EVORA achieves again Planet Mark certification

We are very proud to announce that EVORA has achieved Planet Mark certification for the 9th 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 2022, EVORA generated £440,962 in social value, £ 4,771 per employee. Social value is the net social and environmental benefit generated to society by an organisation, expressed in ‘£’.

EVORA is proud to share that through our Planet Mark partnership we helped contribute to protect 151,149 acres of rainforest, keep 22,337,002 trees standing and store 9,192,043 tonnes of carbon.

EVORA had a minimum reduction target of 0.6tCO2e in 2022 and contributed toward 5 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are a collection of 17 interrelated goals set by the United Nations to cover a broad range of social and economic development issues.

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.

“Putting the work in to achieve our Planet Mark certification always feels like a great annual achievement. Next year will make it a decade and I look forward to seeing what we achieve next!”

Hannah Worthington, EVORA Executive Assistant

“We are thrilled to receive our 9th certification from Planet Mark. I am especially proud of our social value results this year which are a major improvement on our previous performance. As ESG consultants to real estate, a market that is looking at social value more and more, our performance this year has absolutely demonstrated that we practice what we preach! Our efforts this year, from fundraising to volunteering, have made a material improvement to communities across Europe. Next year, it’ll be the world!”

Sarah Coughlan, EVORA Associate Director

My second, first job

Insights for prospective juniors who might not have had a job before, and what sets EVORA out from other organisations.

You could say that I’m a little bit longer in the tooth than your average Junior Consultant at the ripe old age of 28. I’ve found grey hairs, I make a strange noise whenever I have to pick something up off the floor or get up off the sofa, and TikTok just scares me to be honest.

However, although I might have lost some melanin over the years, I’ve gained some experience in the job market before becoming a Junior Consultant at EVORA; working in businesses from private start-ups to big multi-nationals with thousands of employees, and even a sprinkling of some public sector work.

My experience at EVORA has been different in a lot of ways to the organisations I have previously worked in, but here are the three things that I think set them apart from the rest, and that any prospective Junior should know.

The Culture

Organisations love to talk about their culture. It tends to be a buzzword that everyone uses and I know that when I hear it I’m often sceptical at best (cynical at worst). But there is genuinely a brilliant culture at EVORA and you honestly don’t quite believe it until you experience it first-hand.

EVORA work hard to make sure that everyone feels welcome, whether this is at a pizza and games night, office socials, volunteer days, or even a company-wide trip to the Lake District! You will have plenty of opportunities to get to know your colleagues on a personal level during activities unrelated to work.

On the work side of things, no matter who it is within the business, you’ll be greeted with a cheery smile and treated as one of the team straight away; and this is true regardless of where they are in the world, London, Milan, Hamburg, New York, Paris, Iasi, Bangalore or ESPECIALLY in sunny Bolton which is where I’m based. And if you have a concern about anything at all, you will ALWAYS get help. You’re encouraged to share ideas and if you feel there could be an improvement, don’t be shy; you can discuss it openly with your colleagues to find a solution and make things better. These might sound like small things, but they really do make all the difference.

Development

You don’t have all the answers right away, and that’s fine, no one expects you to! You are given formal training and will have a mentor to help you through the first few months of your time at EVORA. It’s a dynamic working environment in which you will be constantly upskilling and digesting knowledge on the real estate industry and ESG matters (and believe me there is a LOT to learn). EVORA invest in their people; and they understand that it is in their interest for you to possess more skills and knowledge, and encourage you to soak up as much as you can to deliver the high standard of work clients have come to expect. If you like to learn and improve your skillset, then EVORA will happily oblige and give you the opportunities for you to excel.

It’s also worth noting that you have a say in what you learn as well. If you hear of something interesting that another team might be doing, speak up and you can gain experience in that area by working with other colleagues. I work in the green finance team, but have had exposure to the work that the Net Zero team do, for example with on-site energy audits, and I’m currently working on a really interesting project for a socially sustainable life sciences fund – all within the first couple of months!

If you have a positive attitude, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, then EVORA is the work environment for you.

Purpose

Finally, a big one for me personally, and the reason why I took the decision to make a career change and moved into sustainability in the first place – purpose. Investment and finance can mean many things to different people, but from my perspective it can be considered as the link between now and the future. This means that investment decisions that are made today will impact the look and feel of the world we will one day live in, and ultimately pass on to future generations.

EVORA (and every individual I’ve met so far in the company) are committed to planet and people, and this feeds through into the work that EVORA do to support its clients; helping them ensure that their investments decisions are robust and deliver positive outcomes beyond just the balance sheet. You can be proud of the work you do here, and that counts for something.

So long story short, it’s a great company to be part of. If you’ve made it to end of the blog, then hopefully that means you’re interested in being one of the team, and I hope we will see each other soon, and that your first few months at EVORA will be as enjoyable as mine have been. Good luck!

How can sustainability software help real estate save energy? 

Investing in energy-saving sustainability software helps combat your surging energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint. Energy data insight, visual dashboards, and strategic action plans interact to optimise your energy usage, drive cost savings, and deliver a clear roadmap for net zero compliance and resilient assets. 

What is sustainability software? 

Sustainability software reveals a detailed analysis of your energy consumption and carbon footprint, equipping you with the knowledge you need to streamline operations, make fast data-driven decisions, and safeguard your assets from fluctuating energy markets and environmental risks. Tightening your energy belt is a smart financial move, while tracking carbon emissions optimises your net zero roadmap for resilient assets. 

When combined with expert energy management consultancy services and green finance, sustainability software not only trims your energy consumption and carbon output but leverages a sustainable advantage in commercial real estate. Getting more done with less on one purpose-built platform delivers multiple business benefits for and beyond sustainable energy-saving. Here’s how. 

How does sustainability software slash energy? 

Leverage data insight to save energy consumption 

Incorporating sustainability software into your business strategy is like having a powerful ally in your corner, who’s dedicated to optimising your energy consumption. Gathering data from several energy sources, like automatic meter readings (AMRs), sensors, and power monitoring software (PMS), sustainability technology keeps vigil over your energy usage. Whether you’re tracking energy metrics in real-time or at quarterly intervals, sustainability software automatically notifies your sustainability and asset teams when energy levels reach a specific threshold or when there’s a potential problem. Readily available data and alerts support responsive decision-making to save energy consumption, waste, and expenses. 

Imagine being able to compare your current energy habits with those of the past. Sustainability platforms do just that. Importing legacy and current data, sustainability software verifies and analyses energy consumption, water usage, waste treatment, and carbon emission timeframes to deliver a comprehensive overview of your sustainability operations. Finding changes in energy consumption and associated metrics supports better understanding of what’s causing those shifts over time, so you can take immediate corrective action to enhance underperforming assets threatening to affect your fund or portfolio. Robust data acquisition and validation pinpoints these “offending energy zones” to improve your high energy-consuming assets. 

At EVORA Global, our purpose-built SIERA sustainability platform centralises Action Plans for collaboration, visibility, and shared responsibility. Action Plans enable business teams to target asset energy consumption, track improvements over time, and strengthen responsive budgeting. Its sustainability software highlights emerging risk factors and identifies any inactivity threatening to jeopardise your progress towards achieving predetermined energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. Your top five sustainability impact categories are also visually highlighted to prioritise sustainability strategies. 

As AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), and NLP (Natural Language Processing) technologies advance, your sustainability data collections could generate scenario-based models and directly evaluate your progress against Paris Climate Agreement and Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM) targets. For example, an upcoming release of our SIERA platform will feature a CRREM-aligned Net Zero Carbon (NZC) feature to supply transparent, science-based decarbonisation pathways that aim to save energy, cut carbon emissions, and set targets for future timeframes for both environmental elements. 

Accessing and tracking sustainability data helps your real estate business anticipate changes in energy consumption trends to proactively respond to disruptive energy markets or supply chains. This informs smart financial budgeting. When selecting a market-leading sustainability software platform, it’s important to focus on automated sustainability data monitoring to keep up to date on changing energy costs. It’s a key driver for adaptive and resilient energy-saving decisions. Added to this, when your current performance and potential new improvements are clearly outlined in your sustainability software platform, alongside cost-savings, your business can better prepare, adapt, and control its energy consumption. 

It’s also crucial to ensure your energy-saving efforts are informed by accurate and reliable data, so pay heed to the adage “garbage in, garbage out” – low quality data generates inferior data insight. Sustainability software can review energy consumption data for all your assets to find data gaps or inconsistencies, and then recommend steps to address these weak points to deliver robust energy data collections worth their weight in gold. 

Visualise your energy data to maximise energy savings 

Sustainability software visually represents your valuable energy consumption, waste, and carbon emission data insight to display visual energy profiles. And handy dashboards highlight abnormal consumption trends or events for immediate attention. For example, SIERA detects anomalies in utility consumption patterns, which could relate to damaged or inefficient appliances using more energy than necessary. By finding these energy-draining operations and areas of waste, your real estate business can optimise its energy usage, reduce its energy waste, and improve its overall environmental impact. 

Track your energy emissions data to optimise your NZC roadmap 

Sustainability software helps real estate businesses capture, track, and measure scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions to accurately measure GHG emissions and achieve climate commitments. According to Closing the Climate Action Gap by BCG, only 9% of organisations measure their total emissions comprehensively, while 81% omit some scope 1 and 2 emissions, and 66% do not report any scope 3 emissions. Organisations also estimate an average error rate of 30-40% in their measurement. Without a complete understanding of your emissions, it can be difficult to set meaningful reduction priorities and track progress. 

Likewise, the GRESB 2022 Real Estate Assessment Results reveal a “slight decrease in energy, GHG, and water scores as a result of real estate portfolios returning to a pre-COVID-19 state of operations” and highlights that the “like-for-like (LFL) increase in energy consumption is most significant in Europe (3% LFL consumption change)” for real estate and investment funds. Going forward, energy and water consumption need to be kept in check. Sustainability software automates GHG data ingestion, tracking, and performance to set achievable reduction targets, helping businesses streamline operations and processes to advance climate commitments. 

Reducing direct and indirect emissions and saving energy consumption is also achieved by implementing physical energy-efficient measures. For example, lighting sensors and motion detectors identify uninhabited areas to control the right amount of light at the right time (daylight harvesting) and switch off idle electrical equipment. Investing in renewable energy sources like UV Solar or purchasing renewable energy from offsite wind turbines is key. Encouraging fuel-efficient vehicles, carpooling or alternative transport, and installing onsite EV (Electric Vehicle) car and bike charging stations helps. Implementing waste reduction and recycling, promoting sustainable practices across supply chains, installing insulation, energy-efficient windows, and high-efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems all contribute to energy-saving, but these tactics are beyond the scope of this blog. 

Report your energy data for energy-efficiency compliance 

Conserving energy in your commercial assets also promotes compliance with energy-efficiency regulations and standards. Automated sustainability software generates auditable energy consumption reports and audits to find energy-saving opportunities. In England and Wales, regulations for Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES) mandates that all new commercial property leases must reach a minimum E energy rating or risk penalties. These fines can range from 10% of the property’s rateable value, with a minimum fine of £5,000 and a maximum of £50,000. Starting April 2023, these minimum energy ratings and penalties will apply to all (not only new) leases. Furthermore, MEES is expected to become more stringent over coming years, uplevelling the threshold to a minimum C rating by 2027 and a B rating by 2030. 

To comply with these regulations and avoid penalties, it’s crucial to evaluate your real estate assets now and find those that fail to meet current or imminent new standards. Planning and budgeting for energy-saving upgrades and obtaining necessary approvals are core considerations. Sustainability software can supply Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) to prioritise your energy-efficiency measures, improve your asset value, and mitigate fines. 

Step beyond energy saving to build better assets 

Investing in sustainability software is a smart strategy to save energy and associated consumption or waste generation. It reduces your costs, improves your sustainability performance, and shows your commitment to protecting our planet. At EVORA Global, we’re always developing our SIERA sustainability software and expert consultancy services to help make your buildings more productive, profitable, and resilient to change. 

Don’t fall behind in sustainability technology. Contact the SIERA team (hello@sieraglobal.com) to find out how SIERA can reduce your energy consumption and carbon emissions to future-proof your real estate assets. 

Behind the scenes at EVORA in 2022

EVORA has had an amazing year. We’ve hired a lot of new people, growing 47% since 2021 as well as having a huge investment into this business this Autumn. Internally, we’ve raised over £11,000 for different charities and had so many varying activities each month for staff to join in with. There’s been beach and park cleans, as well as lectures in schools about what we do.

The London office also had a big move at the beginning of the year, moving the short distance to Birrane House. We now sit over Borough market, so are in no short supply of excellent places to eat lunch! We had some great feedback about our offices after we moved in and are looking forward to making the office even better in 2023.

We also opened our first office in New York. Ryan and Ed have both relocated over there and then we started hiring locally. We are so excited to see the New York office grow and appreciate how much impact we can have over there.

The Social Committee team grew and the Health and Wellness one was formed, both looking at the social side and wellbeing for all EVORians, in all seven countries! Each month both groups put on different activities and themes. I love the pizza and games night, especially when everyone globally joins in too; there’s something very wholesome when even the directors are getting involved in these nights. The Social Committee also focused on creating a Culture Calendar internally and a volunteer & charity group. Massive thanks to everyone involved!

The Health and Wellness team made sure our mental health was front and center this year, from organizing physical activities like Boot Camp and walking challenges to getting back to nature with Plant Power Month and involving the senses with Perfume Month. The whole Health and Wellness team deserve a huge round of applause for their hard work and dedication to helping others in EVORA.

EVORians also took part in two physical challenges, the Race the Thames in January and the Walk this May. For both, we raised money for charities. Not only was this a great opportunity to support great causes, it doubled up as a fantastic team bonding too. It was easy to see the importance of communication and the benefits of physical movement We are looking forward to joining the Race the Thames again this year.

Online, we had some epic Teams Channels created, most notably the Music Exchange and Pet Channel. The Pet channel is the place to go to get your daily hit of dopamine, seeing all the cute dogs, cats, and even horses and ducks that others have snapped. The Recipe Exchange channel was also created, which is great for getting inspiration for that evening meal as well as finding out the latest food event going on in the office. Thank you so much Naomi and Charley for starting the channel and creating regular food blogs on seasonal eating! The Rock Climbing Channel also got off the ground this year, with a group going weekly to the local bouldering center. I cannot recommend this enough for both your physical health as well as your mental health.

In October this year we had our huge company trip to the Lake District. Personally, this was the highlight of my year at Evora – it was amazing to meet so many of my colleagues in person and really connect with them. We tried out a range of new skills including archery, axe throwing, and most importantly duck herding. This was loved by everyone and produced some hilarious videos.

From all of this, the sense of community and the spirt of being an EVORIan has just grown and grown. There is an incredible culture when you work at EVORA with a great balance of work life and social events. I cannot imagine working anywhere else and can often be heard remarking to people that I cannot believe I get to do all of this for work. I am so excited to see what happens next for the company this year, both professionally and socially. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be another epic year!

2022: A Year of Tough but Right Decisions

We make hundreds of decisions every day. Some of them small, some more material, but the decisions we make shape and impact our lives and many others around us.

The decisions we made in 2022 for EVORA Global were potentially going to have the biggest impact on what the company stood for and its future trajectory than any other decision we had made before. But it was not the first time as founders, we had been challenged with difficult decisions.

12 years ago, Paul, Ed and I decided to give up normal employment to set up our own business. We wanted to make a difference. It didn’t feel like a big deal at the time but in retrospect it was. After a year of trading we decided to invest the majority of our small hard-earned profits into developing our proprietary software. We had no experience but it felt like the right decision. Before the second year was out we’d spent around £100k of our own money on development costs. It doesn’t sound a lot now, but it was a meaningful investment to us at the time.

After a couple of years we started recruiting even though it felt uncomfortable with the constant fear the business could fall of a cliff in the next three months. We made a conscious decision to recruit based on culture and values. We wanted people who selflessly cared for others, for their work and for the planet. This is probably the most important decision we made.

We made lots of other decisions over the years. It’s said through your mistakes you gain wisdom. On that basis we must be one of the wisest businesses around!

Then in late 2021, as the stars aligned on all things ESG we made the decision to embark upon our very first fund raise, or even contemplation of a sale of the business. After almost eleven years of running an organically funded business, this was a huge decision for all three of the founders. We knew with the right rocket boosters strapped to us we could have a much more meaningful and accelerative impact on climate change on a global scale. It felt scary but we knew it was the right decision.

As we ventured into 2022 we were pretty sure a strategic sale to a large corporate would be the best fit. A private equity (PE) investor didn’t feel right based on the stereotype of being focused purely on the numbers; after all, we’re a purpose driven business. Thankfully we kept an open mind and after assimilating offers from a large number of varied interested parties we completed with a consortium, led by UK PE firm, Bridges Fund Management, through their Impact Growth Fund in October of this year. It was a really tough decision but we knew it was the right one for the business. We had found a unique investor equally focussed on impact. And our own uniqueness would not be diluted by a large corporate culture. We haven’t looked back since.

As we approach 2023, we face the reality of global governmental failure to make the tough decisions required to keep alive the possibility of restricting climate change within the parameters of the Paris agreement and avoid catastrophic damage to the planet and its inhabitants. But as individuals, we have the chance to make decisions that collectively, can achieve meaningful change and impact. Decisions that look beyond the here and now, that may be tough to make, but will achieve the best long term outcomes. I hope you will join us in having the courage to make the right decisions.

Pause, appreciate and be grateful

We are so happy that we’ve recently opened a new office in New York. We’ve got a great team out there and wanted to show our support and appreciation for our EVORA family across the pond. We were inspired by Thanksgiving and took it a step further, making both November and December gratitude months at EVORA.

Kicking off in November, we started by looking at the science behind gratitude and how changing to a positive mindset and saying thanks can positively impact our life. We followed this up with creating thank you card templates for people to use. It felt great to send and receive these, backing up the science that showing gratitude increases personal wellbeing and happiness. We also found out that being grateful can improve your immunity, help you sleep better, and even lower your blood pressure!

During the middle of the month we heard from our US colleagues how they traditionally celebrate Thanksgiving. It was heartwarming to hear how Yetsuh and his family have a tradition to invite “strays” that might be far from home, or have a limited social circle, to join their Thanksgiving dinner. Yanna also had a similar experience one year where a Thanksgiving dinner had around 60 people, brining what they could, be that food, decorations, or just their stories and cheer.

By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, we were definitely in the swing of saying thanks. We built a word cloud that anyone could add to. It was humbling to see the breadth of things we are thankful for, from the big topics like modern medicine, family, and food, to things like coffee and having a blanket for those chilly mornings in the office.

Good health was something that was discussed at length this month in the office. Tom was spearheading Movember in the office, shining a light at men’s health, both mental and physical. Tom and a few other guys in the office would give regular moustache update, growing some brilliant tashes and raising funds. Huge congrats to them all, they raised £624 in one month.

One of the ways we supported was a gingerbread decorating competition in the London office, while we were all wearing stuck on moustaches. It was great to take a moment out of our busy days tobe creative decorating our gingerbread with moustaches and lots of icing, all while having a laugh and raising money. There were some brilliant entries – the Super Mario and Luigi gingerbread was brilliant. That evening, we also did a pizza and games night to help fundraise too.

As we move into December, with Christmas activities in full swing, it’s easy to see how giving thanks is a major part of the season. We are encouraging everyone to take a moment to say thanks to friends and family through a gesture.

I’m grateful to my housemates – we are like a family, and always support each other. To show my thanks, I baked them a cake. It was so nice to sit down with them with a slice and a cuppa tea and say thanks for their support.

It’s amazing that such a small phrase can have such a huge impact on both yourself and the people you are thankful for.

Thank you for reading! Who will you pass the thanks on to next?

EVORA Global Appoints Pradeep Menon as President

EVORA Global, a leading provider of end-to-end sustainability solutions for Real Assets, hires Pradeep Menon as President and will appoint him to the Board of Directors.  Pradeep’s appointment marks the first major appointment post the recent investment from Bridges Fund Management, Farview Equity and MSCI.  With this hire EVORA is looking to scale its business, serving clients in the Real Estate and Infrastructure markets.  Based in New York, Pradeep will be responsible for global Client Coverage, Revenue, Product Development and Technology. 

Pradeep Menon brings more than 25 years of proven FinTech experience to his role in EVORA. Most recently, he served as Managing Director, Investment & Advisory at Refinitiv, where he oversaw Refinitiv’s Content, Analytics and workflow solutions to Asset Owners, Asset Managers and Investment Bankers. Prior to Refinitiv, he was the co-founder of RiskMetrics Group a global risk management firm that he helped scale from a start-up to an IPO culminating in the sale to MSCI. 

“I believe that Climate Change is an existential issue for us; solving for climate change will require measuring and quantifying our emissions across sectors and geographies.  Research has shown that Real Assets contribute to almost 40% of global carbon emissions.  Chris Bennett and his team at EVORA have built an exceptional business that helps participants in the Real Asset sector quantify their carbon footprint.  I am excited to be a part of EVORA to help clients tackle the climate challenge.   The culture, dedication to the cause yet pragmatic approach makes EVORA unique; I am thrilled to join this immensely talented group at such an exciting time.”

Pradeep Menon, President, EVORA Global

“I am extremely excited that Pradeep is joining the EVORA Board. These are unprecedented times, which require unprecedented action to tackle the climate crisis ahead of us. Pradeep’s wealth of experience and unique track record will help us accelerate our mission to deliver a low carbon economy to the real asset markets. I am very much looking forward to working with Pradeep to deliver on our ambitions.”

Chris Bennett, Managing Director, EVORA Global

“We’re delighted that Pradeep has agreed to join EVORA’s executive team. As the world wakes up to the imminent risks of climate change, EVORA’s technology and services have a vital role to play in building a lower-carbon economy. Pradeep’s outstanding track record further strengthens the EVORA team’s credentials and will enable them to develop and deliver their mission-critical solutions to an even broader range of asset owners and managers around the world.”

Emma Thorne, Partner, Bridges Fund Management

“We are delighted to welcome Pradeep to the Executive team and Board of Directors at EVORA.  His experience and capabilities in growing and operating software and data businesses at various size and scales will be invaluable to EVORA as it continues on its envisaged pathway.   We believe the addition of Pradeep will accelerate EVORA’s drive towards industry leading software and data solutions.  We look forward to working together with him and fulfilling the opportunity for EVORA.”

Guy Sochovsky, Partner, Farview Equity Partners

EVORians to the Lakes

It all began on 8th March 2022, when Hannah and I went to the PA show at ExCel London. This was a great opportunity to meet new vendors and other PAs and Office Managers. It was there we met the Oliver Myles team. From the get-go they were professional and welcoming, with a keen understanding of our needs.

Fast forward to August, and planning is in full swing –  this included getting responses from all EVORians about all aspects of the trip, to booking travel for those coming into the UK, and liaising with Mel from Oliver Myles regularly.

Two months went by in a blur, and suddenly we are all travelling up to the Lake District. In the end, we had 160 people from the UK, the USA, Romania, Germany, Italy, India, and France come over for the trip. We booked out the whole of the Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa in Bowness-on-Windermere for the three days, so even if you had never met some of your colleagues you knew that if they were in the hotel they must be with EVORA. This really helped staff to start conversations with their colleagues

As soon as we got off the coach and received our room keys, the Afternoon Tea was served. This was a great ‘welcome’ for everyone, especially for our colleagues who were visiting the UK for the first time.

Once done, everyone had free time to explore the area or the spa – people chose whether to go for a walk, a run, a swim in the lake, or take a more relaxing approach of heading down to the spa facilities. The steam room was fabulous, the perfect way to unwind after a long coach trip.

In no time at all, we were gathering for dinner. We had a surprise for everyone during the pre-dinner drinks in the lounge – a live saxophone player! He was brilliant and set the tone for the evening. After a filling dinner, we drew the raffle. We’ve been fundraising for the Fellrunner Village Bus for the previous eight weeks and are thrilled to say that we smashed our targets and raised over £3,100 for them, which the EVORA Board has matched.

The Fellrunner Village Bus is run by volunteers who tackle isolation in the elderly head-on – they’ve set up busses, driven by the volunteers, to reach the elderly in remote locations. This has evolved into a community who look out for one another and will go the extra mile to make sure they are okay. Check out the video from our friends at the Fellrunner.

Our brilliant Marketing team also premiered our brand new company video. This was met with cheers for each person that came on camera. It was a surprise to everyone when they also showcased the blooper real, which had everyone in stitches – you can tell none of us are actors but that we did enjoy filming!

After dinner, the saxophone player teamed up with the DJ to get everyone on the dance floor. Nothing breaks the ice quite like the directors in the middle of a dance circle, busting a move. The DJ played well into the night, so at breakfast the next morning there were some sore heads.

The full English breakfast sorted everyone out though, setting us up for a full day of activities ahead. After a much shorter coach ride this time, we were at the Lakeside Hotel & Spa. By some miracle, the sun was shining, which really added to the magical feeling of the day, as everyone knows there are only about four sunny days in the Lakes each year.

We had eight teams of 20 people rotating on a range of activities, including axe throwing, archery, birds of prey, canoeing, bush craft, and the favorite, duck herding. For many, it was a day of firsts, as well as a brilliant way of meeting other EVORIans and bonding over the hilarity which is duck herding.

Canoeing was also a firm favorite – on the calm waters of Windermere, with the mountains behind and the sun shining, nothing felt further from the hustle and bustle of London.

The bush craft was an interesting mix. The teams were split, with one half creating a fire and the other making scones, cream, butter, and jam, coming together in the end to cook the jam and scones. I’ve been told that the final scones were actually very delicious, even though they looked unusual!

This hotel also served an amazing buffet lunch – the food was incredible and there was a whole station for vegetarians and vegans. The staff at the hotel were shocked at how many of our staff are vegan and at the large queue that formed at that table. In the afternoon, the hotel provided us with an afternoon treat of scrumptious cakes. The cream cake looked amazing and the vegan coffee cake was brilliant.

Full of cake and tired from a busy day, we took the ferry back to the hotel. Gliding through Lake Windermere, with the dramatic landscape surrounding us, on such a perfect day, really took your breath away.

Back at our hotel, it was time to get ready for the formal dinner. Everyone dressed to the nines, with one person asking if we can make every Monday at work formal dress! Everyone met for a pre-dinner drink and then we went down to dinner.

After a delicious 3 course menu, we had the EVORA Excellence Awards. Our own Dale hosted it, and though it was his first time public speaking he did amazing – we can’t wait to see him on the mic next time. Seeing all the various reasons why the six finalists won their awards was wonderful – excellence at EVORA can be measured in a multitude of ways, and with 73 nominations put forward, it’s humbling to see how excellent as a company we are.

Huge thank you to Emma, Tom, and Samantha for coming along and joining us on Tuesday. As representatives of the investors, it was great hearing you talk of the opportunities and positive changes on the horizon.

In a blink of an eye, we were getting on the coaches on Wednesday to head back. I was grateful to be on the later coach, so I had time to get some souvenirs and fudge before heading back. The Lakes are an incredible destination and it was amazing to be able to meet in person so many EVORIans. It’s rare to have a company caring so much for its people and to see the importance in us getting together and bonding. The stories coming out of the trip now will be told for years to come, with friendships created and bonds strengthened.

Thank you so much Chris and the board for allowing us the amazing opportunity to come together like this. As a hybrid company, we forget just how many we are. Yet seeing us all in one room left many of us awestruck. EVORA has come a long way from the days of Chris, Ed and Paul working in their kitchen, and we cannot wait to see what happens next for all of us.

Singapore – The gateway to Sustainable Real Estate Investment in Asia

In the week before last, I was in the iconic European city of Amsterdam. Cobbled streets of merchants’ homes and old warehouses built around the old port and canals. A place where you can’t walk along the street on your mobile phone or risk getting run down by a bicycle or two. In October, apples were in season for the famous appeltaart, delicious with whipped cream.

What a contrast to the next week – in Singapore for the Fintech Festival. A city of extraordinary architecture with many ships anchored offshore from this modern port. Much of my week was spent in taxis and in lifts in Singapore, rather than on foot or on a bike in the Netherlands. 

This is a symbolic Asian city where many people walk around with hooked-over heads lit up by the glow of their phones. At our hotel, the majority of guests live-streamed the breakfast buffet; talking to their phones rather than their friends around the table. 

Citrus fruits were in season in the hot humidity of this gateway city. The very affordable and UNESCO protected hawker food markets were buzzing with delicious, freshly cooked fish and veg. Both cities share a love of deep-fried snacks and both have a warm, respectful openness. 

Our business there was with the many global investment managers and local REITs which use Singapore as a gateway for investments in the rest of Asia. With the city’s close relations with other major financial centres, like London and Tokyo, it is an obvious choice.

The city is home to sustainable real estate leaders, like CapitaLand. With iconic assets, including CapitaSpring and the Jewel, the company has become a touchstone for other real estate companies. Backed by a Sovereign Wealth Fund they are encouraged to support, and lead, the government’s drive towards sustainability and the management of climate risk.

We were part of a Great Britain trade mission, warmly hosted by the British High Commissioner, Kara Owen, and her team. The Singapore Fintech Festival provided us with a focus on “green” fintech as the city looks to establish itself as a centre of green finance.

Having spoken with our partners, MSCI and Paia, and many clients, including another global leader Hines, it was clear that the sustainability and climate agenda has moved on significantly over the last year. Looking to challenge Europe’s leadership and arguably more advanced than the USA. We were in listening mode last week and it was an inspiring community to visit.

Real estate investment in Singapore and the nearby major Asian markets of India, Japan, HK and Korea are on the front line of climate change. Whilst also grappling with air pollution, the destruction of natural biodiversity and a range of social and governance issues. Against this background, you could expect that these markets could lead the way with new innovations in the near future. That could be why new green products, including credit, is on the rise.

European LPs, including the Dutch pension funds, are one driver of this market, alongside new Government rules on disclosure. We’ll be watching how the Asian LPs pick up this agenda, particularly the Japanese pension funds and Australian Supers.

Like every other market, ESG data quality is a problem. The Government’s Project Greenpoint is attempting to solve this problem and backing an ESG data utility. Smart thinking to ensure that both risks and opportunities can be made transparent.

What an exciting market to explore as EVORA thinks about how and where we grow following our recent investment round. Thank you Singapore for being such a great host.

EVORA Insights Roundtable in Milan

Our first Roundtable in Italy was an epic – over three hours of discussion in between eating five delicious courses on a warm October evening. Together with our co-host Savills IM, our team hosted guests representing the best of Milan’s real estate investment community.

“How much does it cost?

Our guests were a mixture of investment and sustainability professionals, so this discussion about climate risk was kept focused in the context of fiduciary duty, and the imminent recession. It’s still about the money. That was a regular call out to understand the cost of transition, of mitigation and of improving ratings.

It was felt that investments in ESG should be rewarded through returns, but there was uncertainty amongst our guests about whether that would be the case, particularly as belts tighten and the regulatory environment weakens. Italian investors were said to have less tolerance for short-term ESG costs than some of their international counterparts.

“Let’s not allow the search for perfection get in the way of action – the time is now”

Whilst SFDR is not perfect, we know the direction of travel for the market when it comes to climate change and the related risks. We have to move past theory to practice. Some firms have done numerous assessments of the options for improving their assets, and whilst they may not be perfect with complete data, we know enough to get started.

Given the cost to improve – ~20% of market value – and the weak market signals on sustainable investment returns, there was a question about how much should be done and how quickly? And how to get all stakeholders on board with those plans? What happens when the equity is depleted or the value is less than the debt? However, those guests representing international investors felt the urgency and a desire to move forwards at pace.

“Real estate in Italian is ”immobile”; it doesn’t move.”

There was a recognition that climate risk is increasing, particularly flooding and heating blackouts in Milan. Even in New York, one investor has developed a property where the ground floor was designed to flood. Recognising that properties are ”immobili”, their value is grounded in the location, and that this could change as the location will have to face down physical climate change and local climate regulations that is inevitable.

In Italy there is a lot of historic properties, which are harder to transition and are at a disadvantage compared to new property developments that have the opportunity to get it right first time. In fact, many felt that there was no excuse for new buildings not to be net zero carbon. Properties which are too costly to transition are being shortlisted for disposal before the market fully factors in climate risk.

“There is no standardised way or common language.”

Despite the desire to act and invest in improving properties, there are clearly barriers created by a disorderly transition and a regulatory environment that is not aligned with a below 2 degrees future. That’s a hindrance to investors allocating capital to lowering emissions in real estate because the market is not recognising this increase resilience is the asset value – the price signals are misguided.

There is a lot of ESG noise and no common framework on data nor for pricing. Investors struggle to factor ESG into asset management business plans because there is no common way to measure ESG capex out of total capex. Nor is there an obvious organisation who can take on the role of creating a standard for Italy.

“We’ve been struggling with data for 15 years.”

Collecting data about the sustainability of real estate is difficult because it is a highly fragmented market and the data is owned by a broad range of stakeholders with little incentive to share. It is only in markets where regulations have required that data is made public, like parts of the USA and France, that investment firms have been able to use it to make informed decisions. Comparable data in Italy is in short supply, but would be useful.

As an industry we’ve become preoccupied with data collection and coverage. In fact, GRESB rewards data coverage more highly than whether the data shows performance improvements. Asset managers are bombarded with requests. Yet, the investors weren’t even sure that the right data was being collected as it is rarely used in investment decisions, including pricing assets and assessing investment value. It does find its way into asset business plans, but it is often discounted because the reward can’t be measured.

“EPCs are a great fake, and green building certificates and ratings can obscure actual performance and risks”

Having a green badge matters in Italy – they are one of the top countries for LEED green building certifications. This is for marketing, not because the market believes in sustainability. It is to attract tenants and now Gold or Platinum is considered the minimum to doing business.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are used as a measure of climate resilience, even though they are not based on the actual energy consumption of a property. Across Europe, and even within countries like Italy, they are different or even impossible to compare. Some highly rated buildings are actually poor performance and, vice versa, poorly rated buildings are actually more efficient. The same was said about green building certificates, nZEB and GRESB, which is a problem for judging whether assets and funds are sustainable or not.

Concerns do exist that unsustainable properties will become harder to let, with increased vacancy rates, and that they may become uninsurable, and ultimately decrease in value. There is a desire to understand those price signals ahead of actual price corrections.

“There is a push for sustainability-linked loans.”

In funding green buildings and for managing climate risks, there is a growth in green credit products. However, they are more expensive in Italy. They require more reporting and more work so are not desirable for refinancing at the moment.

Putting this all together, it seems that the Italian real estate market will struggle to become more climate resilience, despite the appetite amongst some investors and their managers to do more. Carbon pricing or financial regulations and building regulations would help the real estate market see the right price signals. In a global real estate market, new regulations could avoid Italy falling behind other major markets with stricter climate legislation.