Sustainable Development Goal 11

Make cities and human environments inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

The importance of an inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable world as set out in Sustainable Development Goal 11 directly touches on the sustainability theme that traditionally is a continuous item on Facilicom Group’s strategic agenda. Our commitment to an inspiring living environment will only truly be realised when the interests of people, environment and society receive cohesive attention. In 2018, our CO2 ambition provided us with plenty of opportunity regarding reduction of power consumption, smart technology, the circular economy and dialogue.

1. CO2 ambitions at a faster pace

Facilicom Group's ambition is CO2 neutrality by 2030. This is 20 years sooner than agreed upon in the Paris Climate Agreement. We are therefore taking many steps to improve the environmental performance of our own activities. Additionally, we can support our clients achieving their climate objectives, among others concerning energy savings and CO2 reduction.

We apply the trias energetica to achieve our ambitious goal. This means that in the first place, we save energy as much as possible. In the second place, we use green power - energy from renewable sources. We use energy derived from fossil fuels only as a last resort.

We intend to buy 100% renewable electric power and heat, and generate clean energy on a large scale internally. For this purpose, we provide wind turbines, solar farms, heat recovery stations, heat/cold storage and battery storage. In 2018, we successfully submitted a subsidy application to place solar panels on Facilicom Solutions’ building at Geyssendorfferweg in Rotterdam. With these solar panels we will generate 95,000 kWh annually.

To reduce the energy consumption, we are implementing various measures in our buildings and our fleet.
Among others, we test the use of ionisation to purify the indoor climate in our office buildings. Meanwhile, 99% of Facilicom Group’s fleet of 1,718 vehicles has an A or B energy label. Electric vehicles are getting more popular. Since last year, the employees of Gom Specialistische Reiniging in Amsterdam are driving electric vans. Trigion introduced an electric service van at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, where we are creating a safe work environment. Additionally, we significantly expanded the options for using electric transport for our employees.

2. Smart use of smart tech

Based on various pilots and experiments, Facilicom Group is exploring the opportunity to optimise our own operations and our service provision to clients using smart technology. This enables us to make projects, buildings and public spaces safer, more resilient and more sustainable.

Facilicom Solutions is developing a CO2 Performance Ladder to monitor and support progress of all initiatives. Facilicom UK is already climate neutral and as the front runner, shares its experience with the other divisions.

Virtual reality

Virtual Reality technology can make work processes more efficient, minimising energy consumption. This is why we are actively looking for smart applications. Last year, for example, Gom introduced virtual reality tours to prepare potential cleaners for their work in a hotel, hospital or museum. Facilicom Solutions conducted pilots with Augmented Reality to provide remote support to installation engineers, allowing them to work better and faster.

Sensoring and robotisation

Using sensor technology in buildings gives us new information to, for example, provide services more efficiently and with lower energy consumption. Optim-eyes, a measuring system for cleaning and the clean experience launched by Gom last year, is a great example. Pilots with data-driven cleaning, among others in Rotterdam and at our head office in Schiedam, are set to deliver new insights regarding services making cleaning more efficient and optimising the clean experience.

Simultaneously, we are performing tests with systems for monitoring, forecasting and reducing energy consumption, both in our own offices and on client sites. We are also reviewing the options of better use of data flows. A pilot is currently ongoing to explore if data derived from motion detectors and lighting could provide useful insights into efficiencies for security and cleaning, for example. Such initiatives enable us to work towards smart buildings that are future-ready in terms of the energy transition and respond to adopting a climate-neutral and smarter built environment in a timely manner. The Building Decree sets out that all offices over 100 sqm must have at least energy label C by 1 January 2023. We estimate that about half of the offices do not currently comply with this requirement, which means that technical solutions are needed to realise the objectives. Facilicom Group’s innovative, integral solutions can play a key role in this aspect.

Robotisation is another high-opportunity development. Cleaning robots can support employees with vacuuming and floor scrubbing. Pilots are conducted with robots disinfecting spaces using UVC rays. Recent pilots with care robots also provided positive results. Nano-coatings on kitchen equipment offers options for future improvement of hygiene in the hospitality and care sectors. At our Rotterdam site, our robot Bernadette is already a full member of the reception team.

More smart technology: the new cleaning machines that were put to use last year, saving Gom 13.1 million litres of water.
These innovative machines also reduce the use of chemical cleaning agents.

We expect having more such smart combinations in the future. Of course, people are just as important as the technology in these efforts. Cleaning staff can play a key role in applying energy-saving measures in buildings, such as switching off devices, heating and lights. Furthermore, with our partners and stakeholders, we are discussing the option of compliance with the energy label C requirement before the year 2023.

3. Moving the circular economy forward

Facilicom Group is aware of the opportunities and challenges of circular operations. We have seen an economy developing that fully reuses raw materials, an environment where waste no longer exists. This is an incentive for our organisation to apply circular principles in our own operations.
We encourage our suppliers and partners in circularity and support our clients to give circularity an integral place in their operations.

The Green House

In 2018, the circular catering pavilion The Green House was opened in Utrecht. This initiative of Strukton, Ballast Nedam and Albron comprises a restaurant with its own urban farm, and a conference centre. The circular principles were applied in all phases, from the design of the building to creating the menu. The parties work with circular business models to ensure that the project has a conclusive business case for fifteen years. The Green House applies innovations regarding which we actively share knowledge. This enables successful concepts to be used in other places too, spreading the circular economy concepts.

Circular economy initiatives

Various divisions are implementing initiatives to make our business operations and services more circular. As part of our commitment to ensuring all buildings of Facilicom Group become sustainable, a circular design is implemented on the site of Facilicom Solutions at Geyssendorfferweg in Rotterdam. In 2018, Facilicom Solutions prepared a development path to this end, specifying the stakeholders required to realise the objectives. We also pay attention to the opportunities of implementing a circular facility management concept and measuring the impact of circular activities.

Attention for circularity is also growing within the divisions. For example, since 2018, Gom’s cleaning carts contain only second life plastics and the share of cradle to cradle toilet paper at client sites is increased to 10%. Simultaneously, the application of circular cleaning agents has significantly increased.

Circular procurement

Circularity is also a theme in the Sustainable Procurement Code of Facilicom Group. The code is based on the principles of the United Nations’ Global Compact and sets out the agreements we prefer to make with suppliers.
The agreements also help Facilicom Group to enhance its circular procurement, encouraging the application of circular work methods at our suppliers.

4. Innovating by sharing

Technological innovations and circular business models can make a key contribution to the inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities of the future. These challenges also imply that organisations should be innovative and agile. Facilicom Group wants to be a front runner in current social developments. This is why we continuously find ways to improve the organisation. We actively share our expertise and experiences, both internally and with external parties, enabling us to make an even bigger difference.

Test beds

Innovation is an agenda item in all divisions of Facilicom Group. Our own organisation frequently serves as the test bed. For example, we develop new solutions for our own operations, gaining knowledge to improve our services to our clients. We made progress in improving our waste management, for example, because we internally work towards zero waste. The practical experiences gained resulted in a new proposition last year: Gom’s Waste Scan.

Sharing knowledge

Our expertise and experiences regarding sustainability, energy savings and CO2 reduction are shared with our employees, clients and other stakeholders. Recently, Facilicom Group’s first Hackathon was convened: 60 colleagues sat down together to come to innovative solutions, for example regarding smart buildings. We best ideas resulting from the Hackathon will be worked out in more detail. Sustainable innovation is not something you can achieve in one day. It is a structural part of our to-do list.