Interserve has formed a partnership with regeneration charity Groundwork that will see surplus equipment and construction materials that might otherwise have gone to landfill used on environmental projects.
The partnership, which is being launched at this week’s Chelsea Flower Show, gives Groundwork access to Interserve’s SurPlus network, a database of surplus items that can be used on any of the projects it runs to improve the environment for local communities.
Groundwork will also get access to a list of Interserve employees who have expressed an interest in volunteering. Interserve volunteers have helped the charity put together its own garden for the flower show.
The partnership has already been trialled in the regeneration of a derelict site in Wednesbury in the West Midlands. Surplus building materials – all of which would have previously gone to landfill sites – were used in the scheme, and Interserve worked with Groundwork to create communal areas and facilities for disabled people to enjoy the space and learn new skills.
More than 75 employees from across the company gave up their time to bring the project to fruition.
The partnership will now be widened out to other projects where Groundwork is creating spaces where people can grow their own food, learn new skills and come together in safe, environmentally-friendly areas.
All project requests will be assessed and agreed by the partnership board, and both organisations will measure the value of the donated materials and employee volunteer time. This information will be used to report on the social return on investment that the project is contributing to the local communities involved.
The initiative follows on from Interserve’s SustainAbilities plan, which includes 48 targets aimed at making it one of the UK’s most sustainable businesses by 2020.
Interserve group finance director and head of sustainability Tim Haywood said: “The vision of this partnership with Groundwork is to drive change in behaviour and attitudes across our business, our supply chain partners and local communities.”