17 November, 2014

The biodiversity business: Making green count

In business today, green principles and issues are often at work, but only in the background, invisible to the naked eye. Ironically, placing a business value on the green that is easy to see can be quite difficult.

This green is the living kind. It is the stuff of biodiversity: swales, green walls, gabions, native species, wildlife-friendly planting, hedgerows, wildflower meadows, mature trees, saplings, swift and bat boxes, insect houses, wetland habitat and rain gardens.

It is not just beautiful, but plentiful. Living green is being woven daily throughout the fabric of our property portfolio at M&S: at our head offices, throughout store-retrofit programmes and on landmark new-build schemes.

Statistics tell the tale at our recent Cheshire Oaks development in Ellesmere Port: 12,000sq m of landscaping and wetland, 350sq m of living wall, 228 trees planted, 88 plant species and 17 types of bird sighted – plus the first-ever award of the Wildlife Trust Biodiversity Benchmark to a UK retailer.

Landscape and ecology professionals are constructing an argument in support of biodiversity, but are doing so without the key metrics to capture the true benefits. Much as the moment might seem right for ecosystem services to go mainstream, there will be no tipping point without active collaboration on the number crunching.

We want to be able to prove that a healthy and nature-connected working and shopping environment can pay huge dividends in terms of wellbeing, productivity and business effectiveness. We want to be able to demonstrate that greening improves building performance through insulation, shading and reduced storm water runoff. We want to show the real return that can be made on a relatively small investment in design.

Without the killer data though, our business case is incomplete. 

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Roseline – Plan A Project Manager

Inside M&S