Retail Real Estate Experts talk about their life and career on Bayfield Training Blog.

Carol Wakelin

Environmental Manager at Queensgate Shopping Centre



SANDRA: You are the Environmental Manager at Queensgate shopping centre. Is it still an unusual responsibility to have or is it more common now for shopping centres to invest in sustainability?

CAROL: It is definitely more common now for investment into sustainability and to include resource efficiencies within planned projects and PPM. But it is still unusual to have a dedicated person as part of the centre team.

SANDRA: Many think that sustainability can’t help to reduce expenditure. Do you have any examples from your experience where initiatives changed people’s minds?

CAROL: There are many examples of reducing expenditure and making savings which have been identified centre wide including within tenant service charge. Rebates from waste segregation can offset the budget/service charge, ‘switch it off’ campaigns can reduce monthly invoices and monitoring and measuring can tweak those schedules for heating and lighting. Showing people the actual annual financial savings possible by turning an AHU off one hour earlier each day, inspires them to evaluate other sustainable opportunities.

“Over the last couple of years, retailers in the sustainability programme were reducing their use of energy and water, and improving their recycling and reusing.”


SANDRA: You have accomplished so much during your years at Queensgate. Can you name some of your greatest achievements?

CAROL: Growing Greener – it feels like my baby which is developing. Over the last couple of years, retailers in the sustainability programme were reducing their use of energy and water, and improving their recycling and reusing. It makes good business sense and becomes part of the culture giving the environmental status of the entire building and working with many external agencies building up a great network.

The recent achievement is a well-known across the world eco standard ISO14001:2015. I am so happy that we were the first shopping centre to achieve in in January 2016 in such a short time since the release of the standard. We have chosen to achieve the voluntary standard as part of its commitment to the environment that is embedded within the culture of the management team.

SANDRA: How do you achieve cooperation between tenants, employees and shoppers?

CAROL: I just keep working at it with numerous communication types but, not too much that I bore people always trying to get that balance. Hopefully some enthusiasm rubs off and then I get the engagement, but again the financial benefits make everyone’s eyes light up.

SANDRA: What is the next step for improvements in Queensgate?

CAROL: We have a great new development which is currently in planning and this includes solar panels and grey water harvesting – very exciting and to continue with our Natural Ventilation.

There is also a mall refresh to start early next year which will include LED’s improved controlled lighting zones, to bright up the 34-year-old mall.

SANDRA: After the success of the Queensgate sustainable project, do you think that JLL will implement the same strategy to the whole portfolio?

CAROL: JLL are taking the Growing Greener concept seriously and looking at sharing it across many of their retail portfolios. This should be a real benefit to enhancing sustainability, tenant engagement and communication.