Posts Tagged ‘Jonathon Porritt’

At the end of last week, I was happy to hear that Jonathon Porritt had joined the board at Wilmott Dixon. It’s particularly poignant timing, given the beating the industry has taken in recent months: Wilmott Dixon is underlining their commitment to achieving the carbon reductions that will be required in the built environment in the runup to 2016 and beyond.

Ok, you could argue that he’s only going to be a non-executive director, so his influence will be limited to board level. That might not sound like such a bad thing, but working with a couple of developers of similar size,  I’ve been surprised to find genuine support for low carbon measures among the board only to run into a brick wall at operational level. One is no good without the other. But in WD’s case, let’s assume that vision is going to translate into action.

The point is, Wilmott Dixon have made this move at a time of low morale and deep skepticism in the construction industry. Many developers find themselves saddled with projects whose land values were agreed at the height of the property boom. In some cases, even where there’s a solid case for development, the banks refuse to offer credit. The zero carbon housing deadline in 2016 is looming and we haven’t even decided yet what “zero carbon” means or how it should be achieved. Who can blame developers who’ve sunk into a funk and dismiss those who talk about zero carbon as having their heads in the clouds?


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