2023 finds FM focusing on employee well being and retention, expanding their scope 3 emissions measurement criteria in a pursuit of zero carbon and considering a more circular economy in their supply chain, all with a view to decarbonisation.

And with an ever changing landscape of sustainability-related disclosure and regulatory frameworks, senior leaders are realising the need to look at longer term risk planning – over 5 years ahead.

SFMI Annual Awards 2023 Webinar

The 2023 annual awards were held online on 28 November. As well as celebrating the achievements of our 2023 partners recognised through their assessments, we also looked at industry key trends, regulatory changes, and scope 3 emissions reporting, with an eye on our Scope 3 Research Programme.

We were joined by Fabrizio Verrale, Place and Space Analyst for RICS (Royal Chartered Surveyors Institute) who talked about the work RICS have been doing with the SFMI and how it aligns with the update of their industry led whole life carbon assessments framework.

Watch the video below:

2023 Winners

Congratulations to Churchill for winning this year’s Rising Star award.

The ultimate in employee engagement, this year saw Churchill, along with Sewell – last year’s Rising Star, move to becoming an employee-owned business. 

They have also launched their wellbeing programme called Well Me with initiatives which include being a disability confident employer, as well as support for menopause and neurodiversity in Business.

Churchill have also demonstrated embedding culture and sustainability into their contracts with clients, as well as social value initiatives with resources that help communities such as aspiration packs for school children.

And congratulations to our overall 2023 winner Skanska for the highest score

From employee development which includes mandatory sustainability training, to a board commitment to Net Zero targets which are reviewed every month, the Skanska senior management team are becoming more operational to help drive sustainability challenges.

Also by measuring social value across all FM contracts including community engagement they are helping new clients to use buildings more efficiently. The KPIs set in contracts are becoming more comprehensive and ambitious, showing the maturing process for industries.


Here are the questions answered during the webinar and Chris Havers, Director, Acclaro Advisory has also answered two of the questions we didn’t get to.

Q: Many organisations claim a Net Zero target, but only around 3,500 globally have signed up to SBTi, based on my understanding. Is this indicative of deliberate ‘greenwashing,’ or is it more a matter of a lack of understanding?

A: Chris Havers, Director, Acclaro Advisory: I don’t believe it’s deliberate greenwashing. Having recently worked in the finance industry, I’ve observed that several organizations within finance are emerging as the drivers of Net Zero. However, some are stepping back from the science-based targets (SBTi) while maintaining their Net Zero commitments. They are navigating how to realistically achieve these targets within the structure of their organizations. No one wants to face accusations of greenwashing by committing to something they can’t actually accomplish. So, certain industries are taking a cautious approach, carefully considering what they commit to and ensuring it aligns with what they can realistically achieve. It’s worth noting that there is a distinction between Net Zero targets and science-based targets, with the former allowing a bit more flexibility. The key is to strike a balance between commitment and feasibility. Sunil Shah: Building on that, I agree. There are other initiatives like Race to Zero, but this highlights the necessity for a more comprehensive taxonomy. Both investors and organizations need a clearer understanding of the distinctions between science-based targets and Net Zero targets. Furthermore, Net Zero targets may only cover scope one and two emissions rather than all three scopes. Establishing a better-defined framework helps us comprehend the scope and coverage more accurately.

Q. Sunil spoke about vision and plans for the year 2050. Many senior leaders won’t be working then. How do we start on that, and are there any tips on how that will stay on course and progress to that?

A: Brenda Sullivan, Principal Consultant, Acclaro Advisory: There are positive aspects to this initiative, engaging the youth, increasing overall awareness, and fostering a sense of involvement among a broader audience. Our optimism lies in reaching tipping points, particularly a certain percentage that Acclaro analyses within a company’s culture and the industry as a whole. Once we achieve that, we anticipate that momentum will naturally gain traction. Education and awareness are pivotal, not just for today but for the ongoing five and ten-year periods, creating a sustained impact.

Personally, I believe early engagement with decision-makers is crucial. This involves reaching out to governments, boards, senior leaders, and potential future leaders. Acclaro, along with our SFMI partners, are actively pursuing these avenues. Sunil, over to you to discuss how we can sustain this momentum. Is the current effort sufficient?

Sunil Shah, Managing Director, Acclaro Advisory: That’s a compelling question. The 2050 vision is rooted in the present, reflecting where we stand today. Detailed progress over the next five years should be integrated into the business strategy. Beyond that, we delve into the organisational culture and the roles of decision-makers. As Brenda highlighted, it’s about embedding this initiative into the fabric of the business, ensuring it transcends individual leaders like the CEO. Individual commitments can be precarious, but when it becomes an organizational approach, consistency in the journey is more assured. Regular refreshes are necessary to adapt to new opportunities and business changes, but the culture serves as a robust guiding force.

Similarly, at the country level, commitments and policies might face changes with shifting governments and leaders. However, the core ethos and vision of achieving net zero by 2050 should endure. Embedding this commitment within the organization becomes crucial, presenting the vision to investors as a long-term commitment. This not only attracts investment but also sets expectations for continued dedication, irrespective of changes in leadership. The underlying value to the organization remains, providing a stable foundation from one CEO to the next.

Q: Over the years of auditing companies, where has the most progress been made?

A: Chris Havers, Director, Acclaro Advisory: Auditing multiple companies since 2017, I have seen some exciting sustainability developments. A key noticeable difference that stands out to me is actually the intangible shifts in the culture of some businesses. This can’t be measured through a self-assessment and is witnessed in the one-to-one Q&A and discussion with teams that come from the audits. For an SFMI first-timer, a sustainability audit can be seen as a bit of a tick box and an annoyance, or extra admin. But what I have witnessed from companies that progress year on year is that their people enjoy coming to the interviews and enjoy being challenged. You get to know people each year and see them become more passionate about the great stuff that they have been doing which moves beyond the day-to-day process and have an impact of lives or the environment. When this shift starts happening, it is supported by the all-important frameworks that are put in place by the central teams which start to feed into the company strategy. Next thing you know, members of the Board are discussing sustainability KPIs and showing how sustainability is part of their strategic discussions.  

Q: Do you agree that apart from specific capital investments or operational spend led by sustainable activities there may be a much larger influence to ‘finance’ of sustainability strategies (incl governance and social activities etc) which are difficult to isolate?

A: Chris Havers, Director, Acclaro Advisory: This feels like it is related to culture as well. I agree, there is a difference between spending money and spending money based on a culture of forward planning based on understanding sustainability. This goes into understanding long term risk such as climate risk, and financial planning according to the risk. There is a culture shift needed within many finance teams to grasp long-term climate risk, and plan what to spend as a result to mitigate the risks. So yes, it is difficult to isolate in the early steps that culture transition which will lead to the systems and processes that are easier to follow.

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