Jamie Ritblat is the founder and chairman of Delancey Real Estate, an organisation that operates robust CSR strategies and provides funding for a variety of initiatives and charities, including sponsoring the National Portrait Gallery’s Children’s Hospital Programme. This article will look at corporate social responsibility or CSR and its growing importance in modern construction.
Businesses operating in all industries are coming under increasing pressure to ramp up their CSR efforts, with socially aware consumers making more conscious decisions in terms of the products they buy and the businesses they choose to work with and support. A new breed of discerning shopper is making beelines for brands that align with their values, investing their spending power in enterprises that strive to have a positive impact on people’s lives.
Customers, investors and employees all seek to back businesses that prioritise the wellbeing of their workforces, as well as people in the wider community that may be affected by their operations.
In the realms of modern construction, CSR is also on the rise, with businesses operating in the industry facing mounting pressure to implement robust CSR strategies. Construction is a huge industry that can have a substantial impact not just on workers but entire communities, placing added impetus on construction firms to adopt a positive and proactive attitude to CSR.
CSR is all about minimising the negative effects of a business, not just on workers and customers but on anyone who may be affected by it, including members of the public and local communities. CSR policies should also seek to increase the positive impact of the business, for example by boosting biodiversity; reducing fossil fuel consumption; reducing the risk of human rights abuses in the business’s supply chain; and increasing the organisation’s social impact through workplace equal opportunity practices or by contributing to worthy causes in the local community.
Social responsibility is particularly important in construction due to the huge impact of the industry on society. The way that buildings are designed and developed shapes people’s working and personal lives every day. When carried out in a socially responsible way, construction can bestow many benefits on stakeholders and local communities alike, providing functional and aesthetically pleasing designs that make life easier and more enjoyable.
Good design is intrinsically linked to human health and wellbeing. For example, research from CABE reveals that a hospital’s design can significantly influence patient recovery times. In addition, a well-designed neighbourhood or facility can help to prevent crime, with a study of 27 housing estates in West Yorkshire revealing that crime rates dropped by around 60% following a redesign.
The construction industry makes a vital contribution to economies, providing people with jobs and income. With the industry and wider supply chain contributing approximately 10% of GDP, it is crucial for businesses within the sector to operate in a socially responsible way.
Delancey Real Estate’s CSR Initiatives
Delancey Real Estate is a real estate development and asset management company that operates with an emphasis on delivering places of social, environmental and economic value. The company is committed to sustainability, integrating strident social and environmental initiatives into its business strategy throughout all of its planning, development and asset management activities.
Delancey Real Estate operates a Responsible Investment Strategy that monitors and measures relevant impacts for client assets, including consideration of their social impacts, enabling the company’s departments to strive to make a positive contribution to occupiers as well as the wider community and creating vibrant commercial and residential neighbourhoods.
Delancey manages public spaces, ensuring that they are safe and maintained in a way that provides opportunities for residents to meet and interact with each other, in doing so helping to instil a sense of community spirit and creating frameworks for dialogue and interaction that encourage neighbourly communities. The company also strives to ensure integration into wider communities by creating buildings and public spaces that blend with their surroundings, as well as using corner sites to create landmark buildings.
Throughout construction projects, Delancey uses temporary landscaping and facilities to ensure a welcoming environment for stakeholders and local people at all stages of the project. The real estate development company also places a strong emphasis on designing interior spaces that are functional, flexible and fit for purpose from the perspective of building occupants.
Delancey Real Estate is constantly on the lookout for new ways to contribute to communities. The company has been proud to partner with numerous charities, supporting worthy causes with a particular focus on art and culture. Organisations supported by Delancey include Row for Amy, Dad’s House, SnowCamp, The Globe, The Anne Frank Trust UK, YMCA Retirement Fund, Horacio’s Garden, Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice, UK Chess Challenge, Coram, The Prince’s Trust, Cancer Research UK and Maggie’s.