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EVORians sweatin’ it out’

Fresh on the heels of our Walk This May challenge, we kept our fingers on the pulse with our June Bootcamp.

You are probably aware that June is known as GRESB season at EVORA. For our consultants, this is the biggest deadline of the year, with a larger than normal workload. It can be super stressful, so the Health and Wellness team wanted to make sure the activities and theme this month fitted in with the consultants’ busy schedules and helped them combat stress and keep a healthy mindset.

Therefore, we had Liam, a personal trainer and nutritional coach, run two sessions a week for the company, via Teams. This was optional to join, with no commitment to come to every session. It was important to us that it was held virtually so that anyone from the company could join in, no matter where they are located.

On Wednesdays, we met at 8:40am GMT to have a HIIT (high intensity interval training) session. As the name suggests, this really got us going before work on a Wednesday. It was great to see colleagues from around Europe join in and exercise together. It was great how we managed to warm up and down and still get a great heart pumping session in, all in 20 minutes.

Exercise is so important to mental wellbeing, getting the blood flowing, reducing anxiety and increasing cognitive functions. It’s also a great way to stay fit, especially for us office based lot who are used to a more sedentary lifestyle. Sara soon realized that when she works out in the morning “my mood is much better and I eat healthier during the day”

These HIIT sessions were great at working up a sweat and putting you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day. EVORians were encouraged, and for Emma “doing the energiser has made me feel more alert and ready to crack on.”

On the Friday session, we slowed it down with a more sedate session. This one was held at lunchtime and had us stretching and releasing all the built up tension from the week. This was a great way to end the week, and Sarah felt it was “lovely to spend some time undoing all the hours of sitting that I do in a week.”

Straight after the more relaxed session was our regular meditation meeting on Teams. We’ve had this weekly since lockdown and is now led by one of our very own – Matt has been meditating daily for 7 years now and knows the importance of breathing exercises and meditation for both the mind and body.

Matt uses Headspace for the sessions, which all EVORians have access to once they’ve passed their probation. These sessions are a personal highlight of my week, giving me 15 minutes to breathe and take a second to align my thoughts and meditate. Like the bootcamp, there is no pressure to come to every session and anyone can join wherever they are based.

After this month, many of us are committed to keeping up a HIIT session weekly – that adrenaline rush after a workout is hard to beat and the positive effects for the rest of the day huge. As Andrea said, the exercise “helps to focus my mind on something else.  I feel like I can concentrate better afterwards.” Whether this was people’s first time trying HIIT or they are regulars at the gym, we have all seen the benefits of adding a 20 minute session to our weekly routines.

Huge thanks to Liam for leading the sessions this month.

Inside EVORA’s Offices

In 2021, we decided to move our London Head Office to somewhere more aligned with our identity and values. We were looking for a space with plenty of natural lighting, good ventilation and air quality system. We put together a focus group, the ENO (EVORA New Office) Group, which involved people from different locations globally, to go through office options, valuing the whole team’s opinions and input. That’s how we chose Birrane House in London Bridge where we moved in January 2022.

We are very proud of our new office, which is a bigger and better space, well-lit with larger desks, as well as a great break-out room for lunches and socials. The air conditioning unit also allows for ventilation of clean air, so we can keep an eye on our air quality and carbon dioxide levels regularly – 83% of our London office rate the air quality at four or five out of five!

It’s so important to check CO2 levels, as this can have a huge effect on everyone in the office – studies have shown that poor air quality can affect you short term, such as headaches, fatigue, irritation of the eyes and throat, and even allergic reactions. Long term effects can include sinus infections and even respiratory issues.

As well as looking after the physical health of everyone in the office, we want to ensure that we are on track to get Planet Mark certification for the 9th year in a row! Our new London office is optimised to achieve this, with lights automatically turning off without activity, excellent insulation and double glazing.

Now that we’ve been in Birrane House a few months, and people are feeling settled, we wanted to know what everyone felt about the office. This is in keeping with our values, as we believe in inclusion, collaboration and respect as three of the fundamentals of our company.

We sent out a survey primarily to see how the new Head Office was working for people and to understand what could be improved, but also took the opportunity to check in with EVORians in our other offices and those working from home to make our workplace better. This really helped build up a larger picture of how everyone at EVORA is doing and to prioritise the next steps in all our locations.

We had 95 responses, 53 of them were from London. It was great to see that overall the average rating people gave the new London office was 4.3 out of 5!

We were delighted to see that a lot of the ideas that came up are either already in progress or even available now, such as the socials that the Social Committee are organising. We just had a Pizza and Games night that was a huge success. This was in London, Bolton, Iasi and Berlin! There were tactical games, quick-fire games, and classic quiz games – something for everyone to play. There was also great feedback on the Coffee Roulette and Language Exchange initiatives that we have, with an overwhelming response that this is what people enjoy doing.

Coffee Roulette is where two people get paired up each month and between themselves arrange a half hour sit down, either in person or via Teams. As people are paired up randomly, it gives everyone an opportunity to meet others in the company who they may have never spoken to before.

The Language Exchange is a more recent initiative whereby staff who speak other languages are put into groups with a native or fluent speaker and can practise their language skills. As well as helping EVORians improve their understanding of foreign languages, many groups who would never have normally met did so during their regular working day.

Regarding the office itself, EVORians love the location and proximity to Borough Market, as well as the brightness and the size of the office; in the survey, 89.2% rated the lighting in the office at four or five out of five. We saw from the survey results that most people would like us to look into noise-cancelling equipment, on top of the noise-cancelling headphones already provided. It is now on the EVORA’s to-do list to look into sound absorbers or individual soundproof meeting booths.

A great idea that came from the survey was adding social time at the beginning of meetings, where we can do a fun poll, such as which superpower would you have, and to give people time to catch up before jumping into the meeting. At EVORA, we truly love all ideas that get everyone involved, no matter where they are located.

One thing that is being globally felt is the changing nature of the use of the office. The traditional office set-up is no longer the best fit in a post-Covid world, where working from home has proved to be successful and productive. Even if around 90% of EVORians come in for a maximum of two days per week currently, 91% of us feel part of the team. What this means for our offices is yet to be seen, but could result in a renovation or reorganisation of the office into more collaboration spaces and fewer desks. Watch this space!

We can’t wait to make some more positive changes to our offices, making a comfortable and welcoming space for all EVORians to work.

Meike Borchers adds European weight to the monthly EVORA Global Board meeting

EVORA Global is pleased to announce that Meike Borchers, Head of EVORA Germany/DACH, has formally been asked to attend the UK Board of Directors, to represent and give direct input into the operations and expansion of the DACH region.

Meike joined EVORA in November 2020, bringing with her over 20 years of consulting experience, including heading up WSP Deutschland AG in Hamburg. Her background is in the construction and real estate industry, having worked in the UK, Sweden and America.

Meike has grown the German team from two to 14 people in the space of 12 months and provides consultancy services to many of Germany’s leading real estate and financial organisations, including BNP Paribas, CRESCO, d.i.i, LHI, HIH, HINES, Invesco, MOMENI, Schroders and UBS. Her proven leadership and meaningful understanding of European markets complements the Board and Company as EVORA continues to expand its offering across Europe and beyond.

EVORA’s Core Board has strengthened its operational focus with the addition of five non-statutory operational directors appointed in the last two years. EVORA’s headcount has grown from 50 to over 150 since 2020, with operations in seven countries and plans for further expansion this year.

“The positive impact we create as EVORA team and with our clients is what highly motivates me every day and there is so much more for us to do. I am therefore thrilled to represent our fast-developing DACH ESG-Team at Board level and to become even more involved in shaping the future of EVORA.”

Meike Borchers, Director Germany

“Meike’s faith in both EVORA and the growing need for dedicated ESG advisory services in the DACH region were the foundations of an outstanding first 18 months in the region.  Her global expertise across multiple sectors and experience in growing strong teams has been critical to the success of our 20-strong team (and growing) and I am delighted that we now have her wisdom and insights formally at Board level.”

Philippa Gill, Director Europe

EVORA Global strengthens team with new hire

EVORA Global is excited to welcome Helen Cave-Penney to the newly created role of Head of Growth, Europe. Helen will be instrumental in driving the continued development and expansion of EVORA’s proprietary ESG software, SIERA across the UK and Europe.

Helen brings with her 18 years of experience, having spent the last 2.5 years as Head of UK Sales at Coyote Software, a commercial real estate software company. She has spent over 13 years in the real estate industry providing strategic business development and sales within companies such as BNP Paribas Real Estate and CBRE.

As EVORA continues to position itself as the leading ESG advisor and software provider to the real asset investment markets, driven by its purpose to accelerate the flow of capital to ESG investment, Helen will support its strategic growth plans with specific focus on the rapid global expansion of its ESG software platform, SIERA.

Chris Bennett, Co-Founder and Managing Director said:

“I am incredibly excited that Helen is joining our business in such a key role. Helen’s wealth of experience of commercial real estate and investment, combined with a depth of knowledge and enthusiasm for PropTech, perfectly positions her to support the market and our clients evolve their ESG investment strategies through technology.”

Helen added:

“I am excited to join such a forward-thinking company such as EVORA at such a pivotal time when ESG strategies are so important to the real assets market. EVORA’s already strong position as the leading ESG advisor and software provider offers huge scope and potential to grow globally and I look forward to becoming part of the journey with a great team.”

Simon Clouston joins EVORA as Director

EVORA Global is delighted to announce that Simon Clouston has joined the business as Director. He brings with him 30 years’ experience of advising organisations on environmental and sustainability strategy, having joined EVORA from WSP.  In recent years Simon has focussed on providing sustainability services to real assets investors. His wealth of experience and the relationships he has developed will be of huge benefit to both EVORA and our clients as together we seek to deliver on our mission to make buildings productive, profitable, and resilient to change.

Simon joins during a period of significant growth for EVORA and will support the next stage of our journey. Simon will lead a number of our key client relationships as well as providing leadership and mentoring for our client delivery teams. In particular, his experience of both developing strategy and implementation programmes for the net zero carbon transition will be invaluable in helping us address this number one priority for many of EVORA’s clients.

“I am really excited to have joined EVORA Global as a Director in their Consulting business. It’s been a pleasure to start to get to know the hugely talented and passionate team here. We are doing fantastic work with fantastic clients who are challenging themselves and us to accelerate the adoption of sustainable real estate. And within that to prioritise the transition to net zero. I can’t wait to get stuck in!”

Simon Clouston, Director

“I have known Simon for some time now, we used to bump into each other at events and when working for mutual clients.  I am delighted that Simon agreed to join us. Simon brings that magical blend of technical knowledge, experience and, perhaps most importantly, the ability to articulate what can be a daunting and complex agenda clearly and simply.  The whole EVORA team look forward to working with Simon to progress our vision

Paul Sutcliffe, Founder and Executive Director

10 Years of EVORA

It started out as a table on a spreadsheet. A handful of prospects with some numbers against them that added up to £360k. It was September 2010 and I was 44. It was a now or never moment. I’d always wanted to run my own business from a young age, but doing what? For the first time in my life I knew exactly what, there was no doubt in my mind.

I’d trained as an accountant with PWC, left to travel the world with Schlumberger, an oil and gas contractor, dabbled briefly in telecoms and then emersed myself in property for nine years at DTZ. And it was at DTZ that two independent events occurred, which together lit the touch paper and set me off on my journey.

The first event was pure irony. DTZ had invested in a professional coach for me and after a few sessions, my coach said “You don’t fit in the corporate world. I suggest you leave and set up your own business”!

The second event was a Dragons Den type competition where a number of us were asked to pitch to the DTZ Board and management team, an idea or project to invest in. Having been a keen advocate of DTZ’s small sustainability team, I pitched to significantly expand the team and develop a sustainability software platform for the real estate industry. I came last with one vote.

Less than a year later I had left DTZ with my £360k prospect list and a sketchy business plan to create a market-leading sustainability business for the real estate investment market. I just needed some help.

A quick trip to Bolton and Paul Sutcliffe was on board once I’d persuaded his wife Eleanor what a great opportunity it was. Paul was sustainability Director at DTZ and had fantastic technical knowledge.

Evora Siera ESG reporting team

One down one to go. Ed Gabbitas, another great technical consultant, signed up shortly afterwards who jumped at the opportunity. Job done. Three is never a crowd for a new business, it’s the magic number. It provided just the right mix of skills, lots of ideas to bounce off one another and most importantly, a level of resilience. Evora was formed – well, not quite. We started off as Sustainable Commercial Solutions but that’s quite a mouthful. The EVORA name came later.

That was ten years ago. If the strapline back then was “Sounds interesting but maybe next year”, now it’s more like “I need an ESG strategy, can you start Monday”! A lot has changed over those ten years and we’ve been very fortunate with the way market sentiment has changed towards climate change. But it’s also been tough at times and a lot of hard work. When I told Mandy, my wife, my plans, her first comment was, ”Can’t you just get a job like a normal person” but her support has been unwavering. As for Paul and Ed, I marvel at just how amazing they are – no more to be said.

If 3 was the magic number back then, 10 years on it feels like 100 is the magic number now. Having recently employed our 100th employee and gained our 100th client, we’re set to achieve 100% growth this year. If that wasn’t enough we are also bringing a number of highly innovative software products to the market this year through our SIERA ESG platform.

Are we the market-leading sustainability business for the real estate investment market? Maybe, maybe not, it depends who you ask, but I don’t think that’s important anymore. As a business we have a bigger purpose, ‘To accelerate the evolution of real estate sustainability for the planet and its people’, and that is an ambition that needs the whole industry to get behind and collaborate on.

And behind the numbers is an incredible bunch of people at EVORA who all really care – for one another, for the work they do, for their clients and for our planet. Here’s looking forward to the next 10 years.

Finally, for those wondering or vaguely interested, of the £360k of prospects on my sketchy business plan that I enticed Paul and Ed with, £11k came off. And why EVORA? EVOlution of Real Assets through sustainability – you know it makes sense 😊

EVORA Global becomes PRI Signatory

EVORA Global has become a signatory to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI), underlining our commitment to advancing the evolution and adoption of real asset sustainability, and building a globally responsible investment community with ESG at its core.

The PRI works to understand the investment implications of ESG factors and to support its international network of investor signatories in incorporating these factors into their investment and ownership decisions.

The principles were developed by investors, for investors and by implementing them, signatories contribute to developing a more sustainable global financial system. 

Principle 1: to incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.
Principle 2: to be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our Group’s ownership policies and practices.
Principle 3: to seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities through which our Group invests.
Principle 4: to promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.
Principle 5: to work together to enhance effectiveness in implementing the Principles and
Principle 6: to report on activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.

Rahul Gautam, EVORA’s Strategy Manager said:

As a business EVORA Global is committed to Principles of Responsible Investment, and as a service provider, we actively support and endorse PRI among our clients. Regulations, reporting frameworks, and the industry as a whole are witnessing a shift in investment philosophies. We believe the ESG investment approach is on the rise (for all the right reasons), and institutions like PRI supports the acceleration and adoption of a sustainable ecosystem.”

EVORA has deep experience in both creating robust Responsible Investment strategies and frameworks as well as on the ground expertise in the implementation of these, and reporting on their results.

We are already working with many leading investment firms across a wide of sectors, including private equity, institutional investors and fund-of-fund managers. Our PRI and GRESB reporting services, underpinned by our in-house software solution SIERA, provide best-in-class solutions across the property and infrastructure life cycles which focus on driving value from demonstrable ESG performance.

Find out more here: PRI Reporting

Sarah Ratcliffe joins EVORA Global as Non-Executive Director

We are delighted that Sarah has agreed to join our board as a Non-Executive Director. Sarah’s truly deep and rich experience within the commercial real estate sector over the past 20 years will provide hugely valuable insights as we continue to build our business.

In addition to her thought leadership on the critical role of real estate in delivering sustainability, Sarah’s testing of our strategy and operating models will help to inform the sustainable growth of the business and bring a fresh external perspective to our thinking and practice.

We can’t wait to get started.

“As climate change remains on the top of the agenda in the real estate sector, sustainability consultancies have a vital role to play in supporting and influencing the industry.  I’m delighted to be joining EVORA as a Non-Executive Director to help them navigate through these exciting times.”

Sarah Ratcliffe

EVORA continues to partner with you through COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak is impacting all of us and has understandably disrupted the operations of all markets and businesses globally.  We are clearly all very concerned for our families, friends and colleagues in what are very difficult times and we want to extend our sincerest and heartfelt wishes to everyone.

Our commitment to our colleagues and customers remains our utmost priority.  We are continuing to work closely with all our customers on their sustainability programmes and are doing everything we can to communicate clearly and swiftly with everyone.  Our business remains strong with wonderfully committed teams and a robust capital base that enables us to continue to operate as a true long term partner, remaining extremely focused on delivering sustainability outcomes to our clients that help our people and our planet.

Business Continuity in a time of disruption

We have robust contingency plans in place to protect the health and safety of our people and our clients to allow us to continue operating with as little disruption as is practical in these very exceptional circumstances.  EVORA invoked full remote working conditions from the 16th of March and our core knowledge of Health and Wellbeing practices has allowed us to fully transition to flexible and remote working with the minimum of disruption.  Has it been plain sailing?  No, of course not and it would be disingenuous to suggest otherwise, but we continue to be delighted and indeed humbled by the steadfast commitment of all our teams and how they are supporting our clients with passion, drive and good humour.

Since our inception we have always encouraged flexible working practices and we continue to invest in our infrastructure in support of this.  We absolutely believe that our flexible and highly connected culture will continue to allow us to operate with a minimum of impact to our commitments to you and the programmes we are supporting.

We have temporarily closed all our offices and stopped all business travel and are continuing to make alternative arrangements through phone and video conferencing to enable us to stay connected with everyone and we continue to remain available through our normal phone and email channels and will keep our social media feeds regularly updated.

We look forward to continuing to partner with you as we all navigate our way through COVID-19.  Please do take care, stay safe and our thoughts are with you all.