Partnerships for Sustainability

Land Registry

During a five-year partnership, Land Registry and Sopra Steria made sustainability a central part of the work together delivering Land Registry's ICT services. We found that collaboration in sustainability drove better results, in sustainability and business terms.

Challenge  summary

By 2008, Land Registry had already achieved a lot in making its own operations more sustainable, and it wanted to ensure it was driving sustainability up its supply chain. In its contract with Sopra Steria for distributed ICT infrastructure services, Land Registry included many sustainability requirements that would help it achieve compliance with UK Government sustainability targets such as the Greening Government Commitments and the Greening Government ICT Strategy. It went further by also expecting its partner to make a positive difference in the community in which Land Registry’s ICT service was delivered (Plymouth, Devon).

We had recently made sustainability a part of our corporate strategy: having successfully improved the sustainability of our business over the previous few years, we wanted to use our experience and expertise to help customers like Land Registry use ICT solutions to improve sustainability and business performance.

Within the first year of services to Land Registry, we had completed a sustainability impact assessment and created a performance management framework for formally managing sustainability as part of the day-today service to Land Registry. This included:

  • Identifying the major environmental impacts of its service to Land Registry and defined a programme of initiatives to help reduce those impacts
  • Implementing policy, governance and processes to monitor and manage sustainability
  • Continual introduction of technology solutions to help improve Land Registry’s sustainability
  • Working with community organisations to understand the pressing concerns of the local area and how we could use our expertise and resources to address them
  • Creation of the Sopra Steria Balanced Scorecard for Sustainability to formally manage all aspects of sustainability

Our solution

Over a 5-year period, Sopra Steria designed, implemented, and managed new and existing technology that contributed to an overall improvement in Land Registry’s environmental sustainability:

  • Our transformation of Land Registry’s data centre infrastructure delivered a more energy efficient, virtualised platform that reduced energy consumption by 50% and greenhouse gas emissions by about 540 tonnes of CO2 per year
  • This transformation along with Land Registry’s work to improve the sustainability of the data centre prepared Land Registry for CEEDA accreditation
  • We implemented a desktop energy management solution by Verismic—provider of cloud-based ICT endpoint management and green technology solutions—which will reduce the energy consumption and emissions from Land Registry’s estate of desktop PCs and monitors by about 9% per year by applying better power management policies and helping users become aware of the sustainability and cost impacts of their behaviours
  • We ensured that tens of thousands of PCs, laptops, monitors, printers and other imaging devices have complied with the UK Government Buying Standards, which ensure a greater level of environmental sustainability
  • Working with responsible partners, Sopra Steria ensured that over 25,000 units of Land Registry’s ICT equipment have been reused or recycled. For example, Sims Recycling Solutions — an ICT and electronics recovery, reuse and recycling service working with Sims Recycling — we were able to ensure more of Land Registry’s equipment could be reused after it was securely data-wiped and refurbished. In FY 2012 and 2013 for example, over 35% of Land Registry’s equipment went on to be re-used elsewhere. And in 2010 Land Registry and Sopra Steria worked together to ensure the kit being decommissioned as the result of a refresh was refurbished to a high standard then offered to Land Registry’s employees for a low cost. Furthermore, 10% of each sale went to one of Land Registry’s preferred charities, the Children’s Hospice Southwest
  • Sopra Steria provided an upgraded video conferencing solution that provided easier access, centralised booking and control, and high-quality video calls. The service enabled greater remote collaboration and allowed Land Registry employees to choose not to travel for meetings if they didn’t have to. etween December 2010 and March 2014, monthly video conference usage increased by more than 270% with Land Registry placing more than 230 calls on average per month by the last quarter of FY2013

Engaging employees, suppliers, and communities

Land Registry and Sopra Steria understood that engaging a range of stakeholders in sustainability is crucial to maximising sustainability benefits.

  • Employees: Sopra Steria were recognised with International CSR Excellence Awards (2013 and 2014) and a Green Apple Award (2013) for our employee engagement in sustainability. For Land Registry:
    • It ensured that all members of our delivery team received sustainability training
    • It appointed a Green Agent (sustainability champion) to promote sustainability in daily activities
    • All employees were provided with two days of company time for volunteering in the local community
    • Employees who made outstanding contributions to sustainability were recognised with Service Excellence Awards and a monetary prize
  • Suppliers: Using a multi-faceted approach to supply chain sustainability, we ensured that key sub-contractors to Land Registry were active in sustainability:
    • Suppliers were assessed using Sopra Steria’s Environmental, Social and Economic Sustainability Supplier Evaluation
    • Procurement of goods and services considered the suppliers’ sustainability as well as that of the goods/services being provided to Land Registry
    • Sopra Steria and Land Registry held a supply chain sustainability workshop day for key suppliers to understand their requirements and expectations
    • Sopra Steria and Land Registry engaged suppliers in community activities, such as volunteer days and donation of ICT equipment for charitable fundraising
  • Communities: Land Registry and Sopra Steria had established charitable and volunteer programmes, but by working together and by inviting other organisations to get involved, the effects of our work were greater
    • We worked with Plymouth Guild Volunteer Centre - a charity supporting the development of other voluntary and community organisations - to help align Sopra Steria employees’ interests and skills with local volunteer opportunities
    • Land Registry and Sopra Steria employees volunteered hundreds of hours each year, many with Grow4Good Southwest—a charity providing skills training and work experience to local disadvantaged people whilst also growing food and plants for local businesses. Plymouth Guild Volunteer Centre helped Sopra Steria and Land Registry find Grow4Good and the three organisations entered into a partnership lasting two years so far
    • We gave time, ICT equipment and cash to Land Registry’s charitable fundraising efforts, raising thousands of pounds

Conclusions

Land Registry and Sopra Steria have achieved a lot together; our collaboration has benefitted each organisation, as well as employees and communities. For organisations trying to improve sustainability, it is suggested: 

  • Include sustainability requirements in your procurement and contract documents: Throughout procurement processes, you should not only ensure prospective suppliers have robust internal sustainability programmes, but also that they will commit to delivering sustainability benefits with their products and services. Make on-going engagement and continual improvement as part of terms and conditions
  • Use ICT to become more sustainable: Sopra Steria still sees organisations that do not consider ICT as an engine for green, instead focusing on facilities. As a growing consumer of energy and other resources, it is important to transform the ICT estate into a more efficient function; however, ICT can enable sustainability in other parts of the business, for example with video conferencing, sustainability management tools and smart energy systems
  • Use sustainability as a lens to identify cost savings opportunities: Land Registry and Sopra Steria realised the potential for cost, energy and emissions savings, as well as support for Government reporting requirements that managing PC power using Verismic Power Manager would bring
  • Get different stakeholders involved: The main customer interfaces for an ICT company like ours are with the customer’s ICT function. In its work in sustainability, we are changing that by establishing Sustainability Partnership Boards that involve a wider range of customer stakeholders, typically from ICT, Procurement, Facilities and Sustainability. This helps to identify meaningful opportunities for improvement in sustainability
  • Make sustainability a part of the business case: Many of the transformative ICT projects we undertook for Land Registry had significant sustainability benefits. Bringing these out in proposals - for example by providing estimates of energy and emissions savings - further strengthened the business cases for them, and got other parts of Land Registry enthusiastic for change projects
  • Communicate sustainability information about change projects: Change can be disruptive and difficult. Including the good-news sustainability information of projects can help keep people on board
  • Identify the challenges in your community that your expertise and resources can address, then join together with your partners to make a difference
  • Get employees involved and let employees from both sides work together on sustainability. This helps build good will towards employing organisations, but also allows employees to expand their network, try new things and build new skills

Client view

Working with Sopra Steria really helped us to deliver on meeting our Flexible Framework targets – and so much more. Through mutual respect and trust, we were able to learn from each other, to the benefit of both organisations and the wider community.David Pugh, Senior Procurement Manager and Sustainable Procurement Champion