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Biodiversity: enhancing the built environment

EVORA support many of our real estate clients to develop sustainability strategies and management systems.  The overriding objective of approaches developed is to establish plans that help our clients understand their impacts, manage risks and, perhaps most importantly, drive performance improvement.  Often, and unsurprisingly we focus on energy, carbon, water and waste.

However, there are wider opportunities. Biodiversity can often be pushed down the agenda.  Real estate owners can develop programmes designed to positively contribute to biodiversity.  As you will see in the rest of my blog, I consider this to be very important.

So what is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity, in simple terms, means the variety of life, in all its forms and at all levels. This ranges from genes to species to ecosystems – everything that collectively forms the biological diversity on Earth.

In short, biodiversity is a good thing.  It is essential in maintaining a healthy environment and therefore, has an impact on our quality of life.

The decline of biodiversity has serious consequences and its protection and enhancement is essential if we are to achieve a sustainable future. We depend on biodiversity for food, health, natural resources and a range of ecosystem services such as air and water purification, soil fertility and plant pollination. Maintaining biodiversity is also crucial to the development and discovery of new medicines.

The variety of life, in all its forms and at all levels. This ranges from genes to species to ecosystems – everything that collectively forms the biological diversity on Earth.

Increasing urbanisation is contributing to the decline of biodiversity due to the loss and division of natural habitats. Providing opportunities for biodiversity in our built environment is one way that it can be protected and enhanced.

Development schemes can utilise a number of approaches including Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) – a quantitative, stepwise methodology that aims to enhance biodiversity after development. However, we are increasingly being asked for advice on how Biodiversity can be implemented into strategies, by clients who manage standing investment funds.

Several BNG principles are valuable for application to existing real estate assets, notably: to achieve the best outcomes for biodiversity, to optimise sustainability and to be transparent.


Biodiversity in action

Implementation of approaches to support these aims will result in greener, more biodiverse assets that not only offer homes for wildlife but can also provide wider benefits for people, such as improved air quality and health and wellbeing. It also gives asset managers positive news stories to tell and helps to create great places for people to live and work.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Biodiversity will result in greener assets that not only offer homes for wildlife but can also provide wider benefits for people, such as improved air quality and health and wellbeing.” quote=”Biodiversity will result in greener assets that not only offer homes for wildlife but can also provide wider benefits for people, such as improved air quality and health and wellbeing.”]

So, in simple terms, what can be done?

Real Estate Organisations can raise the profile of biodiversity within the workplace by:

  • Assessing the material risks and opportunities associated with biodiversity across portfolios;
  • Ensuring staff have understood these risks and opportunities;
  • Raise awareness amongst suppliers;
  • Implementing practical approaches – suitable for assets in question. If you are struggling to contextualise, think;
    – Green walls
    – Beehives
    – Indoor and outdoor planting regimes
    – Although many more opportunities exist
  • Report publicly on organisational performance with regards to biodiversity.

Organisations, wishing to progress further can:

  • Develop site-specific Biodiversity Strategies or Action Plans for managed assets, with the aim of achieving enhancements for selected species and/or habitats identified in the Local, Regional or National Biodiversity Action Plan;
  • Incorporate specific biodiversity objectives within asset management plans;
  • Collect biodiversity data e.g. number of plant types considered pollinators;
  • Where handing over the asset to new owners, work to “pass on” commitment to biodiversity at the asset, potentially through a handover manual;
  • Report to local authorities and, where necessary, other bodies, based on the data collected.

Finally, we positively encourage the reporting of progress, through new or existing routes – highlighting positive steps such as:

  • Measures taken to collect biodiversity information;
  • Key Performance Indicators, such as % of assets with Biodiversity Management Plan, % of direct employees with biodiversity awareness training;
  • Records of sightings of endangered/rare/protected species;
  • Reporting on habitats under threat;
  • An account of how and where operations have led to the achievement of targets in Biodiversity Action Plans;
  • Case studies to highlight what has been learnt from biodiversity mitigation and enhancement.

In short, Sustainability is not just about energy, water, waste – Biodiversity often presents an opportunity to progress significant improvements.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Career Opportunities at EVORA

At EVORA, we are able to apply our depth of knowledge and experience to help organisations understand and manage environmental risks, as well as realise the opportunities to protect and enhance the long term value of their assets. Our breadth of knowledge and client base have grown year on year and every member of the team is passionate about sustainability as a professional service.

We intend to grow our team by identifying individuals who have similar values, technical expertise and enthusiasm for their work.

We are currently recruiting for the following exciting consultancy positions:

If none of these current roles fit your expertise, but you are a sustainability professional who’d really love to work for a company like EVORA, please get in touch anyway. The team is expanding rapidly and we are always open to speaking with individuals who fit with our culture and values.

We are also recruiting for the following operations and software roles:

Our EVORA EDGE team are also looking for people working in the following areas:

Building Physicists, Building Services Designers and Engineers, EPC assessors, Air Conditioning Energy Assessors, CAD engineers, M&E Tech iCal Services Managers.

No agencies please!


How to apply

Passion and enthusiasm are essential qualities as is a practical common sense approach and a determination to deliver the highest quality of work.

If you think you’ve got the skills and experience to join our rapidly expanding business, we’d love to hear from you!

To apply, please email recruitment@evoraglobal.com with your CV or see our LinkedIn page.


Staff benefits and rewards

We have a great range of benefits, including:

  • A competitive salary, reviewed annually in line with industry averages
  • Attractive discretionary bonus structure
  • Health insurance with Vitality
  • Pension scheme (with staff contribution matched)
  • 25 days annual leave increasing to 30 days by year 7 (plus public holidays)
  • Additional 5 days holiday every three years to support one month sabbatical
  • Flexible working hours (core hours 10-4, with 37.5 hour working week)
  • Flexible lunch break
  • Remote/home working in agreement with line manager
  • Two days per year to volunteer for charity
  • Excellent ongoing professional development support
  • Generous maternity package
  • Multiple locations – London, Bolton, Birmingham (dependent on role)
  • Plus: childcare vouchers; Bike2Work scheme; payroll giving and more

Skills and expertise

We are particularly keen to hear from people with the following expertise and knowledge:

  • Client account and programme management
  • Depth of technical knowledge of sustainability issues and application to real estate
  • EMS development and operation to ISO certification levels
  • Managing large environmental data management programmes coordinating multiple parties
  • Monitoring and analysis of energy consumption data
  • Regulatory and voluntary reporting, e.g. CRC, GRESB, CDP
  • Environmental and Energy Audit Experience for commercial buildings
  • ESOS Lead Assessor
  • Detailed understanding of UK environmental legislation (ESOS, CRC, EPCs, MEES)
  • BREEAM in Use Assessor and/or WELL Accredited Practitioner status

To apply, please email recruitment@evoraglobal.com with your CV or see our LinkedIn page.

Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050: a Green Revolution

Bold Ambition? UK to Legislate 2050 Net-Zero carbon target.

Last night, Theresa May, in one of her final acts as UK Prime Minister, pledged to take on board recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change to establish a legally binding net-zero target by 2050.

The approach, proposed today (Wednesday 12 June 2019), would see the UK become the first member of the G7 group of countries to legislate for net zero emissions.

This is a bold commitment. It is a (in our view exciting) response to increased public awareness of environmental issues and the dangers faced from a ‘climate emergency’.

This follows parliament’s declaration of a climate change emergency back at the start of May and Theresa May’s determination to leave a positive legacy after she steps down from the role of Prime Minister.

Whilst this is an exciting step, there is a lot to do and 2050 is just over 30 years away.  The strategy and the means to deliver on this target is yet to be determined. Key questions include:

  • How will it be financed?
  • What technologies will be given priority?
  • And what will the role be of international carbon credits? Net Zero plans will allow the offsetting of emissions.  Control is needed to prevent and avoid loopholes

Some of the negative press about the plan focuses on cost. The Treasury has indicated that is will cost £1 trillion. However, this misses the point. Calculations don’t, for example, consider the uplift in the green economy for example. And in even simpler terms, the long term costs of not doing anything are far greater.

This is just the beginning of this new phase of tackling climate change, it isn’t a silver bullet and there is much detail to agree for an effective strategy to be set in place. Time will tell, but for now, I am going to be positive.

It really does feel like we are turning the corner.

EVORA Staff Benefits: living our Values

EVORA strives to be an open-minded, culture-driven company that really believes in our people, individually and collectively. Over the years, we have built a team of like-minded colleagues and it is fair to say, our people really are at the heart of everything we do and achieve.

Over the past 36 months our niche team has tripled and we now have 41 full-time staff. We have taken additional space in our fantastic offices in London out for more on that, coming soon!) as well as new office space across the country to accommodate growth in Bolton, our engineering team in Shrewsbury, the software team in Birmingham and the finance team in Farnham!

As we have grown, we have not compromised on our culture and values. Maintaining an environment that is supportive and inclusive and provides the flexibility that allows the team to work in a healthy, balanced workplace has been key. Following on from a consultation with the whole team last year, we are excited to launch our enhanced staff benefits for all staff which includes:

  • Increased pension contribution – EVORA match contributions up to a maximum of 10% dependent on seniority
  • Increased holiday allowance – from a base of 25 days, staff will accrue an extra days holiday for each year served up to 30 days
  • Sabbatical – After 3 years of continuous service, staff will be given an additional 5 days holiday and the ability to take a month’s sabbatical
  • Flexible working – Staff now have the ability to work flexibly, both in relation to home working and flexible hours.
  • Maternity package – we now have a generous maternity package
  • Healthcare – comprehensive private Healthcare with loads of benefits is now in place
  • Bonding with nature – All staff are now given a plant to adopt and care for, in a bid to improve our indoor air quality
  • FUN – we have provided a games console in our London HQ and also provided board games for staff to use during their lunch or after work

This is all in addition to the many benefits we already have in place.

They say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We believe that by consulting with our staff, and providing them with an environment in which they thrive, we build a strong team, which delivers value to our clients.

Watch our video to find out more about the team!

We are always on the lookout for outstanding individuals. You can learn more about what it’s like to work for EVORA on our Jobs Page and find details of our current vacancies.

Do sustainability professionals ever ‘switch off?’

It’s official: despite my best efforts, I cannot switch off from work.

It has slowly been creeping into my life away from the office without me even realising it. Don’t get me wrong, as a sustainability professional I am more than happy to recycle at home, switch off lights, nag my friends into action, and do various other things as part of ‘my bit’ for the environment. But lately it has been entering other areas of my life unannounced. I thought it would be interesting to share my experiences in the hope I’m not the only one!


Example 1 – Watching TV. I had a bit of a binge watch of the series ‘Mad Men’ on Netflix recently (for anyone who watched it first time round you will realise I am about 10 years late to this programme!). It has been described by some TV experts as the most historically accurate portrayal of the era out of any show which has made it to the small screen. The sexism and racism is, at times, jaw dropping, the costumes are spot on and everyone smoking and drinking heavily throughout the day is a well-established norm.

And yet, for all the things they got right (I am having to base this on other peoples’ opinions as I was born in the 80s!), there is one glaring error which ruins the show…..the lighting. The camera is regularly angled upwards to show row upon row of perfectly illuminated square LED panels – a major oversight for a show set in the 1960s/1970s!

Example 2 – The shopping experience. Long do I yearn for the days when I would simply walk into shops to buy things. Now however, my first thought is always the temperature. 98% of the time, shops do not take into account the fact that customers will be wearing clothes suitable for the external weather conditions. For example, if it’s 0ºC outside, they will be wrapped up appropriately, and the last thing they’ll want is to walk into a shop which is reminiscent of a sauna and be baked like an arctic explorer in the Amazon. Cue me walking into a shop and swiftly leaving after five seconds (which happens regularly!).

Example 3 – Going for dinner or drinks. Currently, the trend seems to be for bars and restaurants to be fitted out in a ‘vintage’ style, including filament style lightbulbs. My first thought when I walk into these places is whether they are actually old high wattage filament bulbs or a sneaky LED alternative (which can be very realistic). Cue my attempts to try and touch the lights to see how much heat is being given off, prompting some very shifty looks from the bar staff.

So, it seems that I am destined to never ‘switch off’ from the job. However, I take solace in the fact that the above scenarios are not life threatening and do not keep me awake at night (like some jobs must). Instead it has formed an integral, albeit mildly annoying, part of my sub-conscious that will likely never fade.

The Sustainability Case for Business

Upon reading a number of recent sustainability articles; “2018 will be fourth hottest year on record…”,  “Humans are damaging the oceans in profound ways”, “Earth’s resources consumed in ever greater destructive volumes”, I am left pondering what priority is this critically important issue being given at a time when – more than ever – the evidence is right before our eyes?


There is now more pressure on organisations, companies and individuals to act as ‘Sustainability Stewards’ for society and the environment. Especially with a UK government lost in the quagmire of Brexit, dealing a serious blow to real sustainability policy, legislation and leadership.

Over the past decade or so, I have witnessed some improvement in the nature of organisation and client conversations in this space; however, challenges on making the business case for sustainability do remain.

My hope is that energy efficiency practices, environmental standards and initiatives become default best practice in every organisation…  Don’t get me wrong, there are some very pro-active organisations leading the charge. However, wider adoption is needed to really embed the levels of sustainability required to reduce and mitigate the impact of climate change.

The built environment is rapidly expanding. It is critical that a genuine understanding of how these buildings perform and impact the environment throughout their lifecycle is developed and disseminated to all. Surely it makes sense to futureproof property assets, securing their long term value and sustainability? At the same time, these solutions will deliver on wider sustainability goals that protect the planet and our finite resources.

To help lead the charge, EVORA focuses on using accurate data to benchmark and track performance across various types of real estate. This forms the basis of an holistic approach to develop definitive end to end solutions for our clients to support their strategies, through feasible initiatives that enhances the operation of their assets and the wellbeing of their occupants .

I will finish on a positive note, there are signs of positive action where EVORA have helped clients: “Monitoring & Targeting delivers 30% energy savings”, “16% increase in recycling & zero waste to landfill”, “Ground breaking approach to BIM results in proposal to reduce CO2 emissions on all new developments by 20%”.

If we can continue this trajectory then we are certainly heading in the right direction. We just need to up the momentum and reframe the conversation to make the “sustainability case for business!”


To speak to a member of the team about how we can support you, please contact us.

Sustainable cities: innovative “hubs” and battlefields against negative change

Only ten years ago, knowing about sustainability meant that you might have accidentally read a piece of avant-garde research, speculating about harmful changes in our climate. In the blink of an eye, sustainability has gained wider momentum, and today has established itself as a global goal for our future and that of our planet.

However, years have passed but we still have a long way to go: threats to our environment and humankind haven’t disappeared as quickly as we’d hoped, and industrial production has largely been favouring short-term interests over environmentally-sound long-term benefits. Hence, the war against negative environmental impact is still on. What better battlefield than cities today?


Cities are expected to be home to over 70% of the world’s population by 2050[1]. In Europe, urban areas account for 75% of the population already. It is anticipated that US350 trillion are to be spent on urban infrastructure over the next 30 years[2]. How can we use those monetary resources effectively and sustainably?

Real Estate is a sector with one of the most comprehensive sets of tools and practical standards aiming to improve sustainability and resilience in cities. And thankfully so, as buildings account for almost 40% of carbon dioxide emissions globally, and in bigger cities up to 80%[3]. Ensuring that buildings are sustainable means finding ways to use resources efficiently, without compromising their overall purpose. Buildings should be designed with the best solutions and ideas at stake and should be a grounding element of future-proofed cities.

Great theory, great lesson, but what has been done so far?


Practical learning n 1: Business for sustainability, or sustainability for business?

A lot of initiatives and developments have taken place in the real estate sector to advance sustainability holistically. More and more, environmental standards and certifications such as BREEAM, LEED and many more have set out criteria to measure buildings’ sustainability and determine which actions can contribute to better results. Along this line, the GRESB sustainability survey has become a turning point for real estate investors’ business-wide future decisions. The speculative market environment can therefore easily be influenced by what investors believe to be future risks. This means that sustainable cities and structures are at the core of the international agenda, and they have the power to steadily shape what is next.

Practical learning n 2: All that glitters today is not gold tomorrow

Industries such as Real Estate, which deal with infrastructures that need sustainable (re)development, have started rewriting their founding lessons, with an eye for long-lasting value, rather than short-term benefit. Why is business, often the enemy to our environment, suddenly turning towards more sustainable solutions?

Industries such as Real Estate, which deal with infrastructures that need sustainable (re)development, have started rewriting their founding lessons, with an eye for long-lasting value, rather than short-term benefit.

Sustainable cities mean resilience, hence resistance to future risks and challenges. This means better stability and reward for the years to come as well as a greater understanding of how to peacefully live within our environment, rather than harming it or feeling threatened by it.  More in cities than anywhere else, where consumption patterns are the direct cause of environmental degradation, there is a need for enduring value, which can only go hand in hand with an increasing respect and understanding of how to treat our urban surroundings. What glitters today is not going to be the gold of tomorrow, if it cannot last until tomorrow!

Practical learning n 3: The happier, the better

Cities are a hub of production, which means innovation, creativity, financial reward, increasing services and ambitious professional, social and cultural opportunities. As a result, however, cities can also be stressful environments, filled with people, vehicles, infrastructure, but with little space and resources to support them. This does not only affect the resilience of businesses and infrastructures, but also of the people contributing to them, who increasingly suffer from psychological distress, anxiety and hence lower productivity. Sustainable cities and their infrastructures can only achieve enduring value if they become healthier environments for their people.

The Real Estate sector has recently made advancements in establishing health and wellbeing as a part of the sustainability agenda. Not only do sustainable buildings mean good management of resources, which inevitably meet future human needs, but research has shown that proximity to more natural elements within our urban spaces is fundamental to advancing our well-being, and as a result our productivity[4][5]. Standards such as the WELL, RESET and Fitwel have taken health and wellbeing as their main focus to aspire to resilient and thriving communities within urban spaces. Similarly, GRESB recently introduced a health and well-being module in their annual survey and it will likely gain wider coverage in future years. It seems that if you feel great within your environment, you will be happier, healthier and will reach your full potential. Isn’t this what we are all looking for?

If you agree, then you have reason to believe that because our current cities are the major obstacle to improving sustainability and finding enduring value, they are also the inherent solution.

This blog post was originally written for and published on GRESB Insights.


[1] Neij, L., Bulkeley, H. & McCormick, K. (2015) Cities and climate change: The great decarbonisation challenge, Climate in Focus, 1-4.

[2] WWF (2012) Reinventing the City: Three Prerequisites for Greening Urban Infrastructures, p. 6

[3] WF (2012) Urban Solutions for a Living Planet. P.10

[4] WF (2012) Urban Solutions for a Living Planet. P.9

[5] Ryan, C., Gaziulusoy, I., McCormick, K & Trudgeon, M. (to be published) Virtual City Experimentation: A Critical Role for Design Visioning. In: Evans, J., Karvonen A. & Raven, R (eds) The Experimental City. London: Routledge.

EVORA achieves Planet Mark Certification

We are proud to announce that EVORA has achieved the Planet Mark Certification for the 4th year running!

The Planet Mark is an internationally recognised certification based on sustainability standards. It represents an organisation’s sustainability programme to actively reduce environmental and social harm.

[clickToTweet tweet=”EVORA is committed to continuous improvement in sustainability” quote=”EVORA is committed to continuous improvement in sustainability”]

In order to achieve the Planet Mark certification, EVORA had to submit data and evidence on a number of its business activities, such as its utilities (energy and water), waste (recyclable and landfill) and business travel. The Planet Mark then takes that data and puts it through ‘rigorous carbon footprint measurement and reporting’ to ensure we are acting responsibly and limiting our environmental impact.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Total carbon footprint per employee – decreased by 17.3%” quote=”Total carbon footprint per employee – decreased by 17.3%”]

Highlights from the report:

  • Total carbon footprint – decreased by 8.6%
  • Total carbon footprint per employee – decreased by 17.3%

EVORA is committed to continuous improvement in sustainability and aims to reduce our carbon footprint even further next year!

EVORA to Manage Real Estate Sustainability Event for Over 100 Delegates

On Wednesday 7th February 2018, we are delighted to be running an event for over 100 commercial real estate and sustainability professionals.

Real Estate Sustainability: Planning for 2018 & Beyond


What started out as an idea in November for a small workshop-style event for up to 30 people quickly escalated into something much larger when we received over 30 bookings before Christmas. Thanks to our client, Schroders, who are hosting the event for us in the auditorium of their Gresham Street office, we are now able to accommodate up to 130 attendees.

With six guest speakers and panelists including Sander Paul van Tongeren, Managing Director of GRESB, Debbie Hobbs, Head of Sustainability at Legal & General Investment Management, and Murray Birt, ESG Thematic Research Strategist at Deutsche Asset Management, participants have been eagerly booking onto the event to hear from such industry experts.

[clickToTweet tweet=”We’re currently at 105 registrations with some spaces remaining! So, why not join your peers and kick-start your year” quote=”We’re currently at 105 registrations, meaning we still have some spaces remaining! So, why not join your peers and kick-start your year”]

We’re currently at 105 registrations, meaning we still have some spaces remaining! So, why not join your peers and kick-start your year by learning the answers to the following questions:

  • How can you make 2018 your best year yet for meeting your sustainability goals?
  • What are the new risks and opportunities you should be aware of this year?
  • What changes are on the horizon for GRESB?
  • How can social value be measured?

We firmly believe this is set to be one of the biggest and best consultancy-organised events that the UK commercial real estate sustainability sector has seen to date. Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of it. We expect the remaining few places to go very quickly!


Enquire now by completing the form on this page