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Places for London pilots new business skills training to help tenants become more sustainable

Places for London – Transport for London’s (TfL) property company – is piloting a new business skills training programme for tenants across its estate as part of its commitment to being a responsible and sustainable landlord.

Working with Heart of the City, the new programme, which will take place over the course of a year, will offer up to 40 of Places for London’s tenants the opportunity to undertake responsible business skills training. Tenants participating in the pilot will receive a range of training and support at no cost to themselves.

As one of the capital’s largest landowners, Places for London provides a home to hundreds of businesses across the city, including florists, cafés, construction companies and garages. Located in arches, high streets and stations across London, around 95 per cent of the businesses on Places for London’s estate are small and medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs play a key role in London’s economy, however, it can often be a challenge for them to maximise their potential when implementing best responsible business practices, due to a lack of time, resources and expertise.

The new training includes online learning modules, webinars, insight sessions with experts, responsible business health checks and one-to-one sessions with advisors. There will also be opportunities for each business to meet other like-minded tenants from across Places for London’s estate, so they can exchange ideas and learnings as well as potentially collaborate with each other.

As well as learning skills like how to protect mental health and wellbeing within SMEs and understand more about accessibility and inclusion, they will also learn about how they can make a wider impact on their communities too, such as through community investment, volunteering and by learning how to measure their carbon footprint and create a net-zero action plan.

By providing this range of support, Places for London hopes that its tenants will help the capital become a more inclusive and sustainable place, transitioning to net zero carbon, and thrive in their own right. In addition to this training, Places for London is continuing to examine the ways it can support London’s SMEs by examining and developing a social value strategy.

Daniel Lovatt, Director of Asset Management at Places for London, said: “We are delighted to be piloting our business skills training programme, working with Heart of the City, which will support our tenants as they strive to become even more sustainable. We strongly believe that it is our role as a landlord to help our tenants succeed and continue to play an integral part of their local communities – when they thrive, we do too.”

Maggie Berry OBE, Director at Heart of the City, said: “Navigating the environmental, social and governance (ESG) landscape can be challenging for smaller enterprises, and we’re proud to contribute to Places for London’s forward-thinking strategy by providing practical training support to their SME tenants. We’re looking forward to seeing the positive transformations these SMEs will implement in their workplaces, improving their product and service delivery while contributing positively to society and being a force for good.”

The new training for tenants is just one of many initiatives Places for London is implementing to support and improve its existing property estate. Earlier this year, an updated standard lease was launched for businesses across its retail and arch estates, which built on its existing standard lease, so that there is now a stronger focus on environmental performance and the London Living Wage. Places for London worked with its tenants as well as members of the Better Buildings Partnership, which has produced a green lease toolkit for organisations to use, when developing these updates to its standard lease.

Sarah Ratcliffe, CEO at Better Buildings Partnership, said: “Throughout our work at the Better Buildings Partnership, engaging with occupiers to improve the sustainability performance of commercial buildings has been a consistent theme. It is therefore very encouraging to see Places for London, a founding member of the BBP, building on our Green Lease Toolkit to introduce new clauses into the standard lease for its retail and arches estate. Combining this with a commitment to upskilling, building metering and data sharing provides strong foundations for collaborative relationships that enable London to unlock the shared value of more sustainable buildings.”

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