London is one of the greenest cities to work in globally, but which part of London has the most eco-friendly working culture? We ranked some of London’s major business districts to find out which areas set the best example when it comes to green business practices, commuting and more.
For the eco-conscious, seeing how companies and even entire cities are revolutionising to combat climate change is a reassuring move towards positive change.
Businesses are modernising to reduce their carbon footprint by switching to renewable energy sources and reducing their energy usage. Research shows that 71% of workers prioritise working for a company with a strong environmental policy.
Town planning also has an environmental focus, encouraging commuters to cycle to work or switch to electric vehicles by introducing more bike lanes and EV charging points.
As a B Corp certified business, this is a topic close to our hearts, and we’re proud to see London coming out top in global rankings of eco-friendly cities to work in. We’ve taken this a step further, looking at key London boroughs to discover the different ways local businesses, councils and professionals are spearheading the fight against climate change, making their area one of the greenest London boroughs to work in.
Structural improvements to buildings, such as better insulation, energy-saving heating systems and controls, and optimising lighting usage, including switching to LEDs, are just some of the ways businesses are striving to improve their EPC rating, making offices more energy-efficient. And, of course, switching to renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines, drastically reduces greenhouse gas emissions. At Work.Life, we’re proud to say we fall among the cohort of businesses taking such measures.
The gold standard of sustainable construction is a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certification, whereby buildings are assessed for their sustainability performance throughout their lifespan, from construction through to operation and refurbishment. Over 2 million buildings are now BREEAM certified, many of which are in the UK.
These innovations move businesses towards the goal of net-zero status. Last year, the Together with our Planet Campaign encouraged small businesses to pledge to cut their emissions to net-zero by 2050. Across the boroughs we analysed, 23 businesses have already fulfilled this pledge, helping London become one of the world’s greenest cities.
Analysing each area’s commercial EPC ratings and net-zero businesses shows us the London locations where companies are making the most eco-friendly choices, with Ealing, Greenwich and Harrow coming out top as three of the greenest boroughs in London:
|Ranking||City||Most Common Non-Domestic EPC Rating||# of Net Zero Workspaces||Score|
|2||Kensington and Chelsea||28% D||0||4|
|3||City of London||29% D||0||4.5|
|3||Hammersmith and Fulham||29% D||0||4.5|
|3||Kingston upon Thames||30% D||1||4.5|
|4||Richmond upon Thames||32% D||2||5|
|5||Barking and Dagenham||32% D||3||7.5|
Professionals are making their mark by choosing green travel options. Research from the University of Oxford and Imperial College London has shown that switching to ‘active transport’, such as walking and cycling, can reduce personal carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 25%.
For those who need to drive to work, choosing an electric vehicle saves an average of 1.5 million grammes of CO2 annually — the equivalent of four return flights to Barcelona! With the sale of petrol and diesel cars to be banned in the UK by 2040, EV charging points are being placed across the country to accommodate drivers switching to electric.
Commuters across London are doing their part. More professionals walk to work in Westminster than in any other London location (9.7%), and the borough provides more EV charging points than anywhere else in the city (around 479 per 100,000 people). Meanwhile, the City of London has the smallest proportion of those driving to work (5%).
However, Islington comes top overall. More people cycle to work in Islington than any other London borough we analysed (5%). Plus, with 7.2% walking to work and only 12% driving to work, the carbon footprint of commuters in Islington is vastly reduced, making it one of the greenest boroughs in London.
|Ranking||City||# of people who cycle to work||% of people who cycle for any purpose||# of people who walk to work||% of people who walk for any purpose||# of people who drive to work||# of public EV charging points per 100k people||Score|
|1||Islington||8,586 – 5%||21.40%||12,518 – 7.2%||94.10%||19903 – 12%||141.5||2.8|
|2||City of London||no data||16.90%||no data||91.90%||16145 – 5%||466.3||3.5|
|3||Hammersmith and Fulham||6,077 – 4%||20.10%||9,011 – 5.9%||93.50%||21545 – 17%||331.8||3.7|
|4||Westminster||4,668 – 2.5%||15.80%||18,158 – 9.7%||91.70%||41106 – 35%||478.8||4.3|
|5||Richmond upon Thames||4,670 – 3.1%||33.10%||4,429 – 3%||94.80%||28380 – 36%||216.5||4.3|
|6||Camden||5,713 – 3.1%||18.80%||12,223 – 6.6%||91.20%||24822 – 9%||132.4||4.5|
|7||Kensington and Chelsea||3,155 – 2.3%||16.90%||6,835 – 5.1%||93.30%||12616 – 11%||415||5.0|
|8||Kingston upon Thames||2,456 – 1.9%||20.40%||4,341 – 3.3%||90.70%||71067 – 57%||93.2||8.0|
|9||Ealing||4,010 – 1.5%||15%||7,022 – 2.6%||87.80%||54350 – 41%||88.1||8.2|
|10||Croydon||1,751 – 0.6%||12.80%||7,310 – 2.6%||88.80%||47698 – 39%||41.4||8.7|
|11||Greenwich||2,290 – 1.1%||7.70%||3,837 – 1.9%||86.40%||35603 – 41%||92.4||10.0|
|12||Harrow||689 – 0.4%||8.30%||3,765 – 2%||82.20%||33150 – 45%||19.4||11.8|
|13||Barking and Dagenham||852 – 0.6%||8.80%||1,994 – 1.4%||76.90%||30272 – 52%||30.8||11.8|
Scores are weighted to reflect where there is an absence of data for the City of London.
There are different interest levels and concern around environmental issues across London boroughs. Where climate change is more commonly talked about and awareness is raised, this is reflected in activities from litter-picking to environmental fundraising. For businesses, this can mean an environmentally conscious workforce keenly participating in company activities and fundraising events to assist environmental non-profits.
By looking at the number of online articles for each area around the subject of climate change, it’s revealed that Harrow cares the most about this issue, with 5,894 articles in total:
|Ranking||City||Number of articles around climate change||Score|
|2||City of London||5027||2|
|4||Kensington and Chelsea||190||4|
|5||Barking and Dagenham||189||5|
|8||Hammersmith and Fulham||0||8|
|8||Richmond upon Thames||0||8|
|8||Kingston upon Thames||0||8|
By tallying up the scores for each of these metrics — from business EPC ratings to overall interest in the environment — the City of London has been found to be the greenest place to work in the capital.
The City of London has the lowest number of people who drive to work (5%), offers around 466 EV charging points per 100,000 people, and comes second in terms of concern with climate change.
‘As a B Corp certified business, Work.Life is part of the global movement of businesses committed to making a positive social and environmental impact. We live and breathe sustainable and ethical business operations in everything we do – including in our workspaces.
In our flexible office hubs, 100% of the energy you use is provided by renewable sources. Light sensors and energy efficiency devices ensure we keep our EPC rating low across our office spaces. And we divert as much waste as possible from landfills through recycling programmes across all our locations.’
– David Kosky, Co-Founder of Work.Life
Whether you’re looking for office space, meeting rooms or hot-desking, visit Work.Life to discover eco-conscious, flexible workspace solutions in London, Manchester and Reading today.
Sources & Method
EPC Ratings : https://epc.opendatacommunities.org/domestic/search
Number of Net-Zero Workspaces: https://www.google.com/url?q=https://epc.opendatacommunities.org/domestic/search&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1651578240258098&usg=AOvVaw2_so5dPQ9B8orE4afpFNLQ
Walking and Cycling Statistics: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/walking-and-cycling-statistics-cw
Driving Data: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/methodoftraveltowork
Electric Vehicle Charging Points per 100,000 people: https://maps.dft.gov.uk/ev-charging-map/index.html
Areas with the most interest in climate change: https://buzzsumo.com/
Each location was given a score based on the above data sets, with 1 being the best. The scores for each were added and weighted to take in account instances where data was missing for a certain area. These then created a ranking with the lowest number indicating the greenest place to work.