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Improving your rubbish strategy

Blog Improving your rubbish strategy hero

As the world’s attention once more returns to climate change at COP27 our head of procurement within our Property Management team David Lindsay advises on how waste strategies can make a difference to carbon emissions.

Waste used to a be a dirty word, a service that was necessary but not one that anyone really wanted to get involved with – what happened to rubbish when it left site was someone else’s issue.

Today the continued focus on sustainability and values has turned that attitude on its head. Waste services are now an integral part of any company’s ESG strategy and a valuable way to make a substantial impact on its environmental footprint. This is an approach that Colliers is fully committed to both corporately and on behalf of our clients in line with our Elevate the Built Environment strategy.

We are partnering with progressive regional providers to drive improvements in waste services, putting effective measures in place to support key ESG goals and reporting. What was once a buy and forget service is now both a source of key information and an opportunity to substantially improve any company’s green credentials.

Zero-to-landfill should be a minimum

In 2022 a zero-to-landfill service should be a given, and is standard in our property management provision, but there are many opportunities to go far beyond that. There are real chances to create genuine circular economy outcomes and ensure full transparency of each waste stream’s destination.

For example as our providers manage over 30 waste streams, there is increased scope to go beyond the familiar option of being able to buy back your own recycled paper. These range from the recycling of sweet wrappers into fabricated board to replace imported plywood; the creation of biofuel from coffee grounds; staff uniforms created from plastic bottles, and high quality paper derived from coffee cups (until recently deemed unrecyclable), to name just a few. Combined with the accelerated introduction of electric vehicles for waste collection, the potential benefits are real.

Calculating waste emissions

Improved recycling levels and focus on the circular economy also support the reduction of a business’ carbon footprint, with Scope 3 emissions* (third party emissions) being an ever-growing priority for all companies.

According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the average organisation’s upstream Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions are 11.4 times larger than its operational (Scopes 1 and 2) footprint. As property managers we are custodians of our clients’ properties and the associated supply chains. It is a major deliverable for us to ensure best service value, with optimum transparency and a leading environmental approach.

Our new waste partners will provide Scope 3 emission reports for individual sites and can support detailed reporting for individual tenants through the provision of segregated bins, use of scales and barcoding of bags. This, combined with actively engaging staff and tenants on site will contribute to improved recycling rates, greater transparency, and reduction of the Scope 3 footprint.

High transparency of waste stream destinations ensures traceability for all waste collected from each serviced site, helping to mitigate reputational risks which might otherwise arise without a full audit trail. This dovetails into the other aspects of ESG, touching on both social and governance aspects, reducing risk for the firm and its image, as well as ensuring processes are followed and viewed with a sustainable lens and importantly, in line with the business’ ESG strategy.

We will continue to work with our supply partners across all categories to drive improvements as even seemingly minor services can have a substantial impact on both ESG goals and provide tangible examples of circular economies to help inspire staff and tenants.

*Scope 3 emissions are the result of activities and assets that aren’t directly owned or controlled by the reporting organisation, this includes services and products from suppliers, management of waste, and even the ways in which people interact with the organisation e.g. commuting methods.

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About the author:
David is Colliers’ head of procurement within the Property Management team. A senior supply chain leader with global expertise in strategic sourcing and process improvement, he has been at Colliers since March 2020.

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David Lindsay

Head of Procurement

Investment Property Management


Senior supply chain leader with global expertise in strategic sourcing, process improvement, category management, supplier relationship management, continuous improvement, risk & project management.

Excellent track record in delivering sustainable increased value through whole life cost reduction, supply chain development, contract negotiation & improvement activities.

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