The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) has released research that finds that workplace and facilities management (WFM) professionals are insufficiently involved in organisations’ plans around energy efficiency and carbon reduction, pointing to these plans being flawed from the start.

In a large-scale survey of WFM professionals conducted in Autumn last year, the Institute found that one in three WFMs were ordinary stakeholders at best when drawing up energy efficiency and carbon reduction plans, with some not being involved at all. Meanwhile just 13% of WFMs led the entire process of developing plans.

Sofie Hooper, head of policy and research at the IWFM, comments: “Every way you look at it, WFMs must be a key stakeholder when drawing up energy and carbon plans. They directly manage the buildings that account for much of the energy and carbon emissions, they understand the art of the possible in terms of change and are best placed to influence the outcomes. Plans without WFMs are flawed from the get-go.”

The significance of the findings has prompted IWFM to issue two very important calls for change inside and outside the WFM profession.

Linda Hausmanis, CEO, IWFM explains: “We call on all WFMs to put their value into action and take up the opportunity to create and drive forward organisational transition plans. The lack of ownership for net zero delivery within organisations revealed by our research shows a gaping opportunity for our profession.”

“To business we say, don’t take forward any plans without putting your WFMs central to them. You want to see a clear return on investment after all.”

The report also examines the current investment processes within organisations when it comes to energy efficiency and carbon reduction to understand why funding isn’t flowing as it should into new equipment and workplace improvements. It finds that the most common way for organisations to assess these investments is on their individual investment merits, but that they are imposing unrealistic return expectations, with an astonishing 43% expecting investments to meet or exceed normal ROI.

‘Many of these decarbonisation investments will make no returns or negative returns based on current investment models, but still need to be done,’ explains Kam Singh, a director of carbon solutions at EMCOR Group (UK) and a member of our Sustainability SIG.

Linda Hausmanis added: “Both business and WFMs need to be braver in improving the funding model so it’s fit for purpose. This report contains several recommendations for improvements of the pain points, so plans and projects can provide a truly greater return on investment, beyond the £ measure.”