Since 2015, Sustainable Workspaces has developed two additional workspaces at Bankside. With their workspaces experiencing high levels of use, they have been looking at options to expand further, both in London and further afield. Identifying further sites located in railway arches is very much on their agenda. Steve said: “Members who are using workshop space are outgrowing the properties we have. We’re looking at future solutions so that we can offer them extra space, and railway arches are absolutely a part of those plans – they are really well suited to these types of businesses.
“The arches tap into the core needs that tenants have at our sites. They are flexible spaces that can be designed with custom fitouts to suit the specific needs of our members and they offer flexible shorter-term leases that are ideal to match our membership arrangements. The broad range of businesses we support means that the option to provide a bespoke layout is key.
Even at their other sites, the team has worked hard to include touches that show their commitment to their member community and differentiate their space. Members’ products have been built into their workspaces, providing mutual benefits including an additional income source for their members and more sustainable credentials for Sustainable Workspaces itself.
Making decisions about which organisations are suited to the Sustainable Workspaces community is a tricky business. The team has worked hard to refine the entry criteria and balance this with their desire to build a diverse membership. As a minimum, the businesses seeking to join should have a commitment to building a sustainable organisation as a core value, with a strong focus on addressing resource scarcity and climate change. Joe Warren, of PowerVault, said: “Working with other low-carbon, sustainable businesses, being able to share those experiences and working in an environment with like-minded people certainly makes it easier to run our business.”
Steve said: “There’s been a huge increase in interest and a shift in the last six years in public awareness and knowledge about sustainability. As a company with sustainability built into our name, we have to be much more conscious of living up to the high standards that come with describing ourselves in that way. We’ve seen a big increase in the number of enquiries we’re getting for workspaces and the applications to our accelerator programme. Interest from sustainable start-ups and larger corporates who are shifting their Corporate Social Responsibility policies in response to the public mood is booming. Environmental concern is no longer seen as a nice to have, it’s much more of a genuine motivation now. The companies we’re working with all have a shared vision of trying to make the world a better place. It’s an inspiring community to work with.”