Mayor hails London’s green firms at Business Energy Challenge awards

20 November 2014


• 59 businesses sign up to the inaugural Business Energy Challenge reducing energy across 1000 locations including shops, restaurants, banks and office premises 

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has hailed London businesses that have committed to slashing their energy costs and contribute to London’s energy efficiency targets by signing up to his Business Energy Challenge.

The Business Energy Challenge awards, presented at an City Hall ceremony last night (19 November), celebrate private sector businesses that have made the biggest cuts to their energy consumption and use cleaner, greener sources of energy.

59 participants in the challenge submitted energy usage data over a six week period and were assessed on the carbon intensity per square metre of their properties.

27 of the most successful energy cutters were given a Bronze, Silver or Gold award to recognise their efforts when compared against their baseline 2010/11 energy usage.

Some of London’s leading businesses across 1000 London locations (including shops, restaurants, banks and office premises) signed up to the challenge including Boots, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Marks and Spencer, BT, Lidl, Workspace Group, McDonalds, Asda and Aviva.

The energy data collected will be used anonymously by University College London to inform energy performance benchmarks for wider use across the private sector.

Around 75 per cent of London’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions come from buildings, with work places accounting for 42 per cent of total emissions in the city. With 80 per cent of London's buildings likely still to be operational in 50 years' time and with much of that estate being energy inefficient the Mayor has set out an ambitious building retrofit programme.

The Business Energy Challenge aims to challenge the commercial sector to take action and improve its energy efficiency, thereby saving operational costs, to help meet the Mayor’s target in carbon emissions reduction.

Gold award winners were EC Harris LLP, ExCeL London, Intu, JLL, Linklaters LLP, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Top award winning energy efficiency ideas included Intu’s new gas controls to ensure optimum use, ExCeL’s improved management of heating systems which reduced the hours that the boiler and CHP plant was running, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ building refurbishment including a new roof and insulation.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “It is fantastic to see so many London businesses stepping up to my energy-busting challenge. The wide range of pioneering methods deployed to cut energy usage has been highly commendable and demonstrates what can be achieved by businesses of all types. Becoming energy efficient makes good business sense by cutting costs as well as helping the city to meet its targets to become a leaner, less energy-wasteful city and I urge more businesses to rise to the Business Energy Challenge.”

Leading retailer Marks and Spencer were one of the first businesses to sign up to the challenge and form part of the Business Energy Challenge steering group.

The company has already realised savings of £465m since their sustainability programme was launched in 2007, including £145m over the past year.

Marc Bolland, Marks and Spencer CEO, said: “The ‘Business Energy Challenge’ is a great way of encouraging collective action amongst London businesses to reduce their carbon emissions so that we can all achieve a sustainable future together in the capital. We are proud to have signed up all our 93 London stores. We have reduced energy usage in our UK stores by 34 per cent since 2007 and our target is to have reduced energy use by 50 per cent by 2020."

The Royal Bank of Scotland, also part of the steering group, is advising on how to develop the Business Energy Challenge. Chris Sullivan, RBS Deputy Group Chief Executive, said: “It's been great to be involved in this programme from the start, together with City Hall, RBS is committed to seeing innovative ways to cut carbon emissions across London. We have signed up all 47 of our locations and reduced our energy use by improving the controls in our buildings and engaging our facilities staff. We're also looking towards the future with the RBS Innovation Gateway”

The Business Energy Challenge was developed with assistance from the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, drawing upon the experiences of other innovative cities around the world.

Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40, said: “Cities working with businesses is a critical part of achieving carbon goals, and we look forward to other C40 cities benefiting from London’s expertise.” 

Notes to editors

1. Silver award winners were Accenture, British Land, CMS Cameron McKenna LLP, Deutsche Bank, EDF Energy, PwC, Reed Elsevier, Slaughter and May, and Southside Shopping Centre c/o Metro Shopping Fund LP.

2. Bronze award winners were Allen & Overy LLP, Arup, Asda, Boots UK, Deloitte LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, Hebert Smith Freehills LLP, King & Wood Mallesons LLP, Marks & Spencer, RBS, Savills (UK) Ltd., and Time Inc. (UK) Ltd.

3. For more information visit

4. City Hall, along with other public sector buildings, have committed to using RE:FIT, the Mayor’s retrofit scheme for public buildings. Over 120 public sector organisations have committed to using RE:FIT, including 28 of the 33 London Boroughs, 22 NHS Organisations and other organisations such as central government, museums and education organisations. The RE:FIT programme has so far retrofitted 260 of London’s public sector buildings, generating an estimated CO2 saving of 29,000 tonnes per annum from a £37million investment, saving over £4 million per year for the tax payer. The GLA is aiming to retrofit 600 buildings and generate CO2 savings of 45,000 tonnes by 2015. There is a pipeline of 300 buildings that will be retrofitted in the next three years. RE:FIT and RE:NEW, which has helped over 400,000 homes install energy efficiency measures and deliver savings of up to £180 per household since 2008, are driving the biggest retrofit programme ever.

5. The Mayor's office are working with cities globally to engage international businesses to cut their carbon emissions through the C40. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) is a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally that will help address climate change globally. C40 was established in 2005 and expanded via a partnership in 2006 with President William J. Clinton’s Climate Initiative. The current chair of the C40 is Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes; the 108th Mayor of New York City Michael R.Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. London has a seat on the Board.

6. Photos of the event are available on request from the Mayor’s Press Office.

7. The full list of businesses signed up is: Aberdeen Asset Management Accenture AECOM Allen Overy LLP Arcola Arup Asda Aviva Investors Aviva Plc Bloomberg LP Boots UK British Land British Telecom Broadgate Estates Canary Wharf Group plc Carillion Breathe CMS Cameron McKenna LLP Deloitte LLP Deutsche Bank DLA Piper EC Harris LLP EDF Energy Ernst & Young LLP ExCeL London Grosvenor Britain & Ireland Heathrow Airports Ltd Herbert Smith Freehills LLP Hilton Worldwide HSBC intu JLL King & Wood Mallesons LLP Land Securities Lend Lease Levitt Bernstein Lidl UK GmbH Linklaters LLP M&G Real Estate Marks & Spencer McDonalds Restaurants Ltd News UK Pearson plc PwC RBS Reed Elsevier Savills (UK) Ltd Slaughter and May Southside Shopping Centre c/o Metro Shopping Fund LP Tammam The Berkeley Group The Langham, London The Royal Institution Of Chartered Surveyors Thornton Tomasetti Time Inc. (UK) Ltd UK Power Networks Wembley National Stadium Limited Whitbread Premier Inn Workspace Group