grade insulation and glazing all combine to reduce a resident’s carbon footprint.



Ghelamco’s Arc Triple Certified
The Arc boasts triple certifications including BREEAM, WELL Gold and DGNB, and significantly, Ghelamco’s was an early adopter of the BREEAM certification and all of their developments since 2011 have been delivered in line with its criteria, and awarded Outstanding or Excellent. Their Wronia 31 Warsaw building was formally recognised as the greenest building of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) at the BREEAM Awards 2019. They were also appointed as Partners in the European Commission’s “Green Building Programme” for multiple projects in Poland.

Design & Biodiversity
Designed by award-winning architects, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, the mixed-use Arc hub will feature 100 stylish new homes comprising of a mix of studio apartments, with interior design by Bowler James Brindley. The building, inspired by Meatpacking District, with its luminous interiors and the industrial charm of the Art Moderne red Belgian brick façade, features 160,000 square feet of office and retail space and an abundance or urban greenspace, including an expansive open-air terrace designed by Grant Associates, the landscape architects behind the iconic Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.

Landscaping at The Arc has also been designed with urban biodiversity in mind and features a plethora of edible plants, including Ostrich Fern, Round Headed Leeks and Allium Neapolitanum – also known as Daffodil Garlic. Additional plants include Salvia Verticillate, also known as ‘purple rain’, which the butterflies love and bee friendly flowers are in abundance too, such as Vincas and Astrantias.

Marie-Julie Gheysens, Head of UK, International Business Development at Ghelamco comments: “We are delighted to have collaborated with Future Laboratory on this pivotal research to advance the future of green construction. Our holistic approach towards sustainability at The Arc is truly one-of-a-kind, establishing an exemplary ecosystem for decades to come. The Arc will be a fantastic place to live, socialise and retreat, whilst the building’s considered design and sustainability contribute towards residents’ health and wellbeing.”

Chris Sanderson, Co-founder of The Future Laboratory states: “Building and construction are responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world and it is vital for developers to look inwards and assess the environmental considerations across every aspect of their business. The Future Laboratory is pleased to partner with Ghelamco on ‘Sustainability Futures’ in order to highlight what is possible when corporations take affirmative action in tackling the current climate crisis.”

More recently, sustainability has been co-opted as a one-solution label, with ubiquitous greenwashing, and the term lost its purpose. To make headway, consumers must become citizens of the planet; corporate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) frameworks must shift from offsetting damage to not doing damage at all, and brands should become scientists, committing to regeneration as they work towards a sustainable future. As leaders in sustainable development, Ghelamco is looking forward to setting a new benchmark for the construction industry with not only new sites to imminently announce in the UK but across Europe too.

* KPMG, Vox
** World Economic Forum