In recent years January has become the month of detoxes, fad diets, health kicks such as Dry January and Veganuary, and an explosion of wellness and healthy eating recipe books promising to banish the post-Christmas blues.
This January, though, the focus has largely turned to the health of the planet we all live on. If one thing has so far been hogging the headlines in 2018, it’s plastic. And, more to the point, the harmful effect it is having on the environment, not least the oceans.
Thanks to newspaper campaigns, pressure groups, environmental lobbyists and the impact of David Attenborough’s epic Blue Planet, the tide is turning against plastic. It’s become the thing that must be eradicated above all else.
Theresa May wants to eradicate all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042 and create plastic-free aisles in supermarkets, Iceland recently became the first supermarket to announce that it will eradicate all plastics from its own-brand products by 2023, McDonald’s has pledged to make all of its packaging from recycled paper and plastic (or with cardboard sourced from sustainably managed forests) by 2025, and Coca-Cola has promised to raise the recycled content in its bottles to 50% worldwide by 2030.
So, the war on plastic is well and truly underway, but is there an eco-friendly revolution taking place in the world of property?
Well, there are a few green estate agents about. Outlet Property states that it takes an eco-friendly approach to property, reducing waste, reusing products and recycling where possible, as well as conserving energy and water and aiming to choose eco-friendly products as much as it can. It lists a number of green homes, created using environmentally-conscious construction methods and materials, as well as offering up tips on how to go green and recycle better.
What’s more, as part of its ‘Green Project’, it signed up with the Carbon Limited Company to offset its carbon emissions.
Green Moves, meanwhile, counts itself as ‘the UK’s first dedicated ‘eco property for sale’ website’. It aims to make finding, buying, renting or selling an eco property as easy as pie, with all properties on its site having to adhere to strict environmentally-friendly criteria.
Another one is Enviro Estates, which operates in Manchester, London and across the Far East, offering a ‘range of eco-friendly property solutions’. This includes block management and residential property sales, lettings and management services, all with a green, energy efficient, environmentally-friendly stance.
There’s also The Boardwalk Property Co., founded in 2013 to refashion estate agency in bohemian Bristol. It has engineered a number of green initiatives – including planting 15 trees for every home sold and going paper free where possible – since it was formed.
While eco-friendly properties are becoming more commonplace, eco-friendly agents are far more niche. Most agencies, though, now appreciate the need to be more energy efficient and green, and it’s an increasing concern for landlords and letting agents with the upcoming introduction of MEES.
GDPR deadline gets ever closer
The other favourite topic of 2018 so far – particularly for those involved in business – has been GDPR, the incoming data protection legislation that will change the world as we know it.
The new regulations coming into play, which will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and will be unaffected by Brexit, are complex, multi-layered and (frankly) quite dumbfounding to the uninitiated. Luckily, we have GDPR Holly on hand to keep us on track.
We also have a special weekly GDPR column coming shortly, with several GDPR experts on hand to answer pressing questions about how you can protect your business and comply with the new rules. Keep your eyes peeled for that.
Here’s a quick lowdown on some of what is being introduced:
• When collecting personally identifiable data (PID), companies must make it ‘explicitly’ clear to data subjects (customers) what the purpose of the collection of that data is for. It should only be retained for as long as necessary and processed in an appropriate manner to ensure security is maintained at all times.
• Once introduced, GDPR will provide a number of rights for individuals, including the right to erasure, the right to be informed, the right of access, the right to object and the right to data portability.
• If a data breach occurs, a firm must notify the supervisory authority (the ICO) within 72 hours of discovering the breach.
• Public bodies, those who process data on a large scale and those who process sensitive personal identifiable data (PID) or whose core activities involve processing PID, must appoint a Data Protection Officer.
That barely even scratches the surface of what GDPR includes, but there is plenty of advice and assistance out there to help agents and property people before the deadline hits on May 25 2018. Should probably repeat that in big, bold letters for maximum effect: MAY 25 2018.
The main goal, once everyone is on board, is to give citizens back control over their personal data, while also simplifying the regulatory environment for businesses. It might be a bit of a slog to reach that point, but the end objective is a sound one.
A vote for Angels and ValPal
The ValPal Network is up for two ESTAS awards – Best Valuation Tool and Supplier Of The Year – and Angels Media is also up for two prizes, namely Best in Digital Marketing and Supplier Of The Year. And we need your votes!
The biggest, best and longest-running property awards ceremony in town, the ESTAS takes place this year at Grosvenor House Hotel on Friday 20 April 2018, with property royalty Phil Spencer once again handing out the gongs.
We’re running a little competition for our ValPal members who vote for us. If you vote for us in both categories, you’ll be entered into a draw to win an iPad or an Apple Watch or 3 months free ValPal AND 20 free live chat leads (you get to choose your prize!).
Property Jobs Today
Our new Property Jobs Today column, which will appear on EAT every Monday from next week, will be there to keep you up to date with all the movers and shakers in the property world. There’s quite a big vacancy at Countrywide that has just appeared, so I hear!
That’s that from me. Until next time…
*Nat Daniels is the Chief Executive Officer of Angels Media, publishers of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today. Follow him on Twitter @NatDaniels.