HAB is proud to call itself a triple bottom line company: we hold a triangle of values with equal weight, but if one is tugged too hard, the whole structure can be compromised.
As with any business, money and profits have to be one corner of that triangle. The other two are a commitment to measurable social and environmental benefits in all of our developments.
HAB Founder, Kevin McCloud, shared his thoughts on HAB’s triple bottom line, and the different ways we can measure our successes based on that triangle of objectives.
“[As a society] we put pound (£) signs against everything, and suddenly it takes on a magical value. But it’s harder to measure whether or not your community is flourishing, or whether or not you’re having an environmentally positive or negative effect in terms of emissions, or how many red squirrels there are in your area. And indeed, the impact you make that you believe to be positive in one place, may have a negative effect somewhere else. So it’s a hard balancing act to get right.”
But by practising that balancing act, we aim to develop a strong measurement of our three core values to help us quantify our successes - and failures. One way we do this is by focusing on carbon-positive schemes, rather than just carbon neutral, so we can estimate the value of carbon saved on a development.
We can also measure value using the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) algorithm for social sustainability, and its impact on social infrastructures. Kevin explains:
“HAB’s first ever scheme in Swindon was a study for CABE, and we found that for every pound (£) we spent on public realm design - trees, play space, allotments, polytunnel, communal car parking, the bike club... - there was a saving of £10 in impact. We measure this in terms of the relief on the educational, social, health, and social services infrastructures.”
As part of HAB’s social sustainability goals, we have signed up to the NHS call for the design and building of healthy places, where the use of public realm design such as microclimates, biodiversity, social sustainability, the planting of trees, and the resilience of the place can all contribute to preventive healthcare.
We have also been used as a case study by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust for its new ‘Building with Nature’ benchmark, which measures the positive impact of a scheme based on a set of guidelines based around green infrastructures.
We are always keen to join new initiatives which test our methods and help us further justify our efforts as a triple bottom line developer. If you want to know more about HAB’s mission as a sustainable developer, you can read our blog on why sustainability matters.
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