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26 JULY 2021
Real estate is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and embodied carbon in the developed world. So, with good reason, the conversation around the environmental (E) component of ESG within real estate is quite advanced.
The social and governance (S&G) components of ESG, by contrast, have received comparatively little attention until recently. The data landscape for these criteria is less mature and performance standards and key metrics are less widespread and less consistent.
Lauren and Brian introduce the 'stakeholder perspective' as a tool for real estate companies in assessing the most material ways in which their business interacts with S&G considerations. They consider five core stakeholder groups:
Increasingly, employees cite a company’s mission and/or values as a primary reason they choose to work or stay with a particular employer. Encouraging employee involvement in S&G efforts not only demonstrates a company’s values to employees but empowers them to be directly involved in S&G efforts.
A growing body of research demonstrates a direct correlation between a building’s characteristics and its tenants’ health. Health and wellness considerations, from COVID-19 safety precautions to the effect of the physical environment on mental health, impact tenants’ decision to occupy space.
The local community comprises individuals, organizations, and companies that occupy physical space around a real estate company’s area of business. A company that adopts S&G as a focus will consider local community concerns and desires within its decision-making processes.
Companies can advocate for S&G actions with downstream supply chain partners by openly discussing businesses practices and developing principles or rules that are incorporated into contracts or other binding agreements.
Assessing risk/return proﬁles, diversiﬁcation strategies, and business practices is a critical part of developing new investor/investee relationships. Operators that prioritize S&G standards demonstrate responsibility, risk avoidance, and innovation to the capital markets.
By considering its impacts on stakeholders and taking a 'stakeholder perspective' in the development of its S&G goals, a company can align its actions with the areas in which it can have the greatest impact.
By focusing on who is impacted by S&G activities, the stakeholder perspective offers several advantages to operators and investors:
S&G topics are broad, but companies can use the stakeholder approach to focus on meaningful and measurable actions.