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02 May 2024

Q&A with Simon Joe Portal, Head of Sustainability, Drees & Sommer

Q&A with Simon Joe Portal, Head of Sustainability, Drees & Sommer

Why is it important that the UK’s property, planning and sustainability sectors come together at FOOTPRINT+? 

It is no secret there is increasing pressure on those working within the built environment to create spaces that reduce energy consumption, are environmentally and socially sustainable, and climate resilient. Spaces that not only meet the present day’s requirements, but also the evolving demands of the future. As the work to tackle the climate crisis continues, the sector must consider many different approaches to developing, refurbishing and retrofitting. The only way to do this is for the sector to work together- sharing new ideas, best practice and experiences.   

What did you hear about / experience at our last year’s event which has made you want to come back? 

We really enjoyed our time at the event last year, speaking with consultants, developers, the public sector and other industry professionals that are working to advance their organisations sustainability approach, ensuring net zero carbon, ESG and circular thinking are at the heart of their future goals.  

It was also great to hear first-hand the challenges being experienced across the sector and how these can be reframed into learning opportunities. There was a clear call for collaboration and knowledge sharing so organisations and ultimately people can gain skills and insights they may not have had previously.   

When you attend FOOTPRINT+ in May 2024 what will you be sharing with conference delegates, policy makers, your partners, and your industry peers?  

2024 is an exciting year for Drees & Sommer UK. Our new combined strength with our colleagues from AA Projects means we now have over 230 multi-disciplinary experts based in the UK, adding to our over 5,000 strong team of experts globally. We have experts in public sector decarbonisation, net zero strategy and implementation, ESG, Circular Engineering, Cradle to Cradle and more.  

As an organisation at the forefront of the Cradle to Cradle concept, we have also joined Madaster UK as their first Pioneer. We will continue to educate and empower organisations about how choosing a circularity focused approach to the design and procurement of spaces benefits everyone. Embedding circularity into projects in this way leads to better health outcomes, greater flexibility for long term use, and greater value stability.  

With the demand for ESG constantly rising, we will also share some examples of where we have successfully supported clients with ESG strategy, reporting and implementation. One size does not fit all when it comes to ESG integration, and we will lift the lid on how to use ESG as the underpinning tool for all strategic decisions, making future-proof real estate easy.  

What are you looking to get out of the FOOTPRINT+ event? 

The landscape of decarbonisation is constantly evolving, the nature of the task at hand means innovations are constant. We are looking forward to learning about what has been done in the last 12 months, what challenges we continue to face as well as have conversations with numerous like minded individuals, all looking to push the sector forward, with one common goal.