London is one of the most dynamic and exciting places in the world and our own area of east London and the Thames Gateway perhaps the most dynamic of all. The challenges of redeveloping and reconfiguring the economy of such a large area requires business to take a leadership role. Since the project started in 1987, Canary Wharf Group and the original developer Olympic and York promoted new infrastructure, along with changes to the planning and economic policies of London and the UK.
Perhaps inevitably, tenant companies moving to the Canary Wharf estate, particularly from the square mile, have increasingly looked to Canary Wharf Group to help represent their interests and to stand alongside them when making their case to local, regional, national and sometimes even international governments.
Where appropriate, Canary Wharf Group has been prepared to take on this role. For example during the late 2000s the company became a major sponsor of the financial services sector organisation International Financial Services London, and then helping the organisation merge into the powerful new body CityUK.
We are passionate and unapologetic cheerleaders for London as a destination for inward investment – after all Canary Wharf itself was the product of overseas investors and visionaries. We have been represented on the board of London’s inward investment agency Think London and the agency for the local London Thames Gateway area Gateway to London.
As responsible property developers we have played a full role in the organisations representing our industry and other businesses in London. We are active members of London First, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Docklands Business Club, Visit London, the Confederation of British Industry, the British American Chamber of Commerce and the Town and Country Planning Association. We have also been members of the British Property Federation.
As part of our commitment to sustainable development, we are founder members of the UK Green Building Council and the London Mayor’s Better Buildings Partnership where we are working with other developers to continuously improve our environmental performance. This work has led to us being named as one of the Sunday Times’ Leading Green Companies in each year of the survey so far – ahead of almost all other companies in our sector.
Health and Safety is of paramount importance, particularly to our construction company Canary Wharf Contractors Limited and our management company Canary Wharf Management Limited. We are proud to have won Royal Society of Prevention of Accidents Gold awards for the last three years on our major projects.
We have also promoted new transport links to east London, playing a crucial role in the design, promotion and funding of the Crossrail project, and a supportive and campaigning role in the new East London Line Extension. Together with our engagement on the upgrade to the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee Line, these transport improvements are already making a huge difference to the connectivity and transport capacity of our surrounding neighbourhoods. Our tenants and the local community are kept regularly informed of progress and work on transport links via the Canary Wharf Transport Forum.
In all these organisations, Canary Wharf Group has been an active member or partner represented by a senior director from the company and usually at Board level in the organisation. Our policy has been that we will only join an organisation if we can have a real impact and be of significant benefit.
Perhaps of equal importance to our formal representational roles is our work in partnership with other businesses and groups. For some years we have been informally working in partnership with other major economic players in east London including the London 2012 Olympics and the Olympic Park Legacy Company, City Airport, the O2 owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, Maritime Greenwich, Greenwich University and the Royal Naval College, and the Excel exhibition centre. This engagement helps keep us in touch with what is happening around us and also enables us to jointly promote activity to our tenants such as the new International Convention Centre based at Excel and the new London City to New York flight operated by BA.
We are proud of our location in the Thames Gateway and work closely with local bodies such as the Thames Gateway London Partnership, which represents the local authorities of the sub-region. We have sponsored joint events and joint programmes of research to make sure that the business community and the representatives of local people present a common set of objectives when making the case for further investment in our part of London.
For details of our strategic partnerships with local social regeneration agency East London Business Alliance, charitable foundation IDCF and with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, see the sections on economic development and community engagement.
Canary Wharf Group is “just a property company”. But given our unique and strategically vital role as the custodian and nurturer of the new economic motor for east London, we have stepped up when required to take a leading position and rally others to important causes.