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CSRD: Is your organisation ready for the new ESG reporting requirements in Europe?

Further signs this week that the EU is seeking to strengthen environmental and social reporting requirements; Tuesday saw MEPs and EU national governments strike a provisional deal which would require major corporates to report on how their businesses impact on both people and the environment.

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) will require that major businesses – defined as organisations with over 250 employees and a €40 million turnover – report their social and environmental impact against common standards. Tuesday’s move is an amendment to 2014’s Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) which set out its aim to encourage: “investors, civil society organisations, consumers, policymakers and other stakeholders to evaluate the non-financial performance of large companies and encourages these companies to develop a responsible approach to business”. The CSRD, if it can find agreement in the European Council and Parliament, will bolster the need for reporting on key social and environmental activities. These include requirements for:

  • The audit (assurance) of reported information
  • Detailed reporting requirements, and a requirement to report according to mandatory EU sustainability reporting standards
  • Digital ‘tagging’ the reported information, so it is machine readable and feeds into the European single access point envisaged in the capital markets union action plan.

In his overview of the drivers behind the CSRD, Pascal Durand, who led negotiations was clear:

“The European extra-financial audit market will be standardised, much more rigorous and transparent. Parliament succeeded in securing an opening of the audit market by member states in order to make room for new certified players to become major players and not just leave it in the hands of the financial auditors, notably the big four”.

The agreement, which if enacted will apply equally to public and private companies meeting the Accounting Directive size threshold, will be required to report on environmental, human rights, social standards and work ethics issues. Likewise, major non-EU businesses will be subject to the same provisions. In a nod to the difficulties comprehensive reporting can represent to smaller businesses, the agreement lays out a provision to less rigorous reporting for qualifying SME businesses and subcontractors.

The drive towards common standards is a welcome one, although details on those standards is not yet available. However, this year’s launch of the Social Taxonomy consultation gives an early indicator of the EU’s planned direction.  

If you would like to discuss the above with our ESG experts, you can get in touch with them today.

EVORA Global partners with Fitwel to drive wellness in the built environment

Over recent years the focus on people-centric places within the built environment has gathered pace, with investors and tenants alike looking for ways to quantify and recognise the impact of buildings on their occupants as well as the wellbeing credentials of these spaces. This has been driven by a variety of factors, not least the growing evidence linking the quality of a building to occupant’s health and increased understanding of how the wider built environment impacts our daily lives.

With this in mind, EVORA launched its new Social Wellbeing service line in June, offering a holistic approach to Social Value and Health & Wellbeing. Having wanted to combine these two people-focused services for some time, EVORA’s new service line will provide best-in-class social value and health and wellbeing services backed by a robust methodology.

EVORA recognises the importance of healthy buildings and the positive impact they can have on their occupants and is therefore excited to announce it has become an official Fitwel Partner. Fitwel is one of the world’s leading certification systems which assess the impact of the buildings in which we live and work on our daily lives and long-term health. It describes itself as “a data driven certification system which aims to optimise buildings to support occupant health and well-being”.

Bringing together well-established best practice in built environment wellbeing and a blend of quantitative and qualitative social value frameworks, such as Fitwel, EVORA will be well positioned in an increasingly sophisticated market which will demand meaningful social and health engagement.

Philippa Gill, Executive Director, said of the partnership:

“We have worked with Fitwel for many years now and we are delighted to be formalising this relationship now.  Fitwel’s approach to data and evidence-based strategies aligns well with EVORA’s approach to impact through information and we look forward to the next stage in our impact-driven evolution together.”

Joanna Frank, President and CEO of CfAD, operator of Fitwel, said of the partnership:

“Our new Fitwel Provider and Fitwel Partner programs are helping further raise awareness of healthy building strategies that ensure increased occupant and tenant satisfaction. By aligning with and promoting Fitwel’s mission, we are thrilled to have such a great partner in EVORA, which is putting health and well-being at the forefront of its commitment to a people-centric approach through the built environment.”

See EVORA’s recent Fitwel work: PATRIZIA achieves Fitwel certification with the support of EVORA | EVORA Global

Why Social Wellbeing?

EVORA Global is delighted to launch its newest Service Line this month: Social Wellbeing.

After months of preparation, we are now able to offer Social Wellbeing services to our clients as we continue to move towards delivering truly comprehensive E, S and G support to the industry.

Social disruption from climate change, inequality and public health are some of the defining issues of our times and the real estate industry plays a crucial role in addressing these challenges by harnessing strategies which protect and enhance all property, people and the planet.

There is a rapidly growing demand for safer, healthier, more equitable, more comfortable, more productive spaces. In turn, assets which deliver social value and enhance local community adaptive capacity, inherently create more resilient investments. EVORA now advises on the integration of social issues into investment strategies, as well as the collection and reporting of social metrics aligned with best practice and or regulatory frameworks.

For some, the language might well raise some eyebrows – what is Social Wellbeing after all?

What is Social Wellbeing?

Social Wellbeing draws on the principles of social impact and health and wellbeing: these factors and increasingly better understand within the market and are emerging as a global awareness and industry leadership seek to make the most impact within their funds around the world. Forward-looking real estate investors now incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into business operations. While human health and wellbeing is an implicit component of ESG, it is now becoming an intentional and increasingly institutionalized focus across the entire real estate industry.

What is Social Impact?

Social impact is broadly defined as the effect of projects or programmes of work on local community stakeholders. This means that social impact is strongly linked to issues of economic outcomes: spending with local businesses and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), employing local people and supporting those that have difficulties accessing the labour market. Social impact is interested in seeing the positive benefits from living and working in a community that comes into contact with the client’s assets. We focus on delivering locally appropriate outcomes for our clients and the communities that we work in.

What is Health and Wellbeing?

Physical health can be affected directly through toxic exposures and indirectly by the impact of real estate development on human behaviours, such as physical activity and healthy eating. Mental health is also directly influenced by access to daylight, green space, biophilic design, and indirectly by the impact that urban and building design have on wider social interaction and connectivity. The real asset industry also has far-reaching effects across social health through its hiring practices, approach to procurement, site selection and community engagement.

Market leaders are already prioritising occupant experience in their investments and in some cases, health promotion is being incorporated (particularly post pandemic) as part of wider value drivers. More mainstream market participants are aware of these opportunities and are looking for points of entry and engagement.

Uniting Social Impact and Health and Wellbeing

The market is changing rapidly. There was a time when an environmental strategy was a “nice to have” but those days are long gone. Market expectations now mean that businesses can no longer present an ESG Strategy without a comprehensive analysis of the communities that they impact and an understanding of how they can do more to maximise the benefits that their assets deliver. Clearly, there is a considerable degree of overlap between the disciplines of social impact and health and wellbeing.

In short, the Social Wellbeing service line offers our clients support in developing and managing assets that serve the people that work, live and interact with them.

If you would like to speak to one of EVORA’s Social Wellbeing experts, please get in touch to see how we can help.

Plant Power Month

We celebrated Plant Power Month in April, inspired by National Gardening Week (27th April to 5th May). We spent the month taking cuttings of plants, growing vegetables, making seed bombs, and taking pictures of our plants.

Plant Power Month was a great success. We loved seeing EVORians posting their green babies on the Wellbeing channel on Teams and sharing how their plant projects at home were doing.

As well as providing oxygen, plants can also lower stress and anxiety, reduce fatigue, and improve your mood. Plus it’s loads of fun watching them grow! No matter the space you have, there is always an opportunity to get green-fingered. From vegetable cuttings to windowsill plants, you can get your daily dose of vitamin green, which has a huge impact on your mental health, wellbeing and on your step counter.

See below for what we did in the office!

Eco-Grow Set

We kicked off the month by sending out eco-grow kits to ten volunteers. These included ‘a taste of Italy’, ‘vibrant vegetables’ and ‘herb a’licious’. The seeds take some time to get going, so we won’t know for a while yet who has grown the best vegetable or herbs from the kits. We loved that the kits were eco-friendly too.

Vegetables in the office

We decided to show everyone how easy it is to ‘recycle’ the vegetables and fruit stones that we would normally not think twice about composting. It was great seeing how these scraps could get a second lease of life and it felt amazing doing it.

Our office garden included spring onions, garlic, basil, mint, celery, chilli seeds, and avocado seeds. After 5 weeks, our garlic has shot up to 55cm and our chilli seeds a much smaller inch of growth.

We are super impressed by the growth of all the vegetables and herbs, and delighted with how far they’ve come in such a small amount of time.

After posting about our avocado seeds, we found out that one of our team has been growing avocado plants for over ten years, which look amazing and so big! Definitely worth the wait and the patience that goes into growing them.

Seed Bomb Workshop

A huge thank you to the ladies of Wilder for leading a Seed Bomb Workshop in our London office. We had 12 staff come along to learn how to make seed bombs and spend the hour creating and wrapping them.

Seed bombs, or ‘earth dumplings’ were used in guerrilla gardening in the 1970’s, but go back hundreds of years in Japanese agriculture. They are a great way of spreading seeds in a large area that are protected from birds by the clay outer shell. Once it rains, the clay dissolves and the seeds, which by this point has already germinated, are safe from birds and well on their way to growing up.

As well as helping with wellbeing, the seed bomb workshop felt like a great team bonding experience. Everyone was getting their hands dirty and talking shop. With the busy season ahead for a lot of us, it was great that everyone could come together and switch off.

Plant Cuttings

To end the month, we planted everything that we had grown or taken cuttings from. We felt like proud mamas when our little seeds and cuttings that we had tended to the whole month were big enough to be potted and sent home with new mamas and papas. We couldn’t believe how many pots we could fill with cuttings!

We’ve really enjoyed getting our hands dirty for Plant Power Month and would highly recommend others to get out in nature and see what they can grow at home. We’ve proved you don’t need a lot of space and that with enough patience you can surprise yourself with what you can grow.

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.

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

A Quick Introduction to Social Value

Social value has been a theme for governments and businesses for the last decade. As something that started life as a means of trying to assure positive local outcomes for projects where public money was being spent, for example for a construction company commissioned to build a school, it has evolved into a broader concept designed to ensure that all organisations are thinking about people, places, and communities in their work.

The story started in public sector procurement. Public sector bodies including Central Government departments, local authorities, and councils spend billions a year on local public goods and services in the UK. In 2012, the Social Value Act was introduced with a key aim to transform the way in which this public money was spent in England and Wales. What the Act requires is that commissioners, who procure public sector revenue contracts or capital projects, ‘consider’ how they could secure wider social, economic, and environmental benefits, named social value from these contracts. [1]

Similar legislation has also been published by the Welsh and Scottish Governments, including The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act in 2014 and The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act in 2015.

In January 2021, the Government launched the Social Value Model which requires departments to ‘explicitly evaluate’ social value in all central government contracts. [2] The Social Value Model followed from the detailed laid out in 2020’s PPN 06/20 which laid the groundwork for the Model and provided an overview of the Model’s focus. The Model sets out the Government’s goals for social value in the form of five strategic policy outcomes: COVID-19 recovery, economic inequality, climate change, equal opportunity, and wellbeing. The Government has been a key driving force for the social value movement changing the way social value is perceived within many sectors, including commercial real estate, trying to understand what social value means to them, and how the concept can be incorporated into their business activities.

A month later, UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) identified a need from the built environment to establish a definition of social value that focused on the impact that buildings, infrastructure and places have on people. The high-level definition states that “social value is created when buildings, places, and infrastructure support environmental, economic and social wellbeing, and in doing so improve the quality of life of people”. Exactly which environmental, economic and social outcomes create social value will depend on the best interests of the people most impacted by the project or built asset”. [3]

It is not surprising that, over the last few years, we have seen a rise in relevant and practical guidance documents not only from the UKGBC, but other organisations, such as Better Building Partnership (BBP), in an attempt to support businesses within the built environment with social value.

In 2018, UKGBC published an introductory guide to ‘Social value in new development’ designed to help development teams understand social value in relation to the built environment, and what they can do to improve societal outcomes from new developments [4]. The guide maps social value outcomes against several core themes, including jobs and economic growth, health, wellbeing, and the environment, and strength of community (See Table 1).

Jobs & Economic Growth Health, Wellbeing, & the Environment Strength of Community
Decent jobs for local people and hard to reach groupsGood accessibility and sustainable transportationStrong local ownership of the development
Local people with the right skills for long-term employmentResilient buildings and infrastructureExisting social fabric is protected from disruption
School leavers with aspirations of the industryHigh quality public and green spacesThe new community is well integrated into the surrounding area
The local supply chain is supported and grownGood mental healthThriving social networks
Residents have comfortable homes which are affordable to operateGood physical healthVibrant diversity of building uses and tenures
Thriving local businessesLimit resource use and wasteStrong local identity and distinctive character
Table 1: Summary of social value outcomes across new development

Questions about the incorporation of social value within property management activities has also become a popular topic of conversation amongst commercial real estate companies leading to the ‘Responsible Property Management Toolkit’ being produced by Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) in 2021.[5] The toolkit provides practical guidance for asset managers, property managers and facilities managers on embedding sustainability (incl. social value) within property management services. Guidance notes provide clarity on social value, including information on the following:

  • What is social value?
  • Social value opportunities
  • Incorporating social value within the supply chain

Many real estate companies have begun to lean on both pieces of guidance to stimulate ideas internally about how they incorporate social value within their day-to-day property management activities as well as new development projects. As ESG has leapt up the strategic agenda in the last five years, the organisations able to address each element comprehensively have positioned themselves as leaders within the ESG space. The value of building a comprehensive environmental, social and governance strategy has never been more obvious as boards and stakeholders alike demand more from those they do business with.

Typically, ESG strategies tend to focus more heavily on the ‘E’ but at EVORA our clients’ strategies contain a strong ‘S’ component which is wholly aligned to their business objectives, whilst being aligned to industry best practice, such as UKGBC and BBP amongst others. Our approach allows our clients to be confident with how they communicate social value to investors and other stakeholders allowing them to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to ESG.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to start your social value journey with us today.


Sources

[1] Communities and Local Government. 2011. A plain English guide to the Localism Act. Department for Communities and Local Government. UK.

[2] Cabinet Office and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. 2020. Procurement Policy Note PPN 06/20 – taking account of social value in the award of central government contracts. Cabinet Office and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. UK.

[3] UKGBC. 2021. Framework for defining Social Value. UKGBC. London.

[4] UKGBC. 2018 Social Value in new development: An introductory guide for local authorities and development teams. UKGBC. London.

[5] Better Building Partnership. 2021. Responsible Property Management Toolkit. pp. 43-46.

Closing up for Christmas? Merry energy saving!

Christmas is just around the corner and hopefully none of us will be spending it in the office, especially given it’s on a Saturday this year!

So once the festive greetings are exchanged and the last ‘out of office’ has gone on we’ve got some hints and tips to save energy in your buildings over the holidays.

  • Reset controls – Who knows what temperature wars have gone on with the cold coming in and people being off at different times, use the holiday season as an opportunity to review tenant control panels with minimum disruption. Think of it as new year, new you, new set points.
  • Switch off the lights – Yes, including the Christmas ones. The streets are lit up all nice and shiny, your office doesn’t need to be.
  • Reduce fresh air delivery – Unless you have demand-driven systems chances are that you’ll be bringing in as much fresh air as possible into the building because of COVID-19. We’re not suggesting you take any risks in that regard (nobody wants the virus as a Christmas present) but if occupancy is very low try reducing the fresh air delivery rate or the run hours if the building is going to be unoccupied for long periods.
  • Shut down central plant – As a minimum central plant need not run on the national holidays and your buildings may be shut for even longer periods so get plant switched off. The majority of BMS front-end systems will allow you to set exceptions for specific days so that everything returns to the normal setup after all the festivities are over.
  • Turn off / turn down radiators – The weather outside may be frightful but that doesn’t mean you need the radiators on in an empty building. Any manually-controlled radiators around the building will continue to heat unless you turn down the thermostats or switch off the LTHW system centrally.
  • Check frost protection settings – Who knows, we may get a white Christmas still, so make sure frost protection settings are adequate. EVORA recommends these be set to 10°C.

Merry Christmas from all of us at EVORA!

Generalist Advisory Vs Sector Specialism

The commercial real asset market is evolving rapidly, and it’s no secret ESG is driving this evolution as the world transitions to a net zero economy. As a result, staying on top of ESG issues and applying them effectively to real asset investment and management is critical to keep up with the pace.

The role consultancies play is becoming increasingly important as firms are relying on ESG advisory services more than ever. Yet, despite the significance of the real asset sector, real asset ESG is still a niche area in the sustainability landscape. This begs the question, how can consultancies provide adequate ESG solutions for the real asset industry?

EVORA believes generalist ESG services for example, from a multidisciplinary professional service provider, often do not go far enough in providing the industry with the sector specific solutions it demands. Net zero carbon, TCFD and SFDR are vastly different in their application to real estate vs other asset classes. As such, expert sustainability knowledge in this field is vital.

EVORA is one of the only sustainability consultancy and software providers solely focused on the real asset industry, and with close to 100 ESG professionals is also one of the largest, and growing. Offering end-to-end ESG solutions, we believe our depth and breadth of knowledge in the industry is unrivalled. What sets EVORA apart? Our ability to break down complex issues, such as regulation and climate risk into simple, practical outcomes specifically for real asset professionals. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with navigating the ever-changing landscape, a great place to start is our ESG Training Academy, EVOLVE, designed to translate the vocabulary of ESG into everyday language.

Whatever issues investment and asset managers are faced with, one topic inevitably crops up: data. Data is one of the primary causes of confusion and complexity in the industry and, as such, poses a significant risk when making ESG-informed investment decisions. This fundamental component is one that EVORA has built its foundation on over the last 10 years through our proprietary ESG data management platform for real asset professionals, SIERA. SIERA, which spans 26 countries, is built around the principles of investment grade data and simplifies vast, fragmented data sets into accurate, consolidated ESG indicators to inform decisions at the asset, product and corporate level.

Although our consultancy and software services can be delivered independently, our clients recognise the benefits of combining the two. Interpreting ESG data and being able to answer the often asked “so what?” question requires a deep understanding of not just ESG, but the relation it has to the real asset industry. We firmly believe our ability to join the dots for our clients is where we add the most value. Our outcome and action-focused approach ultimately leads to positive change, helping to deliver on our vision: To accelerate the evolution and adoption of real asset sustainability to enhance the well-being of the planet and its people.

If you want to futureproof your business, choosing a dedicated real asset consultancy and software, we believe, is by far the safest bet.

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