Summertown Interiors, the UAE’s leading sustainable fit-out contractor, has recorded positive environmental, economic, and social results in its 2021 Sustainability Report, putting it on track to achieve its ambitious JOURNEY2030 sustainability goals.
The company’s sixth annual sustainability report, which covers the financial year ended 31 March 2021, is a testament to Summertown’s long-standing commitment to building a sustainable future. The report details Summertown’s impact and performance against eight material issues that matter most to its stakeholders: economic performance, environmental impact, people, health, safety and environment; responsible procurement, community, technology, transparency and anti-corruption.
Despite this year’s challenges, the Covid-19 pandemic thrust upon the world, Summertown Interiors successfully met all its sustainability targets with the exception of office water usage, which was due to increased hand-washing and extra hygiene measures taken to protect staff. During the pandemic, Summertown streamlined its operations, identified new and more efficient ways of working, enhanced its technology infrastructure and focused on the health and wellbeing of its people.
Summertown acted swiftly to implement additional health and safety measures across both office and project sites, in accordance with local Covid-19 guidelines. It also continued to uphold its exceptional health and safety record with zero or serious or major injuries in the past 12 months. The company rapidly implemented a hybrid working model and also helped clients to adapt, refine and upgrade their workplaces to efficiently transition to a new normal.
Summertown’s sustainability strategy is underpinned by its JOURNEY2030 goals, which are to deliver 100% of projects that meet external sustainability accreditations, ensure zero waste to landfill and improve workplace happiness and wellbeing. This year, the company achieved positive environmental changes including a 5.5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and diverted 19 tonnes of project waste by recycling, reusing and ensuring the use of sustainably sourced materials. Furthermore, 48% of materials used in client projects came from sustainable sources, while that figure reached 87% for Summertown’s own office upgrade.
The company successfully completed three Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED, accredited projects, further demonstrating its commitment to achieving 100% of all projects satisfying externally accredited sustainability standards by 2030. To encourage more businesses to adopt green, efficient, and healthier sustainable interiors, Summertown offers free LEED certified level certification for clients with spaces over 2,000sqm.
The fit-out contractor’s own office waste continued to decrease, with 27% less total waste going to landfill versus last year. Despite diverting 19 tonnes of project site waste from landfill this year, Summertown recognises that waste from the construction and fit-out sectors needs to be urgently addressed and has set an aggressive short-term target of 30% to be diverted from landfill by 2023.
Another key pillar in the company’s sustainability strategy is the improvement of workplace happiness and wellbeing. This year, 57% of its people reached the milestone of 10 years of service and 30% for 5 years. While employees had to adapt to working from home for some of the years, Summertown took steps to ensure positive staff morale by introducing initiatives including a series of online mental sessions, and additional communication in response to the impacts of Covid-19. As a result, 90% of staff rated the company 9 out of 10 for its transparent communication throughout the year.
Summertown’s 2021 economic performance was negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. While annual turnover for 2020-21 saw a 22% decrease compared to the previous financial year, it remained 3% above the 5-year average.
In line with Dubai’s 2040 Urban Master Plan to enhance happiness among residents, Summertown developed new training and education programmes commencing with Personal Develop Plan training, with further training to be rolled out together with its Health and Wellbeing programme in the coming year when possible. Summertown is also committed to giving back to the community with an Employee Volunteering Scheme, while Covid-19 restrictions prevented volunteering activities to take place this year, Summertown supported local communities through sharing of knowledge online.
Marcos Bish, Managing Director of Summertown Interiors said, “We are passionate about achieving our JOURNEY2030 goals and we are confident in the progress we’ve made despite navigating a tumultuous year. Looking ahead, the main challenge for us will be to overcome the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our focus will be on enhancing our employee wellness programme to become the best place to work in the UAE, and to increase the number of sustainable projects we deliver to do our part in helping Dubai achieve green city status. We are proud of our ability to deliver sustainable building solutions for clients, and of our people who make it happen.”
Summertown Interior’s sustainability strategy is aligned to the global United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and regional sustainable ambitions including the UAE Green Agenda 2030 and the National Programme for Happiness and Positivity.