Corporate responsibility

Great Portland Estates recognises that managing and balancing environmental, social and economic issues is key to ensuring the long-term sustainability of its business and is integral to the Group’s operating approach. During the course of the year ended 31 March 2010 the Group has:
  • been actively involved on numerous committees within organisations serving to promote and develop the property industry;
  • ensured employees had a clear understanding of the Group’s Sustainability Framework and how the Group’s corporate responsibility and sustainability objectives and targets should be incorporated into individual’s personal objectives;
  • fully achieved 24 out of 40 of its corporate responsibility and sustainability targets;
  • continued its focus on improving the energy efficiency of its buildings; and
  • consciously invested in the areas surrounding the Group’s portfolio to maximise appeal to current and prospective tenants.

Board oversight

The Board has responsibility for the approval of policy relating to social, environmental and health and safety matters and is determined to apply high standards to social, environmental and ethical issues in all areas in which the Group operates including the management of the joint venture operations on behalf of the joint venture partners. The Group’s alignment of corporate responsibility risks with its Corporate Responsibility Value Statement, strategy, and objectives and targets together with the Group’s Health & Safety and Environmental policies are approved by the Board on an annual basis. In addition, the Board receives annual reports on the environment, health and safety and corporate responsibility and regular reports during the course of the year from Toby Courtauld and Timon Drakesmith on health and safety and environmental matters, where appropriate.

Property industry representation

Directors and senior management are encouraged to represent the Group’s views and contribute to the development of the property industry.

Toby Courtauld is a member of the Management Board of the Investment Property Forum and Junior Vice President and member of the Policy Committee of the British Property Federation (“BPF”) and will become President of the BPF in 2011. Timon Drakesmith is also a member of the Finance Committee with the Group’s Head of Financial Reporting and Analysis and Insurance Manager serving on the BPF’s Technical Accounting Group and Insurance Committee respectively. During the course of the year the BPF addressed a range of issues affecting the property industry including construction, sustainability, finance, regeneration, development, commercial and insurance matters. In December 2009, Toby Courtauld became a member The New West End Company Strategic Board.

Neil Thompson serves on the Operations Committee of the Westminster Property Association (“WPA”) an association of property owners and their advisers in the City of Westminster which actively lobbies Westminster City Council and the London Mayor’s office on a full range of planning related topics aimed at improving development within the West End. Neil Thompson is also a member of the management Board of the British Council of Offices involved in the research, development and communication of best practice in all aspects of the office sector, and a member of the Design Review panel of the Commission for the Built Environment (“CABE”), a government agency which aims to improve design standards on development throughout the United Kingdom.