Dandara appoints ESG head to prioritise sustainability policy
The newly appointed head of ESG at housebuilder and build-to-rent operator Dandara Group has pledged to embed sustainability in all areas of the business as it strives to meet net zero targets.
Lesley Treacy will be responsible for developing and implementing a new long-term Sustainability Strategy for Dandara, encompassing the housebuilder Dandara which has developments in the East of Scotland and Aberdeen, and the BTR developer and operator Dandara Living.
Lesley said: “Sustainability isn’t just something to talk about; it must become embedded in the culture and identity of the business. Dandara want to do the right thing, not because it sounds good, but because it sees a real opportunity to make a significant difference.”
Expecting to deliver a net zero carbon pathway by the end of the year, she said: “Through this trajectory, we will respond positively to regulatory and legislative requirements, as well as the increasing expectations of our investors, customers and our own colleagues.”
With an extensive CV in environmental and social consultancy having worked as a consultant with businesses like HSBC as well as other housebuilders such as Countryside and Fairview, Lesley added: “Much attention, quite rightly, is being paid to ESG objectives within the construction sector. However, in trying to appease everyone there is a danger of trying to do too much and not getting it right. A managed and consistent approach is key with set targets that can be regularly measured.”
Examining ways to reduce operational and embodied carbon within the building process, Lesley said: “We are investigating construction processes, trialling hybrid generators on site, using PV panels and air source heat pumps. We are constantly working to optimise the energy efficiency of the homes we build and limit operational carbon emissions wherever possible.
“A key priority for us, and the sector as a whole, will be to tackle embodied carbon emissions, ensuring we are taking an approach which considers the whole lifecycle of carbon. One aspect of this will be responsible supply chain management, through requiring Environment Product Declarations for many of the materials we use and sustainable practices from our contractors and sub-contractors. We are also ensuring colleagues are aware of key sustainability aspects including consumption and energy usage on site to ensure we are as efficient as possible in every aspect of construction. Developers need to do everything they can to directly limit their carbon emissions before they think about offsetting.”
Trevor Dempsey, Dandara CEO, said: “The construction industry has a heavy carbon footprint which is in need of mitigation. At Dandara, we are wholly committed to managing the impact of our developments responsibly, from waste reduction and water conservation to energy efficiency and durability. We already use accredited assessment tools such as the Home Quality Mark and BREEAM.
“However, more must be done. That is why we have created a new role dedicated to ESG and Lesley will propel our sustainability strategy, ensuring environmental and social drivers are at the core of our business operations and delivering best practice across our sites.”
Lesley, who will develop an in-house training programme to give individual employees the opportunity to upskill, flourish and thrive in their careers, said social responsibility was equally important.
“We are focussed on becoming better neighbours. Our aim is to place communities at the heart of our developments and be recognised as a leading provider of great places to live, work and grow,” she added.