Fall 2023 | Article 02/04

Setting up a framework for social success

Why social value-driven investments lead to stronger porftolios.
Investment strategies have evolved to include managing environmental risks, and in recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on social value, with factors like health and wellbeing, community engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusion being factored into investment decisions.

Social value-driven investments are here to stay

As stewards of our clients’ investments, we’re entrusted with helping clients achieve both their immediate and longer-term financial objectives. Our focus is on evaluating investment opportunities, advising and optimizing portfolios to generate sustainable, above benchmark returns. Part of supporting our clients in this is guiding them through the process of aligning their company values with a real estate strategy to achieve both financial and non-financial objectives, which often includes investments that strive to help provide social good for our cities and communities.

While social value-driven investment may look differently from client to client, at its core it is about evaluating how non-financial metrics such as health and wellness, inclusivity, and tenant or community happiness, among other goals affect long-term profitability. For example, an investor may elect to improve the air quality in a building that betters the lives of its occupants or invest in additional amenities that will help tenants attract and retain top talent. This in turn could also encourage the tenant to stay longer, securing stronger financial futures.

The long-term profit potential of social good

Social good investments can lead to better long-term relationships with occupiers and generate more recurring revenue over time. Long-term strategies for the good of the people in communities lead to higher outputs, and in turn can bring with them stronger tenant retention and longer-term leases.

"State of the art building systems, properly managed, can boost tenant productivity as well as promote health and well-being."

- Amy Erixon, Principal & President, Global Investment Management

“Strategy and culture really need to be derivative of the values that the company is aiming to convey,” says Amy Erixon, Principal and President, Global Investment Management. “Class A real estate must resonate with its community. It's more than just building design. It includes how you operate that building so that it is safe, healthy, and promotes the wellness and harmony of its occupants. State of the art building systems, properly managed, can boost tenant productivity as well as promote health and well-being."

How to build a commercial real estate plan for social and financial success

Our framework for social success starts at the ground floor - working with clients to align their corporate values with the ultimate long-term success of their assets. To develop a successful go-to -market strategy, it’s critical for us to know where our clients stand as well as understand key tenant priorities.

With our investment clients, we start by taking a deep dive into their company values, procurement strategy, community goals, financial objectives, and non-financial objectives – all of which can have a material impact on their portfolio strategy and operations.

“We also look for service providers, such as property managers who are tuned into providing social value. We serve a wide range of clients including private equity, insurance, pension funds, and family offices. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and understanding our clients is the first step to delivering a value-driven strategy. For example, many investors look for real estate to provide an inflation hedge, and that delivers social value too,” Amy states. “In the case of pensions, the value that they're trying to protect is that they'll have adequate funding in an inflationary environment because typically those pensions are indexed to inflation. So, it’s about understanding what their complexion looks like and what key values they will want to bring into the conversation.”

We approach our relationship with clients as a genuine partnership. And, as partners, we believe we have the responsibility to help our clients make good long-term investment decisions.

We integrate social value into our strategies because it helps to strengthen relationships with stakeholders – employees, tenants, consumers, community members, etc. – and because investments in social value have led to improved tenant retention and financial performance.

We recognize that every investor is at different stages of their social value journey, and we’re excited to help them develop investment strategies that match their needs now and into the future.

Article contributors

Amy Erixon

    • Principal
    • President, Global Investment Management
    • Investment Management
[email protected]

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