Real estate will only meet its ESG goals if it educates and upskills, Vicky Cotton, ESG Director, writes in EG

As EG editor Samantha McClary noted earlier this year, one of the more uplifting trends of 2020 was the industry’s renewed commitment to its net-zero goals, despite the challenges foisted upon the sector by the pandemic. But if our industry is to achieve these laudable goals, it must also commit to – and invest in – the skills required to meet this challenge.

Our ESG objectives are unequivocal, and so too is our drive to work collaboratively across the industry. However, with these objectives in mind, our task is to now upskill and align everyone across the industry, via more comprehensive training that communicates core sustainability concepts and delivers a more consistent approach across the sector.

In order to deliver the breadth of specialist expertise now required to achieve net zero and wider ESG goals, firms need to augment their ESG capabilities by developing diverse teams that reflect the breadth of issues that will face them.

Foster greater collaboration

When approaching our objectives, a consistent approach to ESG performance and KPIs is required across our industry. To achieve this, we must cultivate engagement between all stakeholders, through training that reflects the continually evolving ESG terminology.

The guidance and training provided by the Better Buildings Partnership’s Responsible Property Management Toolkit is a good example of the engagement required. Developed by sustainability professionals for non-specialists, it is designed to foster greater collaboration between asset, property and facilities managers, bridging the ESG knowledge gap so the entire real estate sector can move collectively towards more sustainable management practices.

It 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 and wellbeing.

Within this toolkit, the partnership has provided a resource that is available for everyone, from centre managers, regional facilities managers, through to building consultants and property managers, so we are all aligned and adopting 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 streamline operations for property management firms, but also for the suppliers and contractors that we as an industry are all dealing with.

Property management practices

The toolkit will elevate property management teams to strive for best-in-class ESG practices, from which more detailed strategies can then be devised.

Despite the remaining challenges of the pandemic, a net-zero carbon future where the built environment contributes towards the social value of the community must be the goal we are all working towards. Therefore, the property industry must commit and invest with renewed vigour, to collaborate, educate and upskill, if it is to achieve this shared objective.

By Vicky Cotton, ESG director, Workman

This article first appeared in EG at: Real estate will only meet its ESG goals if it educates and upskills | EG News (egi.co.uk)