Countryside unveils 25 targets as part of its new sustainability approach

Sustainability approach
  • Countryside pledges to deliver over 10,000 affordable homes across the country
  • 50% of all homes built by Countryside by 2025 will use modern methods of construction
  • Countryside commits to generating 30% in social value across its developments every year
  • 10,000 homes with accessible points for electric car charging to be delivered by 2025
  • 250,000 trees to be planted by 2025

Countryside, the UK’s leading mixed-tenure developer specialising in placemaking, has unveiled its ambitious approach to sustainability, setting 25 key targets*. The approach focuses on three key areas: its operations and the homes it builds, the communities it creates, and its people.

Within the approach, Countryside has pledged to deliver over 10,000 affordable homes across the country, ensuring it delivers high-quality homes for everybody and serving the needs of local communities.

A key priority for the business is the acceleration of modern methods of construction – also a priority for both the government and Homes England. The business has already invested around £30m in its modular panel capabilities with its second factory due to open in the summer. Through this investment, Countryside will be able to play its part in reducing the housing shortage by delivering c5,000 modular homes per year. This is in addition to the Group’s existing open panel timber frame factory, which has capacity to deliver a further c.1,000 homes per year. The factories will also help Countryside to significantly reduce the construction waste it produces, as well as the embodied carbon in the homes as they are built. A carbon lifecycle assessment of its modular panel homes showed a 25% reduction of embodied carbon in the building materials in comparison to its traditional brick and block construction. This 25% is equivalent to the amount of carbon sequestered by approximately 16 acres of forest in one year.

The business will be setting science-based carbon targets this summer and is also testing its own technical solutions through pilot schemes to build net zero carbon ready homes by 2025. 

The mixed-tenure developer’s mission to create sustainable communities is unwavering. From its support of tenure-blind developments to a new commitment to generate 30% in social value through its operations every year.  Social value is an important and useful way to measure the positive social and environmental impact created by our work, putting it into financial terms.  To achieve this 30% commitment, Countryside will continue to work closely with local stakeholders and partners to ensure that developments offer amenities and community initiatives that really respond to local needs and create the right impacts. 

Additionally, Countryside is committed to creating places that help nature and people to thrive. During the pandemic, it has become clear that access to nature and the benefits that wild places have to our wellbeing is a priority for us all. With biodiversity under significant threat across the UK, the business is putting in place a biodiversity strategy that will help address the decline, while also creating green and open spaces for people to enjoy. With processes in place to implement ecological assessments, biodiversity action and landscape management plans, Countryside has set a target to achieve at least 10% net biodiversity gain across its new developments by 2025, as well as committing to plant 250,000 new trees in the same timeframe.

Countryside’s focus on its own workforce has never been higher on the agenda. The business is creating a bespoke training programme to empower each employee with the skills and expertise they need to deliver this approach. It has also become a partner of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, offering free e-learning and training in construction-specific environmental and social issues to supply chain partners to further help meet the increasingly challenging issues around sustainability. It expects 85% of its supply chain to be signed up to Supply Chain Sustainability School by 2025.

Iain McPherson, Group Chief Executive, Countryside, said: “I am proud to announce the launch of our vision and approach to sustainability, which aims to tackle some big challenges ahead, like the shortage of affordable homes, becoming a low carbon society and the significant loss of biodiversity in the UK.

“At Countryside, we have a coveted history of partnership and collaboration. Having already joined the HBF Future Homes Task Force, we want to build on this by working closely with our partners, supply chain, local communities and industry colleagues to tackle these far-reaching and complex issues together, ensuring we create the positive impact and outcomes we are aiming for.

Ahead of launching its approach, Countryside has expanded its dedicated in-house sustainability team led by Group Sustainability Director Robert Macdiarmid.