Slavery: A Very Modern Problem

Almost two centuries since slavery was abolished across the British Empire, slavery has remained an issue. Although slavery has now been abolished globally, it continues to be practiced in many forms and presents a challenge to supply chain management.

The term ‘Modern Slavery’ itself encompasses slavery, servitude, human trafficking and forced or compulsory labour. The Global Slavery Index estimates that nearly 45.8 million people in 167 countries are in some form of modern slavery, this rises further when statistics relating to human trafficking are included. However, it is widely believed that these statistics underestimate the true scale of the problem.

In October 2015, the UK government introduced the Modern Slavery Act to assist in tackling this. The Act includes a transparency in supply chain provision whereby businesses with an annual turnover of £36m or more must produce a statement each year setting out the steps they have taken in the last 12 months to address instances of modern slavery in their supply chain. A link to the statement must be publicly visible on the business’ homepage and be signed by an appropriate senior person in the business.

Interestingly, a recent review by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre of 75 company statements found that only 22 met the minimum legal requirements such as a director signatory and a link to the statement on their website’s homepage. Of those that met the minimum requirements only 9 reported on all 6 criteria suggested by the Act. However, this is likely indicative of the stage many companies are at in addressing risks from Modern Slavery.

This is the first year in which companies are publishing statements, and the government acknowledges that it is not a level playing field for all companies. Many companies had already left the starting block with sufficient policies and checks in place to meet the requirements of the Act. However, for many others their first statements show they are starting to act on the issue and the steps they plan to put in place to address supply chain risks.

To comply with the Act, we recommend the following six steps are taken:

  • Scope your supply chain and assess key areas for risk
  • Establish policies to address modern slavery
  • Embed Modern Slavery within existing due diligence processes
  • Engage and seek assurances from service providers and/or contractors
  • Audit responses
  • Publish a Transparency in Supply Chain Statement each year

We are already helping some of our clients with the transparency in supply chain component of the Modern Slavery Act.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Environmental Management Systems: Plan-Do-Check-Act…Deliver?

At the 2016 GRESB Results Global Launch in London, Nils Kok, GRESB CEO and founder, iterated the importance of operating an Environmental Management System (EMS) to implement practical and tailored sustainability solutions.

This is a position that we at EVORA fully support and have seen deliver notable improvements for our clients through protecting and enhancing the performance of their real estate assets and funds.

An EMS is structured according to ISO’s Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology.

A defined approach is required to understand issues, such as risk and opportunity, that are relevant to your business and real estate portfolio (PLAN). Actions will need to be taken to mitigate risks and implement opportunities (DO). A robust and structured methodology is required to measure the impact of these actions and track progress against targets (CHECK). Our proprietary software, SIERA, proved immensely beneficial in supporting the CHECK element of an EMS by reducing errors and improving efficiency in uploading Performance Indicator data through GRESB’s automated data uploader. Finally, adaption and enhancement of your strategy should be considered based on the outcome of your programmes (ACT).

GRESB addresses several key areas of an EMS within their survey such as management responsibilities, communication, training, objectives and, importantly, the results they are delivering. Developing an EMS therefore seems an appropriate approach to score well in GRESB.

We supported 41 GRESB submissions this year and as a result we have pooled a great selection of results from a broad range of clients and funds. This includes several clients, including Schroder Real Estate and Deutsche Asset Management, where we have operated an EMS over a number of years.

Impact of an EMS on GRESB Score

Overall, GRESB scores for our clients with an established EMS* were 14% higher than the GRESB average. This compares to an overall score 5% lower than GRESB average for funds without an EMS. Better than average performance was achieved in each of the seven GRESB aspects for funds with an EMS, whereas funds without an EMS only scored better than average in two aspects.

The results for our clients are conclusive; if you have an established EMS you are more likely to score better in GRESB than peers who do not have an EMS.

Chasing GRESB points will result in a satisfying Green Star. However, managing risk and enhancing asset value is a fundamental fiduciary duty of a fund manager. Therefore, we looked at quantitative evidence to identify whether the presence of an EMS was delivering results, as recorded through GRESB benchmark reports. The findings were impressive:

  • Average annual like-for-like energy reduction of 10%
  • Annual like-for-like energy reduction of 17,697MWh
  • Estimated annual energy saving of £1.3m
  • Carbon reduction of 9,040 tonnes.

Identifying the value of GRESB on fund performance is a complex task with many different interpretations on ‘value’. However, the results we have seen demonstrate two things:

  1. If you have an established EMS, you will perform better than the GRESB global average
  2. An EMS can and is delivering very notable improvements (to the tune of £1.3m) for our clients.

(* We consider an established EMS to be one that is fully aligned with or certified to ISO14001 and which has been operating for at least two years.)

To learn more about implementing an Environmental Management System, SIERA, or how we can support you with GRESB, please get in touch.

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5 Reasons You Should Attend The 40 Percent Symposium on 3rd Nov

EVORA is delighted to be co-hosting the 7th Annual 40 Percent Symposium, taking place on Thursday 3rd November 2016 at the Regent Hotel in Berlin.

Since the first event in London in 2011, The 40 Percent Symposium has established itself as the leading resource for those working in sustainability within the commercial real estate sector, focusing specifically on the impact that sustainability has on the value of commercial property.

Its mission is to bring its delegates the latest thinking on sustainability in commercial real estate investment, occupation and ownership.

Here are five reasons you should attend this year’s Symposium…


1. Return to Germany

This year marks a welcome return of the 40 Percent Symposium to Germany, after having been held in London in 2015. As Germany continues to be a world leader in both the renewable energy sector and sustainable policymaking, Berlin seems like a natural host city for this year’s Symposium.

Discover a bit about the Regent Berlin.


2. New Hosts & Organisers Reinvigorating the Event

One of the biggest changes to this year’s Symposium is that it has brand new co-hosts and organisers; our German consultancy partner, ES EnviroSustain, and us!

Here’s what my colleague and Managing Partner at ES EnviroSustain, Dr. Birgit Memminger-Rieve, has to say about this year’s Symposium:

“We are very excited to reinvigorate the event this year and to bring it back to Germany, where the Symposium has always attracted the leaders from the European commercial real estate sector, gaining continuously excellent feedback.

We are also delighted to give our Symposium an even more international and also practical focus with our Best Practice session in the afternoon, when we will be welcoming experts from Sponda (Finland), Vasakronan (Sweden), deematrix and Grundfos (both Germany), and Sonae Sierra (Portugal) just to name a few.”

Learn more about the Symposium and its organisers.


3. Hear From 15 Guest Speakers

This year’s Symposium has some excellent speakers lined up, including Martin Brühl from Union Investment and Thies Grothe from ZIA in our Politics Session, which will look at Europe’s way to carbon neutrality for the real estate sector.

Our second session will look at not only the risks, but also the multiple opportunities for the sector. We are delighted to welcome Whitney Austin Gray from the United States to talk about health and wellbeing for building users, and Lonneke Löwik from the Netherlands to give you some insights about GRESB and how it can help to better manage all aspects of sustainability.

View all 15 Guest Speakers.


4. An Engaging, Cutting-Edge Agenda

This year’s Symposium will identify how and if the sustainability discussion/hype around 2007-2011 has found its way into the daily business procedures of investors, landlords, and project developers.  Focusing on three core sessions of politics, economics & risks and global best practice, with a keynote address from Martin Brühl, Managing Director of Union Investment and RICS Past President 2015/2016, as well as packed agenda of industry leaders, sharing their insight on the future and best practice of sustainability in commercial real estate.

View the full agenda.


5. Network With Your Peers From Across Europe

And last but not least… The Symposium is well-known for being an excellent opportunity to meet with colleagues, learn from each other’s experiences, and make new acquaintances.

The format of the conference encourages open and informal discussion between industry leaders on the key topics impacting the industry. Key trends and new best practices are highlighted, enabling investors, portfolio owners and project developers to make decisions that will ensure that the investments and acquisitions made in the present, will deliver profit and value going forward, whilst continuing to be sustainable.

“To come to a 40 Percent Symposium is to join a committed and thoughtful audience of like-minded property and investment professionals who understand the need to deliver a sustainable future in property.”

John Pike, 40 Percent Symposium Founder

Register your attendance today!

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Join the 40 Percent LinkedIn Group

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2016 GRESB Results Day!

GRESB results are out today.

Visit our GRESB support service page.

In 2016, there were 759 entries covering 63 countries. The gross asset value of companies and funds reporting was $2.8 trillion.

Here at EVORA, we’re working hard to review our client results and analyse progress against previous submissions. Findings are positive, reflecting work done by our clients to improve ESG policies and practices and to strengthen data collection through use of our SIERA software platform.

Our findings appear to reflect UK wide results. The average GRESB Score of UK companies and funds improved from 58 in 2015 to 63 in 2016. Furthermore, GRESB states that companies and funds in the UK continue to outperform those in Europe (although Australia and New Zealand lead with an overall score of 74).

An initial review of overall performance data is also interesting. A like-for-like reduction in energy consumption of 0.67% was reported in the UK (0.96% in Europe). Carbon emissions fell by 3.6% (0.6% in Europe) and water consumption also fell by 1.33% (0.7% Europe).

We will provide more detail and measured analysis of GRESB results in due course. Stay tuned, and don’t forget to subscribe to our updates by using the form in the sidebar.

EVORA is a GRESB Premier Partner.

This year, our software SIERA delivered the automation of data transfer into GRESB for 41 submissions and more than €20bn of assets, with clients including Deutsche Asset Management, Schroder Real Estate, Rockspring, and AEW.

To talk to us about GRESB or to request a demo of SIERA, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Further reading on GRESB and SIERA:


GRESB Premier PartnerAs a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner, we are perfectly positioned to provide GRESB support. View our official Premier Partner profile.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.