A Sustainable Business Community Case Study


The London Bridge area is a densely populated commercial district in the London Borough of Southwark. Best known as a transport hub and the original crossing point over the tidal Thames, it is now a thriving neighbourhood for big international businesses, many SMEs, cultural attractions, and independent traders. Operating in different sectors and based in properties ranging from Victorian archways to state-of-the-art BREEAM certified developments, no two businesses are the same, yet the 350+ organisations based in this area share an ambition to make London Bridge one of the most sustainable places to do business in the world. Team London Bridge (TLB), as the local Business Improvement District (BID), has made this central to their mission and have consolidated common challenges and goals to develop community led projects and work towards a goal of net zero by 2030. This target can only be achieved by working in partnership and by aligning with work underway from Southwark Council and the Greater London Authority. 

The area is geographically small but has the opportunity to have far reaching influence at home and around the world, amplifying the impact of the hyper-local projects being undertaken.  


In summer 2022, Team London Bridge launched the London Bridge Net Zero Routemap. The Routemap has been driven by the London Bridge business community and was formed through a rigorous consultation process to make it ambitious yet practical and achievable. Using a carbon accounting tool, Team London Bridge were able to calculate emissions across the area. In 2019, the businesses, including landlords, in the London Bridge BID were responsible for 130,000 tonnes of CO2e, equivalent to powering 25,295 homes a year (a fifth of the homes in London Borough of Southwark). 

Of this significant carbon footprint, it was identified that 65% was associated with heating, cooling, and powering buildings, with 50% being associated with office-based businesses, as the predominant type of premises in the area. 


Three types of actions are proposed in the Routemap to decarbonise: 

Enabling Mechanisms: Transitioning to carbon neutrality requires an investment in enabling mechanisms. This will build the capacity to accelerate decarbonisation and implement more complex projects, both for the area and individual organisations.  

Communal Projects: Five large-scale projects are proposed, addressing the area’s largest sources of carbon emissions. These projects require multi-stakeholder collaboration to be effectively delivered. 

Business-led Interventions: A series of interventions have been proposed for each different business type explored in this document: offices, food and drink businesses, retail, hospitality, healthcare, and theatre. These interventions will help them reach the net zero targets. 


The three actions are supported by a Sustainable Transition Fund which would be administered and spent on local sustainable projects to deliver local benefits.  


To align with both Southwark Council and London-wide targets, Team London Bridge has set a 2030 target date. Of course, this depends on many elements out of the control of the BID, but important deliverables are possible and are being delivered on time.  


In January 2022, Team London Bridge established the London Bridge Net Zero Steering Group. Made up of 15 businesses the group meets regularly and support the implementation process, bringing expertise from their business sector and acting as ambassadors for projects within their own organisations. 

Steve Johnson is a Director at Hilson Moran and has been nominated Chair of the Steering Group. Steve said, “I’m really pleased to be able to help the London Bridge community take action on climate change, it’s so important for businesses to play a full role, and as a community we can act together.” 

Members have established sub-groups to lead on other aspects of delivery, making the most of individual fields of knowledge and interests.  

London Bridge Decarbonisation Charter 

On 1st February 2024, a London Bridge Decarbonisation Charter is being launched, with 30 founding signatories. The Charter is voluntary for Team London Bridge (TLB) members and area stakeholders and allows them to commit to making London Bridge one of the most sustainable places to do business in the world. Businesses can commit to supporting the wider aims, but also indicate their own net zero targets.  

London Bridge Green Network 

The London Bridge Green Network is an informal group designed to help impart knowledge, innovation, and enthusiasm for sustainable projects throughout the community. Meeting quarterly, it provides a platform to celebrate achievements and network with others who are trying to drive change within their own areas of influence.  

Impact on citizens   

The infrastructure of groups and networks established in London Bridge is empowering individuals with knowledge and confidence to make changes within their organisations. Supported by tried and tested tools and having the knowledge that Team London Bridge is delivering projects that are proven to reduce carbon footprints, business leaders, employees and community stakeholders are motivated and assured in taking action and making choices. 

Funding mechanism   

Team London Bridge has attracted funding to deliver large scale projects already and delivered them successfully. However, the most significant funding mechanism for this area is the BID Levy itself, that allows for a small team to deliver projects for the business community. Every 5 years, the businesses vote in a ballot to decide if they want to continue being part of a BID, and if the proposed services match their own priorities and ambitions. They then pay a small percentage of their business rates – an additional Levy – into a fund that invests in the area via the BID. Managed in this case by Team London Bridge, this community has made it clear that they want their Levy to be spent on sustainable projects, as well as other high-priority services including security, public realm and greening, CSR, and place promotion.  

Past, current and future (next steps) projects: 

Bikes for Business 

Team London Bridge has supported 200 businesses over 4 years to transition away from motorised vehicles to zero emission cargo bike deliveries, supported by funding from TfL and Impact on Urban Health. This has included working with small businesses delivering locally, like food suppliers or even dog walking businesses, to a hospital transporting blood samples and waste contractors. 

Consolidated Community Recycling 

Team London Bridge has offered a subsidised waste and recycling service to their BID members for over a decade as a way of reducing operating costs, encouraging high recycling rates, and consolidating collections via a specialist contractor. Any of member businesses (whether office occupier, retailer, or food & drink outlet) that choose the appointed contractor as their waste and recycling provider is eligible for a 50% subsidy on all recycling streams – providing a significant cost saving. 

Business Climate Challenge 

20 businesses in London Bridge have committed to improving their office energy efficiency by 10% over a year as part of a programme supported by the Mayor of London across 250 SME businesses in London.  

Southwark Climate Collective 

This current initiative provides free, expert decarbonisation support for 160 businesses across Southwark to reduce carbon emissions, increase efficiency and cut costs. 

Participating businesses can choose to take part in one of four programme streams – waste, energy, freight, and supply chains – through which they receive tailored technical support, trainings, network events, carbon literacy training and a celebration event. 

Communal Project – District Heat Network 

The biggest gains in emission reduction would be through a large-scale district heat network, linking up major land ownings and estates such as Guy’s Hospital, The Shard, and London Bridge City. In June 2023, we commissioned a pre-feasibility study. This was completed in December 2023 and indicates a large-scale project based on energy extracted from the river Thames could be possible. A steering group is in place to support the work on this going forward and the concept is gaining significant traction as both a sustainable and economic business proposition.  

Sustainable Transition 

London Bridge businesses are now seeking ways of working with Southwark Council on a Green Bond, due to launch in 2024. This will be a way for businesses to support the wider borough transition to net zero, to offset carbon and support a wider responsible business approach, for example through creating jobs and tackling fuel poverty.  

Find out more 

  1. London Bridge Decarbonisation Charter
  2. Measurement tools (xtonnes)
  3. Southwark Climate Collective
  4. Net Zero Steering Group
  5. Subsidised community recycling
  6. www.teamlondonbridge.co.uk/netzero


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