EVORA Global strengthens its global presence with new operations in Singapore

EVORA Global is delighted to announce their collaboration with Paia Consulting, a specialist Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) consultancy in Singapore offering a wide range of sustainability services targeting the real estate and property investment market in Asia Pacific.

This collaboration is a result of EVORA and Paia’s complementarity to provide high-value ESG consultancy services such as GRESB Real Estate assessments, net zero and climate analysis, sustainability reporting and disclosures to real estate and property investment clients in Asia. 

The strategic collaboration with Paia Consulting further strengthens EVORA’s global growth plans whilst increasing the evolution and adoption of ESG principles in real estate investment in the Asia Pacific region.

Sonny Masero, EVORA Chief Strategy Officer said of the collaboration:

“EVORA Global is now serving clients in every region – investors’ concerns about ESG are becoming the norm in major markets. When seeking a partner in APAC we wanted to find one that shared our vision and values. We have found that in Paia and the leadership provided by Carrie and Corrado. They see the potential to use SIERA to enable their consultancy business to grow bigger and more efficiently, reducing the time spent by their consulting team on data collection and data quality checks. Together, our consulting businesses in partnership, will be adding value to our clients by working with the best talent and intelligence in South-East Asia and in Europe.”

Carrie Johnson, Paia Founding Director:

“This collaboration with EVORA enables Paia to bring additional value to our clients. The enriches our capability to deploy technology, access insights and experience from Europe, UK and USA for our leading real estate companies and REITs to capitalize on their sustainability efforts and initiatives. We look forward to working with Sonny and the EVORA team, bringing software solutions to our clients, and further strengthening our GRESB offerings in Asia Pacific.” 

To find out how EVORA and Paia’s partnership can help you to create more sustainable buildings and communities, please contact us today.

Roundtable: the “gap” between real asset valuations and investment value

In March, EVORA Insights’ fourth roundtable focused on integrating climate risk into real estate asset valuation and assessing investment value. The discussion was more diverse than just technical adjustments to acquisition models and IC memos.

Our clients’ focus on achieving actual net mitigation and adaptation, rather than simply de-risking an investment or portfolio, was striking.

In all, it seems that many firms are incorporating climate risks and opportunities into their investment process, but with little consistency in how it’s actually quantified or whether it’s formally embedded into valuation models.

Value vs. Price

A distinction was made between traditional valuation methods that the valuation/appraisal community use, and pricing in the context of transactions.

In the former case, few if any valuers are incorporating climate risk into property valuations. Aside from perhaps EPC ratings where relevant policy is in place; little to none when it comes to other forward-looking climate risks.  

In the case of transactions, some actors are adjusting their pricing. An ongoing challenge is whether those climate risk-adjusted prices actually win deals, when there are still willing buyers who do not account for climate risk. This was noted as especially challenging in hot sectors and markets (i.e. industrial).

Integrating future risk into acquisition models

There is anecdotal evidence of investment managers making adjustments to various inputs and assumptions in acquisition models to price in climate risk.

One method is to budget for additional CapEx for decarbonisation or adaptation measures, depending how much is needed by the asset and how ambitious a fund’s goals are.

Other methods noted include adjusting Cap Rates (particularly on exit) as a proxy for risk, or establishing specific investment criteria (i.e. red lines).

Data and transparency

These are key tools to pricing climate risk, but are cited as an common challenge. The specific data concerns vary across physical vs. transition risks, as well as geographies.

When it comes to estimating physical risks, many of the leading third-party tools and methodologies focus exclusively on direct damage to buildings, often captured in insurance claim data. But this can exclude potentially material impacts to utility expenses from more extreme temperatures, rising insurance premiums, disrupted access to buildings or tenant discomfort, and all of the broader market-level impacts of increasing climate hazards in a given city or region.

On the transition risk side, data concerns centered around how incomplete the carbon performance story is for most buildings. In Europe, Scope 3 emissions data is unsurprisingly a major thorn, and EPC ratings do not paint a picture of an asset’s actual performance. New regulations in France do appear to be making energy and carbon data from buildings more transparent.

Interestingly, the U.S. seems to be ahead in terms of accessing tenant data and historical carbon performance of many assets, largely due to landlords paying for the main meters and recharging tenants plus the mandatory energy benchmarking regulations established by most major cities and counties.

The ubiquity of the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool’s usage in the commercial real estate space was cited as an advantage – buyers can often request a download of the building’s actual energy, carbon, and water performance from the seller, avoiding the need to guestimate its performance.

The notion of a digital ESG passport that sticks with an asset throughout its life-cycle and captures much of what an ENERGY STAR download would include (plus embodied carbon information, in an ideal world) could be a key to appropriate valuation.

Another risk category was cited as critical to consider at the fund and house level: reputational risk. Even if climate risk-adjusted pricing hasn’t reached a tipping point in the markets yet, firms and funds are considering the consequences of continuing business-as-usual investment strategies. Greenwashing is considered a material risk now, particularly in light of the SFDR and new climate disclosure rules from the FCA and SEC.

Policy gaps

The gap between the policy / market realities and the science-based targets was brought up, indicating that markets are not yet reflecting the risks to a timely and orderly transition. Some expressed a belief that legislation was the only way to drive that change by levelling the playing field between competitors as well as opening up access to tenant data. Otherwise, how will pricing adjustments for transition-readiness take hold?

Frameworks such as the TCFD recommendations are encouraging development of the financial quantifications of climate risks, but provide little practical guidance on how to do so by sector.

However, this type of industry collaboration was seen as a positive example of how this agenda could be progressed effectively. As long as it doesn’t duplicate existing initiatives from industry bodies like the BBP and INREV.

Investment strategy and time matters

There remains some hope that, even without strong legislation, institutional investors will be seeking Core assets that are already well on the path to Net Zero, and will be willing to pay more for lower carbon buildings. This can help justify Value-add investments in decarbonisation measures by current owners in anticipation of the sale and potentially adjusted pricing in the future.  In contrast, tenants were not seen to be moving the needle via demand for greener buildings, despite hopes that they would and corporate occupiers’ climate commitments to the contrary. This presents a challenge to underwriting investment in these properties today.

When thinking about longer term risks, a fund with an average holding period of five or six years may coast by just fine without adjusting their approach. However, there is recognition that climate risk awareness and data quality is increasing, and buyers in just a few years’ time may have new demands that could result in depreciation and reduced liquidity.

If the role of Value-Add funds today is to prepare assets for acquisition by Core investors in the future, climate risk (particularly Net Zero readiness) will need to be considered in the investment plan. Many of these considerations — achieving NZC, establishing an internal carbon price, adapting to hotter temperatures, etc. – may be different for REITs than for fund managers of third party assets.

What is a “green asset,” anyway? 

Standards overkill was cited as a distraction from getting real decarbonisation work done. Divergence in definitions of a “green” asset across dozens of certification schemes results in inconsistencies among owners, and muddies the ability to answer this question for standards such as SFDR.

Often these standards obscure the actual performance of a building and the related risks.

In summary

  • Work is being done to integrate climate risk into pricing and investment decision making, with varying degrees of sophistication.
  • The most common levers for integration include CapEx, Cap Rates, and investment boundaries.
  • While investment teams are beginning to upskill on the subject, actual methods of integrating into acquisition models differ significantly. Hesitation persists when it comes to “putting your money where your mouth is,” for fear of reducing competitiveness.
  • More complete data and projections on climate risk are needed to establish consistency in pricing.
  • Legislation may be key in driving this forward. However, the number of standards, frameworks, and reporting requirements are already burdensome.
  • Investment strategies, market cycles, and other structural trends make a difference.

It’s clear there is a great deal of work left to do. It was heartening, though, that almost every strand of this discussion came back to actual impact and progress toward Net Zero Carbon goals. At least for this group of peers (which admittedly has some selection bias), double materiality is top of mind.

How relevant will the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures be to the Real Estate sector?

There is a growing understanding that biodiversity loss and climate change are interlinked crises. Climate change degrades many ecosystems and makes the species within them more vulnerable; a decline in biodiversity reduces the ability of ecosystems to act as a carbon sink and to provide resilience for human populations through ecosystem services. The second part of COP15 Biodiversity Conference, being held in China this year from the 25th of April to the 8th of May, is expected to yield a Paris-style agreement to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and make commitments a part of binding national policies for the first time.

In the UK, the soon-to-be-introduced Biodiversity Net Gain policy (part of the Environment Act 2021) will require property developers to deliver a 10% net gain in biodiversity levels either on-site or off-site through biodiversity credits. Globally, and particularly in the UK, it appears that biodiversity loss is receiving a similar level of interest that climate change was seeing 5-10 years ago and is rapidly climbing the corporate agenda.

The key risk management and disclosure framework emerging to deal with nature and biodiversity is the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures. It is being developed by a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including many of the world’s largest financial institutions. The TNFD will provide a framework to allow organizations to report on the risks and opportunities they face from biodiversity with the aim of shifting financial flows to create a nature-positive economy. The first beta version has just been released with the final version expected in 2023.

Like the TCFD, it will use the same pillars of Governance, Strategy, Risk Management and Metrics & Targets to structure disclosures. Unlike the TCFD, the TNFD is likely to directly incorporate the concept of double materiality within the framework and require users to report their impact on nature as well as nature’s impact on them. In light of recent criticism of ESG assessments which only focus on a company’s bottom line rather than their wider impact, this is a positive step.

So how significant is this likely to be for the Real Estate sector? A report published in 2020 from the World Economic Forum found that the construction sector was highly dependent on nature, with the real estate sector being moderately dependent. This is unsurprising given the huge material inputs that the construction and maintenance of buildings require, particularly if the sector intends on moving towards the use of structural timber at a large scale.

If nature is neglected, supply chains for natural fibres and timber could become more vulnerable due to issues around soil quality, pests and the decreased climate resilience brought about by a fall in biodiversity. Once buildings are in operation, nature plays a key role in maintaining their value by protecting against flooding, providing clean water, reducing temperatures during heatwaves and, for many buildings, creating a pleasant environment. As mentioned above, the real estate development sector in the UK must now meet rules around biodiversity such as Biodiversity Net Gain and the London Plan’s Urban Greening Factor. Nature is clearly a key factor in the construction of real estate and in the preservation of its value, as well as being the focus of increasing legal requirements.

Adopting the TNFD will be a difficult task for the industry given the complexity of nature and the challenge this causes for creating useful data. Helpfully, many of the steps that the real estate sector is already taking to reduce emissions and vulnerability to climate change will also limit the harm done to nature, such as reducing material use and incorporating nature-based solutions into developments. With the experience gained from the TCFD, the financial system is in a better position to rise to the challenge.

10 volunteers and a week of sleep

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that we all love to sleep. Nothing beats getting in between the covers after a long hard day and drifting off. However, the importance of sleep and all the ways it affects your body and mind might not be so well known. That’s why, for World Sleep Day on March 18th 2022, our Health & Wellness team decided to run a Sleep Week challenge for ten volunteers.

It might sound obvious, but the better you sleep, the better you feel. As your memories are consolidated when you sleep, a restful brain will imprint more positive experiences. An overtired brain will hold on to the negative memories more. The impact this could have on your waking life is huge, with negative imprints leading to anxiety and even depression. As well as our mental health, a good night’s sleep can help with healthier hair, fewer bags under the eyes, and even less wrinkles!

So why don’t we spend more time getting ready for sleep and ensuring we have the best sleep we possibly can? This was the challenge for our volunteers, who had the opportunity to try a different method each night to see if it helped them get to sleep quicker and have an overall deeper sleep.

Before the week began, we encouraged the volunteers to download a sleep tracker app called Sleep Cycle. The team took readings off from the app at the weekends to see a baseline of their night’s sleep. This app was great at highlighting the days when people were in a deep or light sleep. Unfortunately, it also picked up when people snored, which was a surprise to many of us!

Monday

We jumped into the week with a sleep cast. The team were dubious to begin with, not believing that listening to a story would actually help. However, they were pleasantly surprised at how quickly they dozed off – not one member of the team could tell you the ending of the story they were listening to.

Results: 6.4/10 on how comfortable the team felt using the app

Tuesday

Tuesday evening had a more traditional approach. The team had a range of Pukka Night Time teas to try and lavender pillow spray. This really helped people get to sleep quickly – the only issue for one person was the cats deciding 4am was a good time to play! It’s converted Madeleine, who found this the easiest habit to implement and will be going over to decaf teas before bed.

Results: 7.1/10 on falling asleep faster than usual

Wednesday

Huge thanks to our very own Matt who led the meditation with Headspace on Wednesday. The first half was a rain-based meditation to get you in the right frame of mind, followed by a led meditation in the second half. This must have worked too well, as we had two team members who were still on the call at midnight! Ingrid really noticed what the mind is capable of with meditation but how often it can be very difficult to relax the brain and stop concentrating.

Results: 7.75/10 on how they slept that night

Thursday

Our in-house DJ Ros created a Sleep playlist for the team for Thursday night. Unfortunately, this was the night where the team felt the most stressed during the day, which could be why it only scored a 5.5/10 in helping volunteers get to sleep quickly. A Sleep playlist could be good if you’ve not had a crazy day and have an account with Spotify or YouTube – you really don’t want the adverts to disturb you as you drift off.

Results: 7.25/10 on their stress levels for the day

Friday

We were very lucky to have a Yoga Nidra instructor lead a session with us on Friday – huge thanks to Liz – which is very different from any yoga you may have done before. The biggest difference was that our volunteers could be under their duvet for the second half. This sleep event was by far the favourite of the week, with the highest score of 8.25/10 on how comfortable volunteers felt doing the Yoga Nidra. The team had the best night’s sleep of the week too, with some drifting off during the session, and one who felt like she had an out-of-body experience during the session. However, this could be that she just fell asleep, she’s not too sure!

Results: 8.25/10 on how they slept that night

From all the sleep events the team tried, yoga had the highest impact on the team. Volunteers couldn’t believe how neglected some of their body parts were and how challenging they found some of the movements. The effect it had on the body was huge, with immediate results – the sleep tracking app reflected deep and longer periods of sleep on Friday.

Overall, the week was a huge success. Belen felt that this week allowed her to enter a special mindset to schedule sleep properly. By preparing to go to sleep and allowing her body to fully relax, she improved her sleep dramatically. This is definitely something we all should strive for, making our sleep routines as peaceful as possible (yes, the cats might need to go in the other room!) and giving ourselves the best chance of a long and deep sleep.

EVORA achieves Planet Mark certification

We are very proud to announce that EVORA has achieved Planet Mark certification for the 8th year running.

The Planet Mark is an internationally recognised certification based on sustainability standards and its mission is to help us all contribute to a thriving planet as a collective force. The certification represents an organisation’s commitment to sustainability programmes to actively reduce environmental and social harm. 

In a key step forward, this year we have measured our social value contribution and carbon reduction.

Social value is the net social and environmental benefit generated to society by an organisation, expressed in ‘£’. In 2021, EVORA generated £24,615 in social value.

In order to measure our social value, EVORA had to submit data and evidence on a number of indicators.

These were:

  • Our People
  • Community and Volunteering
  • Donations
  • Procurement
  • Environmental Impacts

Last year, EVORA reduced its total carbon by 38.6% from the previous year, a 44.3% carbon reduction per employee.

The emissions considered have been obtained from different sources: Electricity, T&D Losses, Natural Gas, Water, Business Travel, Homeworking (excluded from footprint).

We look forward to completing the assessment again next year as we continue to drive our commitment to generate further social value opportunities and to reduce our carbon emissions yearly so that together we can all halt climate change.

“I am proud that EVORA has received the Planet Mark certification for the 8th year running. This demonstrates our commitment to delivering positive outcomes for our people, our communities, and our environment. We will use this year’s results to drive further improvements next year, maximising social value for all.

Abigail Isherwood, Sustainability Consultant

Reconnecting

Suffice to say, it’s been a bizarre two years. It’s almost surreal now to be coming out of the pandemic and slowly making our way back to the office. After so much time working from home, it’s natural that a lot of staff were hesitant to come back in.

That’s where our Health and Wellness team stepped in. This awesome team have come up with a plan, to entice people back in to the office, but also to remind people to look after their mental health and wellbeing in these unusual times.

To do this? They’ve created a calendar for the year, with each month another theme. February’s theme was ‘reconnecting’, to get people talking and socializing with one another.

The aim of the game was to be paired up with another colleague, who you might never have spoken to, and have lunch together. Ideally, this would be in person, but as we have staff in six different countries and people still working remotely, it was fine to do via video too.

In total, 22 people signed up, and were paired up twice over a three week period. It was great to grab lunch together and chat, and as an added incentive, the Wellness team started a photo competition too – best photo and caption would win a lunch voucher.

My first lunch was with Imogen, who has just started at Evora. It was really cool getting to know one another over the Thorntons chocolates in the office.

A week, later, I met up with Ros – we’ve been talking over video for weeks now, so meeting in person was like meeting an old friend. We went out for lunch with Nat, and all of us really enjoyed getting out the office and talking about non-work things. Explaining to the server why we needed multiple shots of us posing in weird and fabulous ways was also a giggle!

Everyone had so much fun getting to know one another over the three weeks. It’s so important to feel belonging with others and create connections in the workplace – can definitely say that this months theme really helped with that.

Huge congratulations to Manuela and Ingrid who have won a food voucher to go towards their next lunchtime treat.

Stay tuned for next month’s theme and see how our group of volunteers find it!

EVORA Global strengthens its operations in Italy following the hire of Valentina Mauro as Head of Italy

EVORA is excited to welcome Valentina Mauro as Head of Italy. In addition, we have two sustainability consultants joining the EVORA Italy team this month, as demand for EVORA’s ESG advisory and software services to some of Italy’s leading real estate and financial organisations continues to grow.

Valentina has 15 years of experience in a range of sectors including real assets, financial and information technology, and has spent the last 3.5 years as Head of Italy for Deepki (a real estate software company) supporting the implementation of ESG strategies. She has worked with clients such as Generali Real Estate, Allianz and DeA Capital, providing expertise to develop and manage ESG projects.

Valentina has broad experience in strategic and management consulting as well as innovation to take companies to exponential growth, thanks to her international experience gained in Europe, Latin America and the United States.

Valentina joins during a period of significant growth for EVORA. She will be instrumental in managing the Italian business, leading the Company’s local ESG presence in Italy’s real estate, promoting the adoption and use of EVORA’s SIERA software platform among clients and supporting the Pan European EVORA team growth. 

“I am really happy to join EVORA Global as a Director and Head of Italy at such a great time when there are so many opportunities to develop the market and drive action for net zero transition. Working with highly talented and passionate people is extremely motivating and I can’t wait to contribute to the global growth of the Company”

Valentina Mauro, Head of Italy

“Valentina joins us as at critical point in both the wider market and our own transformation. Market drivers are increasingly demanding long term ESG strategies from the real asset investment markets.  The Italian real estate market continues to be an important region for our Clients and we are delighted to have someone with Valentina’s experience at the junction of strategy and software to support our strengthening presence in Italy, Continental Europe and more globally.”

Paul Sutcliffe, Co-Founder and Executive Director