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Agency network aims to be first in the sector to go carbon neutral

The Federation of Independent Agents (FIA) is aiming to become the first carbon neutral estate agency network.

It has teamed up with Carbon Neutral Great Britain and Temwa Carbon Balance, which help companies and individuals assess and offset their environmental impact.

The firms will assess the impact of each estate agents predicted energy usage over the course of 12 months and give firms an offset cost.

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Based on these results, the agency will then commit to planting a set number of trees to compensate accordingly.

The network’s 50 brands and 70 member branches will also be given guidelines on how they can lower their emissions in their everyday business practices.

Members can get a discounted assessment rate of £695 plus VAT with Carbon Neutral Great Britain and £750 plus VAT with Temwa Carbon Balance.

Graham Lock, founder of the FIA, said: “The FIA is on its way to becoming the first carbon neutral estate agency network which I’m extremely proud of.

“The FIA continues to lead from the front on a number of initiatives and this is certainly an important one for now and the future with sustainability at the front of minds.

“It is also a great message for our members to be sending out to their local communities and with our FIA subsidised assessment rates, our members are in a great position to benefit in so many ways.”

James Poynter, director of business development for Carbon Neutral Great Britain, added: “Carbon neutrality is a proactive approach to environmental action - by measuring to help you monitor and reduce your footprint, but most of important of all - offsetting your environmental impact to make a difference to the climate crisis now. 

“Studies have highlighted the importance of businesses making a difference in the next five years before changes to the climate are irreversible.

“By becoming carbon neutral, FIA and its members are doing their part for the planet now - when it is the most important.”

Members also recognise that tackling climate change is about more than just offsetting emissions and planting trees.

Andrew Dickinson, owner of FIA member Oakwood Homes, said: “Our incredibly talented, busy and mindful team were 100% behind our decision to get carbon neutral status and are continuing by taking daily measures to recycle, reduce waste, improve our use of energy and generally show personal responsibility.”

Robert Mamuda, owner of FIA member Alexander May, added: “For small business there are lots of organisations ready to take your money in exchange for a claim or a badge but we realised the education of our employees is central to our efforts and so our claims of carbon neutrality would stand up to scrutiny. 

“It also helps if you can see the tree you have planted, that those trees are the correct type and in the correct place. 

“We are proud to say our offset partner Temwa is an non-governmental organisation that plants and cultivates trees as part of a reforestation project in Malawi. 

“More than 1.5m trees have been planted so far. 

“We call it offsetting with a purpose as our trees help a scientific project which in the end helps the community by providing an eco-system that can sustain crops. A win- win.”

It comes as a report released by property data company Dye & Durham aims to inform conveyancers and homebuyers about exposure to climate-related hazards

The Climate Report warns that aapproximately 4,000 properties are at substantial risk from coastal erosion across Great Britain, expected to reach 23,000 in the next 80 years.

Its modelling, using soil erosion data, information from flood experts and wind climate projections, warned there will be an increase of more than half a million properties at high exposure of soil subsidence between now and the 2080s.

The number of households at substantial risk of flooding in the UK is set to rise by 24% over the next 30 years and 36,000 properties will be exposed to extreme winds by 2070, according to the report.

Tom Backhouse, Dye & Durham’s director of insight and data, said: “In conveyancing, there is a tendency to look backwards to determine risk levels. It’s time to start using insight and data to look forward.

“If we can increase awareness of climate change and more people become engaged and understand how this is likely to affect their property in the future, then they can act accordingly.

“Just as mortgage lenders are looking at the impacts of climate change, forward-thinking conveyancers are now choosing to offer this intelligence to homebuyers, giving them hands-on access for their properties to the very insights that lenders are using to inform investment decisions.”

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