Sustainability has always been at the heart of what we do at Cairn. From Day One we were committed to building homes that were kind to the environment, and built to last for generations. We also placed a huge emphasis on making our new developments work within the existing community – attractive homes, careful landscaping, and plenty of amenities. Our aim is to enhance a neighbourhood, to add another high-quality layer that will grow with the community over many years.
Since then, we have developed our concept to encompass what we believe are the three major pillars of sustainability: people, homes and places. In 2020, we made this transition quantifiable, by moving from a corporate social responsibility (CSR) framework to an environmental, social and governance (ESG) one.
This move was made after a long period of research and planning, led by a sustainability steering group. Over 200 surveys and one-to-one consultations with stakeholders were carried out, while a series of Innovation Workshops were held with employees to form a long-term plan under the new ESG framework.
But what exactly is the difference? Put simply, having an ESG framework ensures a company “walks the talk”. CSR was a framework initially adopted by companies that wanted to make a difference, but as time went on, and technology advanced, it became possible to quantify a company’s dedication to sustainable issues, such as their use of natural resources, social impact and good governance – and so the ESG framework was born.
So what has Cairn done within this ESG framework? As mentioned, the company is dedicated to achieving under three main pillars: people, homes and places. And here are just a few of the initiatives recently undertaken by the company:
- Taking a holistic approach to health and safety, Mental Health First Aiders are now on every Cairn site.
- Full job retention and growth of our employee base throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with further jobs supported through a €5 million Subcontractor Support Fund launched in April 2020.
- Participation in the Dublin NEIC Schools Flash Mentoring Program, where Cairn employees are student mentors – therefore considering the sustainability of the industry.
- To help develop lasting and sustainable communities, we recently launched “Home Together”, an initiative with Neighbourhood Network to create strong, well-connected communities.
- From 2020, all Cairn new homes meet Nearly Zero Energy Building standards (nZEB), where the low amount of energy required for a new home is covered to a very significant extent by renewable sources. All nZEB houses have an energy rating of A2, resulting in an estimated cost to the homeowner of less than €2 per day for heating, hot water, lighting and ventilation.
- Cairn are committed to the responsible sourcing of materials; 100% of timber used on our sites, including out timber frame structures, being FSC certified.
- In 2020, Cairn became the first homebuilder in Ireland to utilise Rapid Impact Compaction, a new engineering solution that significantly reduces haulage of soil to and from the site, therefore reducing carbon footprint. This solution is fully aligned with our commitment to the Business in the Communities Low Carbon Pledge to set science-based carbon emissions reduction targets by 2024.
- Cairn was awarded the London Stock Exchange Green Economy Mark in 2020, which recognises issuers who generate over 50% of their total revenue from environmentally positive goods, products and services.
- Since 2019, Cairn has supported the objective of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan and has been recognised by the Biodiversity Data Centre Ireland as a Pollinator-Friendly Business. This is one of the central tenets of our biodiversity strategy where we deliver biodiversity-focused landscaping across all of our developments.
- The Cairn Arts Programme aims to leverage the power of arts and culture to strengthen our new communities by commissioning local artists, sculptors and designers to deliver projects for our developments. One such project is the award-winning sculpture ‘Eyes For You’ by Eileen MacDonagh in Parkside.
- As Ireland’s leading homebuilder, we understand the importance of being proactive in implementing biodiversity-orientated landscapes in our developments. In 2020 alone, we planted 6,823 native trees – that’s six trees for every new home built or under construction.