Address ESG skills gap to achieve goals

Driven by a need to move collectively as an industry towards more sustainable management practices, ESG targets, and a Net Zero world, the Better Buildings Partnership worked in collaboration with its members, including Workman, to create the Responsible Property Management Toolkit.

A comprehensive one-stop-shop, the toolkit is designed to help the real estate sector achieve consistent implementation of sustainable strategies, and supportive property management. Designed to achieve a consistent approach to ESG performance and KPIs, is intended to foster greater collaboration between asset managers, property managers and facilities managers, and to address the skills gap so that ESG goals can be achieved.

Who should use the toolkit?

  • Property owners, who need to ensure that their portfolios are managed in line with their sustainability and ESG commitments.
  • Fund Managers and Asset Managers, who decide property management processes at company, portfolio, and individual property level.
  • Property and facilities managers, who need clear, simple checklists and guidance to inform action.

With these end-users in mind, the new industry guidance aims to upskill all groups to understand core sustainability concepts, helping to create a common understanding of the key issues and deliver a consistent approach across the sector.

Access to best-practice ESG guidance

To this end, the toolkit provides best-practice guidance on 13 fundamental ESG topics, from incorporating sustainability into the procurement of property management services, through energy water and waste, to social value and health & wellbeing.

Each of the 13 topics includes a checklist of considerations which link to one or more guidance notes, which are consistent in approach and structure. Using the toolkit, anyone in the property industry, with or without training, can help drive performance and standards towards best practice in sustainability.

There are various “how to” steps to ensure standards are met, which may include integration in procurement, training, monitoring, and reporting, with case studies as examples. The toolkit also provides a step-by-step guide to specific outputs.

At Workman, we see this as a resource available for everyone, from centre managers, regional facilities managers, through to building consultants and property managers, so we are all using the same resource, working from the same checklists and achieving a consistent approach.

This will allow us to identify opportunities and engage with our clients to keep driving performance. Aspects such as an aligned industry approach to supply chain management or energy and waste procurement, for example, will not only make it easier for us at Workman but also for the suppliers and contracts that we as an industry are all dealing with.

Elevate property management teams’ ESG practices

Indeed, creators of the toolkit, including those from Workman, see it as a resource that every property manager can pick up and use as a checklist to make sure the basics are embedded in place, or to advise on closing gaps.

The toolkit will elevate property management teams towards best-in-class, proving the foundations to get the highest standard of output in any property. Property managers can use the toolkit to learn about topics they are new to, and to generate new ideas for strategies that might work.

A library to support the ESG team, the toolkit is an overarching resource for all team members. The introduction of this industry-wide knowledge pool also means property managers are using the same resources as Fund Managers and Asset Managers, so that expectations and approaches are aligned.

Using the toolkit as a basis for guidance, the next steps could include a road map for stakeholders to set more defined processes. For example, in terms of supply chain, this could be a requirement for KPIs and performance targets to be laid out. In terms of energy, it may be more detailed analysis and step-by-step guides on energy reduction pathways and energy procurement.

Developed by expert sustainability property professionals for non-specialists, the toolkit is designed to foster greater collaboration between asset managers, property managers and facilities managers, closing the ESG skills gap so that the entire real estate sector can move efficiently towards ESG goals.

By Vicky Cotton, ESG Director at Workman, who collaborated to create the Better Buildings Partnership Responsible Property Management Toolkit.