“It’s for our future: we believe sustainability is the way forward”

Roma Sondhi, Raffles Fulton and Rosie Wilson
Graduate blog for Sustainability

This year, we are catching up with our first-year graduates on the issues they are passionate about. We chatted with Roma Sondhi, Raffles Fulton and Rosie Wilson on why sustainability is so close to their hearts.

Sustainability is a word we are hearing a lot these days. Questions around social equality, carbon net zero, air quality, renewable energy sources and tree planting are being asked of the housebuilding industry daily but what does it mean to the younger generation? Well, according to our latest intake of graduates, sustainability is a theme that’s taken seriously by the younger generation and plays a key role when choosing which graduate trainee scheme to apply for.

Roma was the first to note that Countryside’s emphasis on sustainable practices in housebuilding was a priority from the very beginning: “Even when I was putting my application together, Countryside’s approach to measuring sustainability stood out and what really struck home was how they explained the business’ approach on the assessment day.”

Countryside has also been a champion of sustainable methods of building and its lead in modular housebuilding really impressed Raffles: “I loved the fact that Countryside uses the word sustainable as a tagline when it refers to creating sustainable communities and having submitted my dissertation around this, I knew I had to apply for a position at Countryside.” With a flourishing modular panel factory in Warrington and expansion plans in place to produce more through modern methods of construction, Raffles emphasised his interest in new technology and recognised its need in the sector.

Rosie added that, compared to other developers, Countryside’s focus on delivering social value and its ambition to embed circular economy principles into its operations has made such an impact in the first few months of her graduate programme. “I love the fact that we take a holistic approach to the way we create communities. It’s not just about building homes. Having worked with teams on complex regeneration schemes, it’s been eye-opening to understand the way in which the team looks to optimise what’s already there. So many people assume new build means demolishing old buildings, but that’s not always the case.”

The discussion moved to the often-debated topic around how we address the housing shortage, while maintaining the highest standards to protect and preserve the environment. They agreed that the country needs to build more, but that it is crucial that we incorporate the ingredients that create sustainable communities. These aspiring leaders appreciate that it’s how developers uphold the principles of health and wellbeing, economic and social cohesion and environmental protection that really counts.

Sustainability is not a fad. It’s becoming a benchmark for every business and we are proud of our history of delivering high-quality and sustainable communities.  But there is still a lot to do to respond to the local and global challenges we face.  This is why we have launched our ambitious approach to sustainability, setting 25 quantitative targets, focusing on three key areas: our operations and the homes we build, the communities we create, and our people. We aren’t shying away from tackling some of the big challenges ahead, like the shortage of affordable homes, becoming a low carbon society and the significant loss of biodiversity in the UK, and we know this is crucial in preserving our future and the future of our communities.