APG Facility Services shares knowledge on sustainability

Published on: 8 November 2022

Inspire other facility clients and service providers to come up with sustainable solutions even faster. That was the idea behind the Sustainable FM Foundation organized by Facility Services and attended by over 60 interested parties from the facilities sector. Michiel Sluis (Product Manager at Facility Services) and Camiel Klein Tuente (Manager of FS Support) talk about what this day yielded.

APG Facility Services (FS) aims to have climate-neutral operations by 2030 at the latest. Based on this ambition, FS, with the help of Hospitality Group and PHI Factory, has drawn up sustainability specifications that challenge service providers to contribute to that ambition. These include catering and waste separation. And to share the knowledge gained, the Sustainable FM Foundation event took place in October.

What exactly did you organize?

Camiel: “On Tuesday, October 11, APG Facility Services, PHI Factory and Hospitality Group organized an inspiring and active event called Sustainable FM Foundation. Over 60 facility clients participated in our Amsterdam office Edge West. And that included some big names like Prorail, Nationale Nederlanden, ING, Saxion University and PWC.”

And what was your goal in this?

Michiel: “Making things sustainable on your own is fine, but making things sustainable together may go faster. And APG may not be quite ‘best in class’ yet, but we are leading the way within the Netherlands when it comes to making our services more sustainable. We wanted to share the knowledge we gained from the tenders for services in Edge West with our facilities colleagues so that we can take a step forward as a sector. In doing so, we also hope to encourage other clients to create more volume on the demand side and to encourage providers to move faster on sustainability.”


What did the day look like?

Michiel: “We had conversations with each other. Together we looked for ways to secure our sustainability ambition and specifications within our own facilities organization and in the contracts and cooperation with suppliers. This happened, for example, in break-out sessions. Questions that were central this day were: ‘How can we learn even more from each other?’, ‘How can we inspire each other?’ and ‘How can we form a collective to accelerate sustainable operations, including with the service providers?’”


Was it a successful event?

Camiel: “Definitely; we are very positive and excited! Together with the facilities professionals we have defined a common ambition: to accelerate to a fully regenerative FM in 2030 together. This goes even beyond our own ambitions of ‘circular and climate neutral operations by 2030’. This does indicate that there is a drive among most clients to accelerate with sustainability. In addition, we shared and discussed our own sustainability specifications.”

Michiel: “As organizers, it was great to experience how the participants encouraged each other to jointly take this step. We are also quite proud that our sustainability specifications are such a good match, including for other companies.”

That all sounds positive. How will you proceed now?

Camiel: “All the input has been enriched jointly with our partners and shared again with the sector this week. Every facilities organization can now accelerate sustainability on its own with our foundation and challenge the market to accelerate service sustainability. We did abandon the term Sustainable FM foundation. This is because we must continue to innovate and accelerate, and a foundation may suggest that we are ready. So, we prefer to speak of a springboard, by which we want to represent that you can keep moving forward.”

Michiel: “The Springboard Sustainable FM will continue with a sustainability community that aims to bring clients together and encourage inspiration and knowledge sharing. Themes such as circular economy, biodiversity and climate-positive services are going to be discussed here.”

What will our own APG staff notice about this and what can they themselves contribute to the ambitions?

Michiel: “We are not there yet. Just making our accommodation and contracts more sustainable does not mean that we are or will become truly sustainable. As employees, we may make the biggest impact. As described above, demand often determines supply. Services like sustainable catering at Edge West should also be tried. We received very positive feedback on the all-plant-based appetizers! To people involved in purchasing new materials or services, I would say: talk to PG Procurement Services and potential suppliers. There is already a lot of knowledge about sustainability within APG, and asking about it is the first step!”