Landscape industry could do more in encouraging sustainable practice

Report suggests room for improvement on sustainability
Report suggests room for improvement on sustainability

A survey of 100 landscape professionals, garden designers and landscape architects suggests that fewer than a fifth of clients (19%) are asking for sustainability to be part of a brief.

The survey, undertaken by Palmstead Nurseries ahead of its Strictly Sustainable workshop on 16 September, questioned participants on their plant choices, carbon footprint and their clients’ knowledge and appetite for sustainability.

The results reveal that only half of those questioned were using sustainably sourced plants, with fewer than a quarter (23%) using recycled concrete and just 39% integrating sustainably sourced water into their projects.

Half of those questioned (51%) felt that the industry was on the right track but that more could be done in terms of embracing sustainability, while a quarter said they ‘still didn’t feel sufficiently equipped to know enough about their carbon footprint’.

When asked what factors prevented them from planting as much as they’d like sustainably, most respondees (80%) blamed the client; with 58% saying their clients lacked interest in or understanding of the issue, and 22% saying it was down to client budget.

When asked who could best affect change, the results were spread evenly between the industry, government and planners, says Palmstead, ‘showing that we believe there is a shared responsibility to tackle the issue of creating sustainable designs and schemes’.

‘The results reveal a need for us as an industry to tackle how we can better sell-in the concept of sustainability,’ says marketing manager Nick Coslett.

‘While larger high profile projects have sustainability built in, this is not as apparent in smaller scale schemes and especially at the domestic level,’ he adds. ‘What is very evident is a need for us to take this debate wider, to take it outside the confines of our industry so that we can engage our clients.’

Speakers at Palmstead Nurseries’ 2015 Soft Landscape Workshop ‘Strictly Sustainable’, include Dusty Gedge, Noel Farrer, Sue Biggs, Mary Reynolds, Tim O’Hare, Ken Trew and Brita von Schoenaich.

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