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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.

BIM:SAM – A Revolutionary Way To Optimise And Future-Proof Your Buildings In A Digital Age

Strategic asset management within the BIM environment; bringing all the information you need into one building model

EVORA EDGE‘s remit is to support clients to implement sustainability at both fund and asset levels. We do this by helping to design, deliver and manage technical engineering solutions to the built environment. To support our delivery of these technical services, EVORA EDGE has developed an innovative management approach, which we call BIM:SAM – Building Information Modelling for Strategic Asset Management.

BIM:SAM is nothing mysterious or untested. It’s our way of delivering a connected, intelligent approach to designing, maintaining, monitoring and reporting asset performance within the Commercial Real Estate sector.

[clickToTweet tweet=”BIM:SAM – EVORA’s approach to managing the challenges that exist within commercial real estate” quote=”BIM:SAM is our approach to managing the many challenges that exist within commercial real estate, and is our way of future-proofing properties in a digital age.”]


BIM:SAM – a ‘one stop shop’ for managing real estate challenges.

  • Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.
  • Strategic Asset Management (SAM) involves the balancing of costs, opportunities and risks against the desired performance of assets.

EVORA has created a methodology for combining BIM technologies with SAM processes into a ‘one stop shop’ solution that informs the building management process, resulting in a useful transferable asset – the building information model.

The schematic below demonstrates how, acting as a technical manager, we use BIM:SAM to manage commercial real estate and developments.

BIM:SAM Projects diagram

As you can see, the BIM can be created for a number of solutions, such as a high-level MEES risk assessment, a Health and Wellbeing study, or as part of a building services design project.

Whatever the requirement, the same BIM can be used as a ‘digital passport’ for your building, recording data and information of the building and its services – one model, multiple functionalities.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The launch of BIM:SAM provides a ‘one stop shop’ approach to delivering M&E technical consultancy” quote=”The launch of BIM:SAM now provides a ‘one stop shop’ approach to delivering M&E technical consultancy”]


Merging real intelligence and innovation with strategic asset management.

The typical M&E/FM service model below illustrates how the M&E consultant’s role can be restricted to periodic checking and/or specific project involvement:

Conversely, our BIM:SAM model below illustrates how EVORA EDGE, as a Technical Manager, continuously interacts with the Property Manager by using a dynamic building information model.

This BIM can be integrated with our SIERA software to create a powerful monitoring and targeting (M&T) toolset. BIM:SAM merges real intelligence and innovation with strategic asset management.

SIERA BIM:SAM diagram

At the heart of BIM:SAM is the relationship between our Technical Manager and the Property Manager. We develop and provide the building information model that informs the decision-making process.

Within our model and our SIERA platform, we collate the information required such as energy usage, CO2 emissions (embodied carbon and operational), asset condition reporting, maintenance scheduling and life expectancy reporting.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Using a dynamic BIM model alongside @SIERAsoftware can bring innovation to asset management” quote=”By using a dynamic BIM model, alongside monitoring and targeting through our SIERA software, we can bring real intelligence and innovation within the strategic asset management approach”]


Outputs that are easily integrated and simple to understand.

EVORA EDGE is experienced in using BIM processes to manage MEES risks, engineering and energy efficiency, resource efficiency and capital cost planning.

Our systems follow the recommendations in the RICS New Rules of Measurement (NRM) Order of cost estimating and cost planning for capital building works. This ensures that any outputs can be easily understood and integrated into capital cost planning and asset management by non-engineering professionals.


BIM:SAM in action.

Guildford Borough Council

We used our BIM:SAM approach to undertake an exciting project for Guildford Borough Council, supporting it with its CO2 reduction strategy.

Download our Guildford Borough Council case study here.

EPAM

We have been appointed by our client EPIC Property Asset Management Ltd (EPAM) to conduct a BIM:SAM project at 120 Old Broad Street – a 49,000sqft multi-let office building. We look forward to sharing the results of this work soon, and at X Energy 2017 in October, at which we are the Building Optimisation Partner.


The benefits of our BIM:SAM approach:

  • Managed by technical M&E specialists
  • Centralised data collation, consistent processes and simplified reporting structures
  • BIM ‘Digital Passport’
  • Data quality and performance modelling
  • Conditioned-based monitoring and intelligent PPMP
  • Performance Management – energy and productivity
  • Future-proofing of assets
  • Health and Wellbeing planning
  • Improved fund performance

BIM:SAM Brochure cover image
To learn more about BIM:SAM and how it can revolutionise your approach to asset management, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or download our BIM:SAM brochure for all the information in a handy PDF.

 

Health And Wellbeing In Practice: 7 Ways Our Office Move Has Improved Life At EVORA

In March 2017, after four years at Vintage House on Albert Embankment, close to Vauxhall, our London team relocated to The Hop Exchange on Southwark Street, by London Bridge and Borough Market.

Having outgrown Vintage House, we took the opportunity to look for a space that provided a better working environment. As sustainability practitioners, we are acutely aware of the health and wellbeing agenda. Improvement of our own employees’ health and wellbeing was therefore seen as paramount.

Employee opinions matter to us, so we decided to complete short before-and-after staff surveys, issued in our final week at Vintage House and again after our first four months at The Hop Exchange. The results have helped us to understand the hugely positive impact the office move has had on our employees’ health and wellbeing, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.

Let’s dive straight in and look at the results.


(All questions except 4 and 7 were based on the following format: “To what extent do you agree with the following statement?”, where 10 was “Completely agree” and 0 was “Completely disagree”.  With 16 employees taking the survey, there was a maximum score of 160 for each question.)

Health & Wellbeing

1. Physical Exercise

“Facilities at the office enable you to participate in physical exercise. (Consider the availability of showers and the proximity to external facilities – gyms, swimming pools, etc.)”

Vintage House: 70
The Hop Exchange: 70
Change: 0%

This question proved to be the anomaly of the set, as it’s the only one for which the results showed no improvement.

Vintage House was considered by staff to be in a worse location overall as far as being able to do exercise was concerned, but it gained bonus points for having a shower room. This enabled people to cycle to work and freshen up before heading into the office for the day.

At The Hop Exchange, although it’s in a better location generally (closer to a variety of gyms etc.), unfortunately we have no shower facilities – yet!

2. Healthy Eating

“You are able to access varied and healthy eating options in the local area.”

Vintage House: 78
The Hop Exchange: 151
Change: +94%

The options for buying a varied and healthy lunch close to Vintage House were extremely limited, with only a Pret a Manger, a Sainsbury’s, and a small handful of other places nearby.

Relocation to The Hop Exchange, which is situated next to the thriving Borough Market, has meant that we have access to a huge variety of different food every day, including a truly enormous range of fresh fruit and vegetables.

EVORA Health and Wellbeing in Practice Blog Post 2

One of Borough Market’s many incredible fruit and vegetable stalls.

3. Natural Ventilation

“You are able to benefit from natural ventilation.”

Vintage House: 55
The Hop Exchange: 92
Change: +67%

“Productivity improvements of 8-11% are not uncommon as a result of better air quality.” – ‘Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices’, UK Green Building Council

While there was the option to open windows at Vintage House, there was always an element of compromise between the temperature and noise levels from outside. With the office being adjacent to the busy Waterloo railway tracks, if the windows were open, the noise levels increased significantly. Windows would often remain closed with the air conditioning on. However, this didn’t allow for natural ventilation and the temperature often dropped too low due to the inefficient air conditioning unit’s thermostat controls.

At The Hop Exchange, we have tried to optimise ventilation now that noise from outside is less of an issue. There is the option to open various windows both in the main office and also in the meeting room to allow for circulation of air throughout the space, especially in the morning after the office has been closed up for the evening and the air has become stuffy.

We’re confident we can further improve this situation over time.

4. Indoor Environment

“How do you rate the overall indoor environment (temperature, air quality, noise)?”

Vintage House: 47
The Hop Exchange: 118
Change: +151%

This question saw Vintage House get its lowest score at just 47 out of 160. This was due to the combination of being unable to naturally ventilate the office (as described in Question 3 above) and an air conditioning system that wasn’t able to regulate the temperature particularly well, meaning that the space was often hot or noisy, or a combination of the two.

At The Hop Exchange, there are a number of options to improve both ventilation and temperature. A modern and much improved air conditioning system regulates the indoor temperature efficiently and there is also the option to open windows and circulate fresh air when the CO2 levels get too high. Hot desking in the office also allows employees freedom in where they sit so that they have some personal control of temperature in their immediate environment.

Since the survey, we have now also bought a variety of plants for the office in an effort to further increase the air quality and add a splash of colour.


Productivity

5. Productivity

“The office enables you to work effectively and productively.”

Vintage House: 82
The Hop Exchange: 134
Change: +63%

Vintage House gained its highest score for this question, but even that was only 82 out of 160. The building was well situated on Albert Embankment, with fantastic views of the Thames. Sadly, our office was on the wrong side of the building and we had a view of the train tracks leading to Waterloo – hardly conducive to a quiet working environment!

The Hop Exchange was an improvement for staff due to a better set-up of hot desking and the provision of new office equipment. I find that our excellent desks, chairs, and dual screen set-ups are particularly effective at increasing productivity. There is also better temperature control and ventilation (as discussed above), as well as an increase in the amount of natural light and a variety of spaces for working, socializing and a quiet space in which to make phone calls.

EVORA Health and Wellbeing in Practice Blog Post 3

Left: desks in our Vintage House office. Right: desks in The Hop Exchange.


Job Satisfaction

6. Social interaction

“Facilities at the office provide opportunities for social interaction with colleagues and others in the building (e.g. provision of break-out areas, etc)?”

Vintage House: 54
The Hop Exchange: 134
Change: +148%

This was Vintage House’s second lowest score. The office had absolutely no breakout areas for the sole use of EVORA staff, meaning having quick meetings, a quiet space to make a phone call, or enjoying lunch together was practically impossible.

The layout at The Hop Exchange is far more conducive to socializing with colleagues, with an excellent breakfast bar allowing staff to enjoy time away from their desks together, whether it be meeting over a coffee or having lunch. With the exception of two desks, all others are hot desks and are arranged in small groups, encouraging collaboration and communication between colleagues from different teams and the sharing of ideas. Due to the local area, there is also the opportunity for more varied social activities outside of the office.

The 148% increase speaks for itself!

EVORA Health and Wellbeing in Practice Blog Post 1

Having a prosecco brunch and socialising around the breakfast bar to start our company summer party a couple of weeks ago!

7. Overall satisfaction

“How do you rate the overall quality of the office space (considering all elements)?”

Vintage House: 71
The Hop Exchange: 134
Change: +88%

As evident from questions 1 to 6, there have been many improvements which have increased employee satisfaction since the move from Vintage House to The Hop Exchange. Our employees are very happy with the new office and the improvements in their working environment.

Importantly, it’s not just our London staff who are feeling the benefits of the move. Paul is based in our Greater Manchester office, but is in London every week for client meetings. Here’s how Paul finds the new office:

“I am delighted with our new office. It provides an ideal location for both permanent staff and visitors.  Important elements for me are location, access to public transport (it’s a stone’s throw from London Bridge) and quick access into the City, where many of our clients are based. However, most importantly, the abundance of natural light and office layout make it a great place to work.”

The Hop Exchange also has a real ‘wow factor’, thanks to its impressive facade and beautiful atrium – complete with old F1 racing car! This has a positive effect on our visitors, from clients to interview candidates, who all arrive at our office with a smile, commenting on how unique our office is. (View photos of The Hop Exchange here.)

EVORA Health and Wellbeing in Practice Blog Post 4

Natalie and Yvonne – two of our happy employees and the key two people behind the smooth move and daily running of the office!


Summary

Overall, the survey results are a great indication that we have a happy, productive workforce. This is of particular importance given our rapidly growing team – 100% growth since May 2016.

And we’re not stopping there… We are already considering new office improvement strategies, including increased use of plants and better communication of air conditioning control guidelines. And we’re also pushing our landlord for that all important shower!


Results Comparison Chart

EVORA Health and Wellbeing in Practice Blog Post 5


To speak to us about health and wellbeing in your operational buildings, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Visit our YouTube channel to watch the highlights of our Healthy Buildings conference from April 2017.

EVORA Appointed by USS to Manage Its Sustainability Data

On behalf of the wider team, I am delighted to welcome Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) as a new EVORA client.

USS, one of the largest pension schemes in the UK, with total fund assets of approximately £57 billion (as of December 2016), has appointed EVORA to manage its sustainability data and to provide support in meeting its voluntary and mandatory reporting commitments.

EVORA Appointed by USS

Our instruction focuses on monitoring and performance reporting, including the managing of waste, water and energy data for the property portfolio. We are also helping USS with its external reporting requirements ranging from the CRC through to GRESB submissions.

We are very excited to have been appointed by USS and feel our instruction is a reflection of our proven track record in managing large scale data management and reporting mandates. The strategic approach that we take with our consultancy clients is being supported by our proprietary web-based sustainability management software SIERA.

SIERA has been developed specifically for the real estate IM market to provide environmental monitoring and reporting, to help meet specific client reporting requirements, and also regulatory and voluntary reporting standards including CRC, GRESB and INREV/EPRA.

We look forward to working on this instruction and hope it is the start of a much longer-term relationship.

The Non-Financial Reporting Directive: Three Key Questions and How to Approach the New Requirements

This is our 20th blog post of 2017 so far – have you signed up to receive our monthly digest yet?


In December 2016, the EU non-financial reporting directive (Directive 2014/95/EU) was transposed into UK law via The Companies, Partnerships and Groups (Accounts and Non-Financial Reporting) Regulations 2016.

In short, this legislation requires large companies to report additional non-financial (i.e. environmental and social) performance-related information within their annual reports.

The original timetable for transposition into national legislation by member states was the 6th December 2016. On the continent, several states are reported to have missed this deadline, which presents uncertainty as to how and when these requirements will be interpreted across jurisdictions.


1. Which companies are affected?

‘Public interest entities’ matching both of the following criteria are required to report against these new requirements:

A. Traded/listed company (anywhere in European Economic Area), banking company, insurance company, or company carrying on insurance market activity

B. ≥ 500 employees (on average during the financial year)

[Notwithstanding these criteria, in our opinion it would be a valuable exercise for any organisation to review their opportunities to develop or improve reporting of non-financial information to relevant stakeholders.]


2. What must be disclosed and when?

The legislation requires disclosure of these aspects of performance:

  • Description of the company’s business model
  • Policies (incl. due diligence procedures)
  • Principal risks and corresponding risk management procedures
  • Management approach
  • Non-financial key performance indicators
  • Outcomes

All the above aspects of performance should be reported in relation to these ‘non-financial’ issues:

  • Environmental matters
  • Social matters
  • Employee matters
  • Respect for human rights
  • Anticorruption and bribery matters
  • Board diversity (i.e. age, gender, geographical diversity, and educational and professional background) [1]

Information must be relevant and material, in order that stakeholders can fully understand an entity’s approach, impact and performance in relation to these environmental, social and governance matters. Where there are gaps in disclosures, an explanation must be provided.

For affected entities, these reporting requirements apply to reporting in relation to financial years starting in 2017. This includes financial years that begin on 1st January 2017.

Interestingly, the European Commission has committed to preparing a report for the European Parliament and Council by 6th December 2018 on the implementation of the Directive, including its scope, effectiveness and the level of accompanying guidance and methods. However, clearly, with the UK now committed to leaving the EU by April 2019, the outcomes of this review will not automatically directly impact UK legislation. More fundamentally, the entire existence of this piece of legislation may be threatened as a result of the UK leaving the EU, as the UK Government will be completing a process of reviewing the applicability of all laws passed pursuant to EU Directives. However, please note that in the meantime and until further notice [by UK legislators] companies will be required to apply this new legislation in its entirety.


3. Where should these disclosures be reported?

According to the legislation, the required information should be included as part of a ‘Non-Financial Information Statement’ within the strategic report of the entity’s annual report. Importantly however, “If information required by subsections (1) to (5) to be included in the statement is published by the company by means of a national, EU-based or international reporting framework, the statement must specify the framework or frameworks used, instead of including that information.”

As such, if for example an entity presently or plans to report through the UN Global Compact (UNGC) or Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), they may already be compliant and can continue to report this information outside of their annual report. In this instance, these separate aspects of reporting would need to correspond to the same financial year.

In our opinion, for companies that present UNGC or GRI-related information outside of their annual report, we hope that they will elect to include more than just a sign-post to this information within their Non-Financial Information Statement. Providing at least a summary of this information will clearly better comply with the intent of this legislation, which is to have relevant and material non-financial information presented alongside financial information in an integrated manner.


Final thoughts on how to approach these new requirements

  1. Consider the relevant criteria to determine whether your organisation is affected.
  2. Unpick the requirements and complete a gap analysis against your organisation’s current activities, performance and data/information collection procedures.
  3. [Optional] Explore synergies with other voluntary/mandatory reporting frameworks that your organisation already reports or would like to report against – e.g. Modern Slavery Statements (Modern Slavery Act 2015); Financial Standards Board (FSB) Climate-related Financial Disclosures (currently draft); GRI; UNGC; and, European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA) Best Practice Recommendations on Sustainability Reporting.
  4. Take a look at what your peers are doing – the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) have helpfully compiled some relevant good practice examples that can be accessed here.
  5. Develop a plan to both improve your organisation’s performance in these areas and ability to report accurately and completely.
  6. Implement the plan.
  7. Report!

Nearly finally… we would recommend discussing with your auditor the level of assurance/verification incumbent upon information contained within your non-financial information statement. That said, we would always recommend that such information and data be generated and checked via robust procedures and, where appropriate, supported by third-party advisors and/or software tools. For example, our proprietary software SIERA holds all an organisation’s property-related environmental data in one secure database with powerful validation tools to ensure the accuracy and completeness of data.

And finally, please do get in touch if you would like to explore these requirements further and/or to discuss how your organisation can:

  • achieve compliance

  • derive benefits from better risk management and transparent reporting


We’re ready to help. Contact our experts today.


[1] Please note: Board diversity disclosure requirements are nuanced depending on the exact nature of the business. EVORA can provide more information upon request.

A Connected World: An Introduction to the Internet of Things (Part 1 of 3)

The world is becoming more interconnected than ever before. The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is an exciting development for many industries and disciplines. You do not have to be a technology expert to realise the potential of IoT.

This blog series takes you on a journey to demystify the IoT concept. Throughout the series, you will understand the implications for real estate investment and management and applications to energy and sustainability performance and we will give you an insight into our very own SIERA platform.


Let’s begin with the concept of the Internet of Things. What is it?

The IoT is a network of physical objects, an ecosystem of devices, buildings and other ‘things’ connected to one another electronically, through software, sensors and connections. Data flows between these ‘things’. They are internet-enabled with links between devices, apps and services, data and the cloud. This sits within something called the ‘Internet of Everything’ which is the connection of data, processes, people and things. As the world is becoming an increasingly interconnected place, some people have even called this phenomenon the 4th Industrial Revolution.

EVORA Internet of Things Blog Part 1 of 3

Source: Booz Allen (2014). https://www.boozallen.com/content/dam/boozallen/documents/2014/12/Internet_of_Things.pdf


What’s all the fuss about?

It’s all about data and how it interacts with the ‘things’. Through data exchanges, we can begin to get a deeper understanding of the value that can be extracted from core processes and interactions. For real estate investment and management, buildings, people and energy performance forms part of the network. Later in the blog series, we explore the opportunities of IoT for the industry. Many industries are now future-proofing for IoT; attention has been drawn to big data and data management.

Gartner summarised it quite nicely by framing ‘data’ as the currency of the IoT, from which the value can truly be harnessed if the data can be translated to information which can create business transformation and inform strategy.


Four Impacts of the IoT

Impact 1:

The IoT will transform and shape the future for many industries including the commercial real estate sector

Impact 2:

Connectivity and platforms are crucial. There is a requirement that data can be accessed anytime and anywhere in the world. Whether you are in Hong Kong, New York or London – your data is there, anytime, anywhere, in any context and on any network.

Impact 3:

It is not just about connectivity, but accessibility, availability and security are also important. We found that in the real estate investment and management sector, data management has been a key issue – data is traditionally stored on numerous computers, held offline on paper and data loss has been a core risk. Nowadays, data is no longer restricted to a hard drive on a desktop computer, or a USB, but the cloud is a popular means to store data.

Impact 4:

A big focus on data. Data visualisation, data analytics and data mining approaches will be some of the ways to interrogate the data in more detail. Data validation and verification will be essential to question the data and ensure it is meaningful.


Sustainability Intelligence Environmental Reporting & Analysis (SIERA)

We are working hard at the leading-edge to understand our industry needs. We have adopted an agile development and management methodology which has enabled us to situate ourselves within a data-driven landscape. Get in touch to book a demo of SIERA today, which is our proprietary sustainability management software designed for the information age. We would love to have a personal conversation with you to assess your current infrastructure and to discover how SIERA could help you tap into new opportunities.

Part 2 of this series will focus on the implications and applications of IoT for commercial real estate investment management, sustainability and energy performance.


To speak to us about SIERA, or for any other enquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

EVORA Needs More Excellent People to Join Its Growing Team!

As EVORA’s exciting phase of growth continues, we are on the lookout for more outstanding candidates to come and join our close-knit team of dedicated professionals.


Energy Consultant

We only launched our new technical engineering division, EVORA EDGE, a few weeks ago, but Andrew and Neil are already so busy with new client work that we are recruiting for an Energy Consultant to support them. The reception to EVORA EDGE has been phenomenal: the unique skills that Andrew and Neil possess are clearly in high demand and they are enabling us to deliver client work that many of our competitors cannot (stay tuned to our blog for more news on this soon). This vacancy therefore represents an excellent opportunity to join an exciting and growing area of the business.

This role will be based in our Bolton office. Click here for full job details and to find out how to apply.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Energy Consultant vacancy for @evoraglobal based in its Bolton office. Apply today! #jobs #energy” quote=”EVORA is recruiting for an Energy Consultant for its Bolton office. Apply today!”]


Business Development Manager

Sorry, this position has now been filled!

This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for an excellent salesperson who is looking for the next step in their career to join a small but rapidly growing business. You will be following-up on the hot leads generated by our Marketing Team to sell our expert consultancy services and our visionary sustainability management software, SIERA. The successful candidate will go on to manage a team of Junior Business Development Associates and will lead on our sales strategy, reporting directly to the Marketing Director to ensure overall alignment of business strategy. This opportunity is only suitable for the most ambitious, proactive and diligent salesperson who is looking to advance his or her career. If that sounds like you, please apply today.

This role will be based in our Head Office in London. Click here for full job details and to find out how to apply.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Salesperson vacancy for @evoraglobal based in its London office. Apply today! #jobs #London” quote=”EVORA is recruiting for a Business Development Manager for its Head Office in London. Apply today!”]


Office Administrator

Sorry, this position has now been filled!

Last but by no means least, we need a truly outstanding Office Administrator to come and join the team in our Head Office. This incredibly varied, hands-on role is only suitable for someone with experience of simultaneously managing multiple administrative tasks in a busy office environment. You will be the go-to person for a team of 17 (soon to be 20!) and no two days will be the same. This opportunity is for you if you have office administration experience and you are looking for an exciting new challenge as part of a close-knit team in a growing business. With a front-of-house side to the role, it is perfect for a warm and friendly person with excellent people skills and a superb telephone manner.

This role will be based in our Head Office in London. Click here for full job details and to find out how to apply.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Office Administrator vacancy for @evoraglobal based in its London office. Apply today! #jobs #London” quote=”EVORA is recruiting for an Office Administrator for its Head Office in London. Apply today!”]


A note to all serious applicants!

Due to the incredibly high number of applications we receive, we cannot reply to each individually.

To stand the best chance of your application being reviewed, please make sure you:

  • first and foremost meet all the requirements listed on the job advert
  • send an up-to-date CV that is eye catching and well formatted
  • send a proper, personalised covering letter, which supports your CV and further demonstrates your suitability for the role and outlines why you want to work at EVORA

If you do those three things, you stand a far greater chance of catching our attention and making our shortlist of suitable candidates. Good luck!

Commercial Real Estate Sustainability in 2017: Seven Likely Highlights

I think most will agree that 2016 has been year of surprises and uncertainties in many arenas. In spite of this, we’ve seen some positive moves in many aspects of the world of commercial real estate sustainability and 2017 could shape up to be an equally encouraging one. I wanted to share EVORA’s thoughts on what we think the highlights of the next 12 months could be.


1. EU and US Political Surprises

The question is will the progress of recent years to a greener and more energy efficient real estate sector be halted or even reversed following Britain’s vote to leave the EU and the US electing Trump? However, the reality is that for the next 5-10 years there could be very little regulatory change, certainly in Europe. Let’s not forget the global context; the UK and other members of the EU are all also members of the International Energy Agency (IEA). As such all are committed to implementing IEA guidelines which is a good example of why the UK as a whole, and more specifically the real estate sector, would still be required to act on climate change whether part of the EU or not.

Aside from Brexit we’ve already been anticipating some ‘rationalisation’ of the UK energy legislative landscape i.e. the review of how its main elements work together; Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), Climate Change Levy (CCL), the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) and mandatory GHG reporting etc.

For the time being, companies will still need to comply with existing legislation and instruments such as ESOS (and MEES – see No. 3, below) should surely, at the very least, only promote the business case for investment in energy efficiency rather than hinder it. Although broader economic performance has not been as bad as predicted since the Brexit vote, the continued uncertainty will be stifling company decision making and the sooner the UK government can provide clarity the better.


2. The Health & Wellbeing Agenda

Recent months have been awash with this topic and I would like to think that, despite staff engagement within many organisations still having some way to go, there need be no more debate that addressing health and wellbeing has a demonstrable business case. There are some great case studies coming out of the retail and commercial office sectors but can we expect 2017 to be the year in which there will be more action? EVORA expects the profile to continue to be increased but perhaps firm action (and to a certain extent, interest) could be limited to major developers and larger investment companies. That said, rapid acceleration of relatively inexpensive monitoring technologies should enable ease of access to valuable data (such as indoor air quality) to organisations of all sizes. This could lead to occupiers taking the initiative on health and wellbeing conversations with their landlords. It will also be interesting to follow the uptake of and insights provided by GRESB’s Health & Wellbeing Assessment; 2016 already saw nearly 25% of the entities that reported to the GRESB Real Estate Assessment voluntarily report to the Health & wellbeing module.


3. EPCs

With the 2018 Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) deadline looming, we could see potential high profile litigation relating to historically incorrect EPC assessments. With not much more than a year to go, 2017 should see a lot of activity in this space with a push to understand and address EPC risks. This is something EVORA have recognised the need for expertise in having recently launched EVORA EDGE, our technical engineering division.


4. Science Based Targets

Following the first theme regarding the global context to action on climate change, 2016 saw an increase in the commercial real estate sector’s interest in science based targets (SBTs). One of our Junior Consultants, Kim Diep, wrote two blogs on this providing considerations for the real estate sector. EVORA anticipates that SBTs will continue to gain interest amongst the REITs and Institutional Investors that consider themselves at the forefront of carbon reduction target setting. This will no doubt be a topic on the minds of those following the ongoing response to the COP21 outcomes as a means of aligning the carbon reduction strategies for real estate to the requirements of broader climate policy.


5. Increasing Momentum in Voluntary Reporting

2016 saw a 30% increase in the number of participants in GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) in two years, with Europe participants alone comprising $750 bn in total asset value. EVORA was certainly kept busy managing the process of more than 40 submissions for our participating clients. Indeed, the uptake of GRESB in the real estate sector is a fairly good barometer of interest. Investors are asking more and more about ESG and GRESB appears to be an increasingly popular means of engaging in the topic with their fund and asset managers. GRESB has recently released the guidance for the 2017 survey; whilst it’s important that participants engage with GRESB to shape the methodologies to ensure scoring is reflective of market conditions, it will be good news to the ears of those involved with administering submissions that the Real Estate Assessment is being kept stable. EVORA expects increased uptake but also even more focus on score improvement.

Stay tuned to our newsletters for information on the release of our upcoming GRESB eBook and our GRESB Masterclass in March.


6. Focus on Data Accuracy

With more and more data being collected and analysed to inform real estate decision making, accuracy is going to be ever more important. We’ve already highlighted this in respect of EPCs but also GRESB as an example where accuracy of information will be key to implementing improvements and where there is a trend increasingly toward the need for investment grade data. These are merely two examples against a background of emerging ‘big data’ trends which are increasingly pertinent in the real estate sector. Our Technical Architect, Alex Graham, blogged about this very topic in 2016; he highlighted how big data will continue to shape our approach to our software SIERA, for example, to enable our clients to get the insights and information they need to improve their sustainability efforts.


7. Continued Fall in Cost of Low Carbon Tech

Despite the recent backtracking from the Government on the fiscal incentives for low carbon technologies, EVORA would argue that the shortfall in policy could be replaced by market forces which seek similar objectives to ensure a low carbon, energy efficient, economically viable and productive real estate sector. Therefore, despite the seemingly persistent barriers, we expect to see a continued uptake and fall in cost of low carbon technologies. Getting the strategic balance between decarbonisation of energy supplies/generation and energy efficiency will continue to be important.


If you have any questions or if you would like more information on any of the topics covered in this blog post, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts today.

New Guidance on Climate Related Disclosure and Reporting

On December 14th 2016 the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate Related Disclosure published its long-awaited recommendation report. The report sets out recommendations for helping businesses disclose climate-related financial risks and opportunities.


The report states that the impact that global warming can have on economies is widely recognised.  However, at present, it is difficult for investors to know which companies are vulnerable to climate risks.  It is recognised that without financial disclosure, the financial impacts of climate change may not be effectively priced.  Pricing of risk is an essential function of financial markets.  It it is increasingly important to also understand the governance and risk management context in which financial results are achieved.

[clickToTweet tweet=”At present, it is difficult for investors to know which companies are vulnerable to #climaterisks.” quote=”At present, it is difficult for investors to know which companies are vulnerable to climate risks.”]

The Task Force states that non-financial disclosures should be:

  • Adoptable by all organisations
  • Included in financial filings
  • Designed to solicit decision-useful, forward-looking information on financial impacts
  • Strong focus on risks and opportunities related to transition to lower-carbon economy

The Task Force’s recommendations apply to all financial sector organisations including real estate asset managers and owners. Importantly, it is recognised that large asset owners and asset managers sit at the top of the investment chain and, therefore, have an important role to play in influencing the organisations in which they invest to provide better climate-related financial disclosures.

Recommendations are structured into four categories, as summarised below.

Governance

Organisations should disclose their governance approaches covering climate-related risks and opportunities.

Recommended disclosures:

  • The board’s oversight of climate-related risks and opportunities
  • Management’s role in assessing and managing climate-related risks and opportunities

[clickToTweet tweet=”Orgs should disclose their #governance approaches covering #climate related risks and opportunities” quote=”Organisations should disclose their governance approaches covering climate-related risks and opportunities.”]

Strategy

Organisations should disclose actual and potential impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities.

Recommended disclosures:

  • Climate related risks and opportunities the organisation has identified over the short, medium, and long term
  • The impact of climate-related risks and opportunities on the organisation’s businesses, strategy, and financial planning
  • The potential impact of different scenarios, including a 2°C scenario, on the organisations businesses, strategy, and financial planning (a clear link to the adoption of science based targets)

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Risk Management

Organisations should disclose how they identify, assesses, and manage climate-related risks.

Recommended disclosures:

  • Processes for identifying and assessing climate-related risks
  • Processes for managing climate-related risks
  • Processes for identifying, assessing, and managing climate- related risks are integrated into the organisation’s overall risk management

[clickToTweet tweet=”Organisations should disclose how they identify, assesses, and manage #climate related risks” quote=”Organisations should disclose how they identify, assesses, and manage climate-related risk.”]

Metrics and Targets

Organisations should disclose how metrics and targets are used to measure and manage risk.

Recommended disclosures:

  • Metrics used to assess climate risk
  • Scope 1, 2 and if appropriate (3) GHG emissions
  • Targets used to manage climate change risks and opportunities

[clickToTweet tweet=”Organisations should disclose how #metrics and targets are used to measure & manage #risks” quote=”Organisations should disclose how metrics and targets are used to measure and manage risk.”]

To underpin these recommendations, the Task Force also sets out seven principles for effective disclosure.

  1. Disclosures should represent relevant information
  2. Disclosures should be specific and complete
  3. Disclosures should be clear, balanced, and understandable
  4. Disclosures should be consistent over time
  5. Disclosures should be comparable among companies within a sector, industry, or portfolio
  6. Disclosures should be reliable, verifiable, and objective
  7. Disclosures should be provided on a timely basis

The Task Force’s recommendations provide a foundation to improve investors’ and others’ ability to appropriately assess and price climate-related risks and opportunities.   They are wide ranging but also practical in the near term allowing the financial industry to develop and grow capability to report within a structured framework.

For information and if you want to get more involved, a public consultation to solicit views on the Task Force’s recommendations is now open until 12 February 2017 and can be accessed here.


EVORA is uniquely positioned to support commercial real estate organisations in the development and reporting of climate risk strategies through to implementation of management plans and collation and analysis of sustainability data using SIERA – our industry leading sustainability management software.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

[clickToTweet tweet=”EVORA is uniquely positioned to support #CRE firms with dev & reporting of #climate risk strategies” quote=”EVORA is uniquely positioned to support commercial real estate organisations in the development and reporting of climate risk strategies.”]

Science-Based Targets: Considerations for the Commercial Real Estate Sector

Interest in Science-Based Targets (SBTs) has grown significantly following last year’s Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris (which led to a climate change agreement signed by 195 member states) and more recently at COP22 in Marrakech. For a general overview, take a look at Part 1 for a short introduction to Science-Based Targets.

The importance of greenhouse gas emission reductions is expected to have varying implications across different industries. For the commercial real estate sector, there are several issues to consider.

Science-Based Targets: Categorising Emissions

SBT platforms require the input of emissions data, which is then analysed to generate emission reduction targets over time. Greenhouse gas emissions are caused by multiple organisational activities. One way to describe greenhouse gas emissions is through Scopes 1, 2 and 3 according to the GHG Protocol as shown in Figure 1.

Science-Based Targets: Discussions for Commercial Real Estate: Blog Image 1

Figure 1. Scopes and Emission Breakdown (Source: GHG Protocol, 2011)

Science-Based Targets: Discussions for Commercial Real Estate: Blog Image 2

Data on emissions from sources is collected, entered into a model, and then targets for each emission scope are set based on the business’ contribution to the overall 2°C reduction plan (agreed at COP21). This relies on the ability to measure and monitor accurately the different categories of greenhouse gas emissions for an organisation’s activities (Figure 1 – GHG Protocol, 2011). The Better Buildings Partnership (2016) recently made this observation, but specifically mentioned the landlord-tenant split and allocation of emissions as the key challenges. The problem for commercial real estate firms is who is made accountable for the emissions– the landlord, the tenant or both?

[clickToTweet tweet=”The problem for #CRE firms is who is accountable for #emissions – the landlord, the tenant or both?” quote=”The problem for commercial real estate firms is who is made accountable for the emissions– the landlord, the tenant or both?”]

Different Approaches

We have been asked by clients to explain how Science-Based Targets actually work in practice. This is a good question. At present, there are many approaches available. Examples include: the Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach (SDA); The Absolute Emissions Compression; The 3% Solution; Climate Stabilisation Intensity Targets (CSI); Corporate Finance Approach to Climate-Stabilising Targets (C-FACT); GHG Emissions per Value Added (GEVA) and Context-based Carbon Metrics (CSO). All have different approaches.

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The Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach (SDA) is currently being considered alongside other approaches within commercial real estate. It was originally developed by the Carbon Disclosure Project, World Resources Institute and WWF. Here, we focus on this approach, but in the future, we will consider other methodologies.

How does SDA work?

In short, this method splits up the carbon reduction pathway to different kinds of sectors and activities and is based on the establishment of business-level emission trajectories that support the 2°C global warming threshold, developed by the International Energy Agency, which limits the total remaining cumulative energy-related CO2 emissions between 2015 and 2100 to 1,000 GtCO2 (IEA, 2014).

The step-by-step approach for setting emissions targets

The steps below provide a summary of how SDA targets are set (this is intended to be an overview, please contact us for more information).

  1. Identify emissions by converting energy use into CO2e
  2. Categorize by Activity Type or Scope
  3. Produce a forecast of business-as-usual for each activity type – what will emissions look like if the business continues without intervention?
  4. Produce a forecast for each activity type based on the emission reduction required to align with the global 2°C carbon reduction target. This becomes your SBT
  5. Compare Business-as-Usual vs. Science-Based Target for the different activities
  6. Combine activity-level analysis to identify an overall target
  7. Track progress over time, engage and review
Science-Based Targets: Discussions for Commercial Real Estate: Blog Image 3

Figure 2. Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach Schematic. Source: Science-Based Targets http://sciencebasedtargets.org/

 

Modelling Methodologies – Some Considerations

Emissions data is not the only input that goes into the model – especially with regard to real estate. There are other things to consider:

  • Scale: What do the emissions cover and what is the timescale – building level or portfolio level?
  • Geography and Location: Where does it apply?
  • Activities: What kinds of activities occur in the building? What activity levels are we expecting to see in the building? What are the occupancy levels like? What does the electricity-use look like?
  • Trends and Changes Over Time: What are the consumption trends and how do we see this changing in the future i.e. rates of change?
  • The Grid and Energy Procurement: Should carbon emissions from the grid be factored into the model? How are regional variations in the make-up of the grid and type of energy procurement taken into account in the emission scenarios?

On the whole, there is the question of what to include or exclude from the model. There is a risk of data over-refinements and normalisation, which could lead to an erroneous not-so-Science-Based result, which could be meaningless as a strategy!

Data Accuracies: Measurement and Monitoring

Target-Setting begins with data. If the data was poor at the outset, it cannot be considered to be a true reflection of what is happening in reality and as a result, any target would be inaccurate. SBTs are only scientific in their alignment to decarbonisation pathways which lead to a limit of 2°C global surface temperature increase, but it is wrong to believe that SBTs can act as the silver-bullet approach to achieve cost-savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions directly.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It is wrong to believe that #sciencebasedtargets can act as a silver-bullet approach…” quote=”It is wrong to believe that SBTs can act as the silver-bullet approach to achieve cost-savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions directly.”]

Another issue is how to set the baseline for SBTs. Of course, the scale and extent of data matters in this case, especially with the issues of measurement, monitoring and completeness of greenhouse gas emissions data at the building and portfolio level.

Concluding Remarks

Setting SBTs has the potential to convey a message and a common goal; but there is a need to link to the bigger picture.

Other factors should be considered alongside SBTs for maximizing the performance of portfolios through achieving energy and cost-saving opportunities. The setting of SBTs as outlined above does not consider opportunity for improvement. SBTs should be used as the initial framework and its design should be informed by data and sustainability management strategies, as well as the climate science. Performance must also be tracked over time to assess alignment to the target.

In the future, SBTs are expected to be a popular area for development, but for now, take-up is still slow in the commercial real estate industry.


What next? It is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, if you identify any issues on sustainability and data management strategies that you would like to talk to us more about, please get in touch.



Further reading: