Responsible business practices

Sustainability Report 2010

Responsible business practices

How sustainable principles strengthen our business

In addition to demonstrating Atelier Ten’s values and commitment to corporate responsibility, we believe our sustainability initiatives provide business value. We work with our clients and collaborators to pursue, promote and develop sustainable business outcomes.

In meeting these objectives, we:

  • provide value to our clients by building upon our reputation for integrated design and a holistic approach to projects
  • deliver projects recognised for their sustainability credentials, in line with client expectations
  • evaluate projects with respect to their sustainability risks and opportunities and, where appropriate, discuss these with the client
  • achieve performance that ensures our economic, environmental and financial viability
  • employ and retain staff who have a high degree of awareness and expertise in sustainability for all disciplines practiced
  • support innovative approaches to implementation of sustainability strategies on projects.

As an environmental design consultancy, we place sustainability and sustainable design at the centre of our endeavours. We seek to drive down CO2 emissions in everything we do and design. Within our business operations, key focus areas for us include energy management and working with suppliers to improve their environmental performance, purchasing products with reduced environmental impacts and minimising transport-related emissions.

Carbon neutral: we are a carbon neutral company committed to reducing our overall carbon footprint. We seek to reduce our carbon emissions and offset those that are unavoidable. This makes it important for us to maintain the highest standards, taking the lead on what has often been viewed as a ‘grey’ issue, lacking clarity and accountability.

As such, in 2010 we undertook a comprehensive review of our previous offset partner compared to alternative partners. This resulted in a recommendation to appoint Clear for our offsets.

We identified Clear as the preferred offset supplier for Atelier Ten for several reasons:

  • Clear is approved under the UK Government’s Quality Assurance Scheme for Carbon Offsetting. This ensures our offsets only go to Certified Carbon Reduction projects
  • Clear is fully transparent and requires us to follow Defra’s Good Practice Guidance on making Green Claims
  • Clear will only support and endorse companies who are active in reducing their carbon emissions

Responsible business practices
The residual carbon emissions offset from our UK office operations from June 2009 to July 2010 was equivalent to 3.52 tonnes of CO2eq per staff member. For the 12-months to July 2011, with Clear we have offset our expected CO2 emissions in respect of our building energy usage; commuting; work-related travel; office vehicles; couriers including supplies and deliveries; waste from our UK office and the production of our project reports. (For further information:

Our expected carbon emissions are based on our previous year’s emissions, which we will be working to reduce over the coming year. Actual emissions will be assessed at the end of the year and the offset amended accordingly. All of our offices internationally are carbon neutral. Each individual office assesses its carbon dioxide emissions and conducts the financial offset on a local basis and renews this periodically.

Energy management: our offices are generally open plan and naturally ventilated, despite being in central city locations. In London, we are in a converted warehouse and fitted the space with high efficiency lighting and controls as well as dual operated solar blinds for local control. We have installed a live feed meter reading for our electricity use in reception to record our energy consumption and help inform progress against annual targets to reduce our energy use.

Our office management system ensures that all unnecessary lighting, heating, cooling and business machines are turned off or have built-in energy saving modes enabled. We reduced the temperature of our domestic hot water supply by reducing the thermostat on the boiler by three degrees. Our server room has been reorganised to make use of current virtual machine technology enabling us to consolidate from 17 physical servers to 10. Further improvements are planned over the coming year. In addition, we removed the air-conditioning for the server room in favour of mechanical forced air movement and raised the acceptable temperature to 30 degrees in line with current Google server farm practices.

Water: we continue to monitor our water use and water saving devices have been installed in each toilet cistern supported by a plan to replace the less water efficient cisterns for more efficient ones.

Paper and waste: among our most significant environmental issues are the consumption of paper and the generation of waste. Our waste management policy observes the hierarchy of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. We employ Bywaters Recycling Services, who provide on-site separation and weighing of dry recyclables including all paper, cardboard, tetrapak, plastics, aluminium, glass, CDs and DVDs before collection. We also collect and recycle printer and toner cartridges, batteries, waste electrical equipment and old mobile phones which are managed through our supported charities. As part of our reported Green Committee actions, we have measured 2010 waste streams and have set challenging waste reduction targets for 2011.

BREEAM in-use: our London office was registered on the BREEAM In-Use online system during 2010. The self-assessment of the three Parts of the scheme will be undertaken in 2011.

When the self-assessments are complete, unverified scores and ratings for all three Parts of the scheme will be obtained. At this point it is anticipated that the Strategic Management Board in conjunction with the Green Committee will take a view whether to seek verification and certification of the ratings by an auditor, which would result in their publication on the online asset database, or whether to implement a medium-term programme of improvements to the building fabric and services and to company policies before seeking certification.

Responsible business practices

Green procurement: to improve the environmental impacts of our own purchasing policy for office supplies and materials, we have started embedding environmental principles into our formal relationships with suppliers. A formal Green Procurement policy was produced in early 2010. During the drafting of the policy, a second, more forward-looking but incomplete document was written, which included a number of potential additional procurement measures and practices. This will be reviewed in 2011.

Transportation: we are a member of Cyclescheme, a Green Transport Plan initiative which allows employees who cycle to work to purchase a bike free of tax. We have shower facilities and secure bike storage internally in the building. Because of our city location none of our office staff drive to work.

Electronic distribution channels: in a bid to reduce transport emissions related to traditional postage methods, we endeavour, where appropriate, to send all correspondence electronically.

Video conferencing: connecting our international offices with VC facilities has resulted in the need for less international travel.

Fair play: we believe corruption / unethical practices pose a significant challenge to the global economy and are an impediment to sustainable development, increase inequality, undermine public institutions and dampen economic growth. We are mindful of this when selecting our projects and partners.

Membership: we are committed to using our skills and influence to improve the built environment and to maintain the integrity and quality of the environments in which we operate. As such, we have membership of all the relevant industry bodies.