There is much talk about the need for businesses to become more sustainable and socially responsible in their day to day activity both in the office and out on clients’ sites. The need for businesses to become ‘net zero’ and aware of their responsibilities to reduce their day to day emissions is commonplace, but what exactly is net zero?
Net zero refers to the point at which all carbon emissions are eliminated or offset, in efforts to quit contributing to the inertia of climate change. Leading scientists believe this could well affect the well-being of humanity globally. The UK Government has set a net zero carbon target for 2050 and are committed to this goal with the announcement that from 2030, new petrol and diesel cars will no longer be sold. While 45 per cent of FTSE 100 companies have committed to achieving net zero by 2050 or sooner, only 16 per cent have a plan on how they will achieve it. The other 55% of FTSE companies join the majority of businesses in requiring support to address the various knowledge gaps, to ensure that widespread net zero carbon commitments are rolled out alongside credible plans for organisations to achieve these objectives.
A main point for discussion on the journey is the difference between striving for carbon neutral goals versus net zero goals. From a public Corporate Social Responsibility perspective, carbon neutrality is often used as the main point for sustainable business. The issue, however, with this approach alone is that it relies on carbon offset rather than truly sustainable practice and development, meaning that companies can buy into programs that counteract their impact. The investment in carbon capture and renewable infrastructure elsewhere is important, but so is gradually improving the way we operate here and now. Put simple, there has to be a plan in place in order to achieve the objective.
Globally, the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions is still electricity and heat, accounting for almost a third of all emissions. There are other scopes of carbon emissions, however, with suppliers, associates, and necessary services usually the largest category and can include so much of a wider network, but is also the scope with the largest potential for positive growth by encouraging connections to make progress, and in working together in the race to carbon neutrality. Unlike other races, this is one that everyone needs to finish, and no one can afford to lose.
Comments Off on AEJ in New London Retail Park Site Win
AEJ Management, the retail and shopping centre soft services FM specialist, are celebrating after having been awarded a new contract to run a 100000 sq ft out of town retail park in North-West London. The retail park, which features some of the UKs most popular and recognised brands, was put out to tender to find a provider that could undertake a professional cleaning service at the site along with providing a visible security presence for the visiting public.
Iain Warburton, Business Development Manager at AEJ Management remarks, ‘We’re delighted to have been appointed on this site for the next 3 years. This demonstrates the trust the managing agent has in us to deliver on the service specifications that were outlined in the bid process and it also strengths our position as a leading soft service provider into the retail and shopping sector in and around the capital and south-west in general. Our head office is in Chelmsford and we are often viewed as an attractive proposition to clients given our proximity to London and our excellent track record within this sector’.
The bid process involved having to outline the company’s experience in service delivery, submission of a clear and competitive bid along with demonstrating a strategic and cultural fit for the client. Iain continues, ‘What was also apparent during the tender exercise what the need to demonstrate innovation over the duration of the contract and also how we would add value to the existing site arrangements. Being able to compile and submit detailed, yet concise reports is one aspect that differentiates us from our competitors and this is something we are proud of’.
For further information on the services that AEJ Management can offer, visit their website at www.aejmanagement.com on contact on 01245 396873
Comments Off on Has The FM Sector Now Become A ‘Race To The Bottom’?
Across UK, industry as a whole over the last 12- 18 months has seen seismic developments which did not seem possible prior to the outbreak of Covid-19. Businesses have had to adapt to the constant changing landscape they operate in with most employers taking advantage of furlough, or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, in an attempt to prevent redundancies and keep staff on the payroll whilst hoping to get through the turbulence as unscathed as possible. Microsoft Teams and Zoom have become the new medium for holding both internal company and client meetings and perhaps opened executive eyes in how communications can still remain open and effective between staff and clients alike, whilst travel has been restricted. Industry however has suffered that there can be no doubt, with the hospitality sector still largely dormant and one of the last to pick up the pieces from the devastation of Lockdown.
The Facilities Management sector has also experienced changes that were not forecast with remote staff management becoming a necessity along with the challenges imposed logistically to ensure site staff are fully compliant from a PPE perspective. There have, of course, been some winners and losers in this sector yet the retail sector has perhaps been the biggest loser with numbers only recently returning to parks and shopping centres of which were experienced pre-lockdown. Managing agents have had to work tirelessly with both landlords and tenants alike in an attempt to understand both occupier requirements and occupancy costs. The role of ‘middle man’ has had to be played, at times, with diplomatic aplomb so as to extend support to occupiers in outlining the financial support available through CBILS and other government backed schemes along with lobbying Business Improvement Districts (BIDS). Rent concessions, service-charge mitigation and payment plans have had to be skilfully negotiated to satisfy the need of both landlord and occupier.
Despite all this and the heroic efforts by some managing agents to keep centres from looking like ghost towns and the fact that we now appear, at least, to be coming out of the woods with the clearing in sight, has there been a shift in procurement strategy in relation to contractor services with cost being the main driver over quality of service delivery? Cost will and has always been a significant driver in the procurement process for any organisation, but given the challenges experienced over the last 18 months, is this now the significant factor when it comes to procuring management services?
Iain Warburton, Business Development Manager at AEJ Management who have for a number of years specialised in providing soft service facilities management into the retail and shopping centre space, makes some interesting observations. ‘The last 12 months in particular have been quite fascinating for this sector. We have noticed clients putting greater emphasis on cost cutting measures whilst still expecting, to a large degree, the same level of quality of service delivery and reporting. A number of regional facilities managers that I have spoken to across the country over the last 12 months have all sited cost cutting requirements in their site procurement needs yet have remarked, also, that AEJ have consistently delivered on their service delivery and reporting promise to ensure quality of operational delivery, despite the constant challenges the sector has had to overcome’.
It does beg the question, has Covid been a ‘bad news Friday’ moment for the FM sector with procurement teams using this as a reason to look solely at the bottom line at the expense of quality, innovation and effective operational reporting? Iain continues, ‘We’ve certainly seen instances of clients suggesting an emphasis on quality, added value and innovation requirements at the bid stage, yet at the contract award stage seemingly motivated by the bottom line only, sometimes, at the expense of outstanding site service delivery’.
It’ll be interesting to note, post July 19th, whether there are to be further significant changes that impact on this sector but one thing is for sure, companies are going to have to be on the balls of their feet when making decisions in compiling their costings during the bid stage in an even more, ever changing marketplace than usual whilst perhaps having to second guess the client’s train of thought, when looking to win contracts.
Comments Off on AEJ Win New Grounds Maintenance Contract
AEJ are pleased to have been awarded a new grounds maintenance contract for a leading adult education college in the Midlands. The college, which offers over 150 short residential courses aimed at helping adults improve their skills, confidence and ability to work towards their own personal or professional goals, is set in 6 acres of grounds and woodland.
Iain Warburton, Business Development Manager at AEJ Management remarked, ‘This is a great win for AEJ as we continue to offer an industry leading horticultural service to our clients. Whilst traditionally strong within the retail and shopping centre space, this expands AEJ’s service remit into the education and charitable sectors which demonstrates the team’s ability to perform across multiple sectors. We’re looking forward to working with the client on a number of on site sustainability and biodiversity projects along with providing a service into a site with centuries of history’.
Should you have a landscaping requirement or indeed a soft services facilities management need then contact us 01245 396873 or email us at [email protected]
Comments Off on Are You Committed to Becoming Net Zero?
By September of this year, all those who wish to bid on government contracts above £5million per annum will have to have committed to the government’s plan of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Organisations wishing to bid on such contracts that have failed to disclose their plans will be excluded from the bidding process. This comes as part of new measures being introduced by the government requiring businesses to commit to reducing their emissions by half by 2030 and to be net zero by 2050 or sooner, before being able to bid for any government contracts.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become more than a by word across industry with firms being asked to detail how they plan to reduce carbon emissions, become more sustainable and to take all matters of biodiversity seriously and incorporate into company business plans. Ethical procurement is now an essential part of the procurement strategy nationwide for more and more businesses with the UK government looking to lead the way. Currently the government spends almost £300billion each year on procurement and therefore requiring firms who wish to bid on government contracts to detail, report and commit to the reduction of carbon emissions before being able to bid for public work, is an essential component in the bid process.
More and more firms are now having to invest in environmental management systems along with having to set out what their carbon reduction plan actually looks like. For larger firms this is nothing new, having to self-report parts of their carbon emissions (known as Scope 1 – direct and Scope 2 – indirect owned emissions).
These new rules, however, aim to go much further requiring the reporting of some Scope 3 emissions to include business travel, employee commuting, transportation and waste. The message is clear – What are your carbon reduction plans and are you committed to becoming net zero?
Comments Off on Cleaning Sector in UKs Top 10 Industries
A recent report published by The British Cleaning Council indicates that the cleaning, hygiene and waste sector is one of the top ten industries in the UK. There are almost 1.5million people working in the sector and accounting for about 5 percent of the UK’s workforce, this easily places the sector in the top ten industries for employment.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 last year, the cleaning and hygiene sector has come under scrutiny like never before. The need to provide Covid secure workspace, the mitigation of risk for key workers along with understanding the requirements of staff both office and remote based, has become a critical requirement for the industry to have to deal with. The supply of PPE has been another logistical challenge. The vital work the sector has undertaken over the last 12 months has seen the sector receive praise from top figures across business and government.
Statistics from February 2020 to February 2021 illustrate how the pandemic has impacted on industry –
The monthly GDP of services to buildings and landscape activities was 13 per cent below the February 2020 level.
Waste collection treatment and disposal activities grew at 3.4 per cent over the same time period.
Manufacture of soap and detergent, cleaning and polishing perfumes and toilet preparations grew by 1.2 per cent during that period.
The general public have also placed greater importance than usual on cleaning in public spaces as the report illustrates –
61 per cent of people who responded said that seeing cleaning and hygiene operatives in public spaces makes them feel that safety measures are being taken seriously.
45 per cent agreed that the visibility of cleaning in progress would encourage them to return to an office space, shopping centre or airport.
Paul Thrupp, Chair of The British Cleaning Council (BCC) remarked ‘Increased awareness of the importance of cleaning and hygiene means our industry will continue to play a vital role as the UK recovers from the pandemic and into the future. I believe the outlook going forward is very positive’.
AEJ Management provide contract cleaning into retail, shopping centre, business park, industrial, education and the charitable sector space. Along with general internal and external site cleaning we also provide a comprehensive range of washroom products and services, fogging, deep cleaning, gum removal and high level cleaning activity.
Comments Off on Is The Security Industry Ready to Adapt Post 21st June?
With further easing of lockdown restrictions anticipated, although not yet confirmed by the UK Government no earlier than 21st June, what impact is this going to have on the security industry? There is an anticipated lifting on current restrictions for large events and performances with the government hoping to be in a position to remove all current limits on social contact by this date. However, with the emergence of the new Delta Variant this ensures a nervy time for all in the run up to this date, with an industry sector worth over £40billion desperate to get back on its feet again after a year like no other. With most events requiring some form of professional security services, we look at what role the security industry will play in the easing of restrictions for the events and hospitality sector.
Security teams will have to be fully briefed on all entrance and exit routes of venues with risk assessments taking on a look like never before. Security guards at events such as a concert or a festival may also need an SIA licence. A door supervisor licence will be required if all of the following statements are accurate:
You provide a physical presence to guard against damage, theft, unauthorised access or disorderly behaviour
The work is in relation to licensed premises
You work when the premises are open to the public, at times when alcohol is being supplied for consumption, or regulated entertainment is being provided on the premises
Firms providing security services will have to invest in training of their staff to combat all eventualities. Reporting of incidents in real time along with the latest technology to ensure mask wearing compliance looks like being a mainstay for the remainder of the year at any such event where there are large gatherings.
At AEJ Management, we are an SIA licenced organisation for the provision of security guards and have experience of event marshalling and event security. We utilise industry leading and innovative software solutions to report our activities in real time to our clients. Should you require security guards over the summer months and into the autumn/ winter at venues across the country, contact us for further information and advice.
Biodiversity is a term used to describe the enormous variety of life on earth and can refer to all of the species in a particular region or ecosystem. Biodiversity essentially refers to every living thing, to include plants, animals, humans etc.
At AEJ Management, we are always looking to incorporate biodiversity projects into the commercial real estate projects that we are asked to manage. This can not only add social and community value but also reduce any such biodiversity loss in the process. Below are some examples of how we have developed such biodiverse projects on client sites –
1) Build A Bug House
We’ve built bug houses or bug hotels on many a client site which can be located anywhere around the service yard or landscaped areas. These are easy to create and can be built from natural or waste materials, often donated by tenants on site from discarded pallets, bricks, wood etc. Materials that would otherwise have been discarded are then recycled to provide shelter for wildlife which increases biodiversity across the site and also reduces waste costs. This is a great initiative for local school children, and the local community in general, to be able to get involved at the site and become more aware about bugs and the environment in general.
Perhaps more relevant for a larger site, particularly a business park, but wood that has been cut down or which has been left to decay can be re-used to build a small woodland or treehouse which in turn can provide sustenance for birds to feed on insects contained within the wood itself.
3) Reduction of electricity usage
This is not only something that is relevant on client sites but also within office locations for businesses. Undertaking an audit of electricity consumption can identify areas where lighting can be rationalised to minimise the impact on the environment.
4) Build an Allotment
Allotments are great for community groups to get involved in ‘grow your own’ projects and also for occupiers to use. Think of using space in the corners of vacant retail/ business parks or roof space at offices. Another great and cost-effective initiative on reducing your carbon footprint!
Another initiative to increase biodiversity whilst providing important community links. Beehives can be set up in woodland areas and also roof locations. ‘Bee’-careful however as a risk assessment will need to be carried out before beginning such a project, but well worth the effort with all that potential honey that can be gathered up!
These are just some initiatives that can be developed quickly and easily across client and business sites along with being great, not only for biodiversity, but also for strengthening local community links in the process.
This week, on Wednesday May 12th, saw the world of FM unite for World FM Day. This year’s World FM Day theme was announced as ‘Celebrating FM: Standing Tall Beyond The Pandemic’ and exists to acknowledge the contribution made by facilities and workplace management.
Cleaning and hygiene across the built environment have been under scrutiny like never before since the outbreak of the pandemic. Here at AEJ Management, we have been no different with the need to provide Covid secure workspace along with mitigating the risk of key workers unable to work from home, as a critical requirement for our staff both office and site based. Issues such as these have resulted in critical conversations from FM leaders of business and industry over the last 12 months across the country. Along with developing Covid secure environments, the supply of PPE particularly to remote workers, has been another logistical challenge that has had to be overcome.
Learning about new technologies that are available along with implementing cost effective solutions across industry sectors has ensured the facilities manager’s job role has never been so reactive before with even more plates to have to spin than usual. Flexibility is another key requirement that a provider has had to demonstrate to a client given the nature of the service demands. Resilience has become a by product of the need to change and adapt.
Throughout the last 12 months, the facilities management sector has never played a more important role in ensuring infrastructure and services continue at the rate to be expected.
IWFM’s CEO Linda Hausmanis, CEO of the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management remarked, ‘The past year has seen our profession thrust into the spotlight like never before. From enabling the mass transition to homeworking to ensuring healthcare professionals can work in clean, safe environments, maintaining and securing buildings though empty of people, and more, workplace and facilities practitioners worldwide have played a key role in the response to this global crisis.’
We’d like to thank all our maintenance and site-based operatives for their efforts and salute all those involved in the industry for their efforts across a 12 month period like no other. All working in this sector should be proud of our efforts and achievements and we at AEJ Management are no different in sharing and acknowledging those sentiments.
Comments Off on The Pros and Cons of Working From Home
Following from the article asking the question, ‘Is The Office Now Unnecesary?’, a poll undertaken on our Linkedin page showed that 67% of you would prefer to work from home rather than a return to the office. It remains to be seen when and if we will return to the office full time again, as COVID restrictions may dictate that many of us will have to work from home for some, if not all, of the working week.
Recent research by Ezra has shown a number of positives in the home working approach with 44% of people surveyed experiencing greater productivity in the home environment and just 15% of those surveyed saying they get less done working remotely. Over 50% of those surveyed remarked they would be more likely to work additional hours with the home office setup.
Despite the positivity demonstrated from those surveyed about working from home, around 20% felt that recognition, even when putting in the extra hours, was no longer noticed. One thing is for sure and that is the office vs home work debate will continue to rumble on with changes in attitudes towards either environment being influenced by, as yet, unforeseen circumstances and events.
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