Bringing your landlord on your journey

Module four

As most businesses don’t own the buildings which house them, the relationship you have with your landlord or building management team plays a key part in your reduction and goal setting plans.

Good landlords are already making changes to their buildings’ suppliers and improving green credentials, which has a positive contribution to their tenant’s net zero goals.

Here are some tips and examples from building management teams who are working in partnership with their tenants in the journey to zero.

  • Co-ordinate net zero working groups between businesses in your buildings and workspaces – it supports collective working towards sustainability issues. Encourage a representative from each business in the building to join, and arrange regular meetings to develop a collective strategy.
  • Run awareness events within the buildings looking at specific issues, as well as events elsewhere in the network for the net zero teams from different businesses. It helps to build relationships and share best practice.
  • If your landlord provides energy for you as a tenant, there should be good practice on energy contracts. Examples are using green energy suppliers, installing energy saving lighting and devices, tracking usage and openly sharing data.
  • Establish strong relationships with, and good practice from, waste management suppliers via landlords. Ask them to report back the quantities of different recycling and general waste and provide a monthly report that can be reviewed per business and across a net zero working group. This could show the trend for things like recycling across the workspace, and include benchmarks from other sites in the landlord’s portfolio.
  • Landlords who manage multiple buildings are often able to coordinate suppliers for all their tenants. If you work in a building with multiple businesses, you could share procurement for everything from pest control to cleaning services.
  • Ask your landlord to implement green travel initiatives across the workspace by providing bike storage, looking at electric vehicle charging ports on site and having showering facilities for those running or cycling to work.
  • Implement green leases and put a memorandum of understanding in place while working towards this. A green lease is a joint legally binding contract which shows both the landlord and tenant are working in partnership towards the improvement of the building’s environmental performance. A memorandum of understanding is a less formal agreement between a landlord and tenant outlining how a building’s environmental performance will be managed and improved by both parties.

You might need to have some basic conversations with your landlords to bring them on your net zero journey. Here are some examples of how to open the conversation and steps you can take to show your intention to be sustainable tenants.

  • Ask your landlord or management agent what their longer-term net zero plans are and how you can work with them to achieve them.
  • Ask your building management team to establish a net zero working party with representatives from the other businesses within your workspace.
  • Ask for supplier and delivery consolidation for landlord or building management owned purchases across the workspace if this isn’t already available.
  • Share some examples of good practice.
  • Ask for changes that support greener travel. Bike storage, shower facilities and electric charging points can sometimes be funded by securing grants. Your local authority is a good place to start looking.
  • Ask to understand how the building’s performance is measured and monitored and start a conversation around sharing usage numbers.
  • Find out if the building’s waste management suppliers offer any support to become more sustainable and if there are additional services offered which could be implemented.

This was last updated in September 2021 by Heart of the City. We’ve created these resources for individual SMEs to use. None of our content is to be adapted, reused or repurposed for commercial use.

Climate for SMEs: 4 Steps to Action is funded by the City of London Corporation in support of its Climate Action Strategy targets for a net zero and resilient Square Mile.