In June 2022, after our first annual company offsite, Boreal established an ESG Committee comprised of James Farmer (Partner), Sebastian Hansen (Asset Management), Philip Beato (Asset Management - Technical), Emma Waterhouse (Investments), and Annika Simon (Investor Relations). Under James and Annika's leadership, the Committee engaged the services of Evora, an ESG consultancy, to assist us in setting up our ESG framework, conducting an initial audit, and formulating a preliminary plan.
By November 2022, Evora had completed their initial work, and we organized a company-wide ESG training session, where they provided valuable guidance around ESG fundamentals and a framework to work within, and a plan to get going. We also enlisted renewables consultancy Syzygy to review our portfolio's suitability for the installation of PV panels.
In January 2023, Olivia Ralston (COO) took over from Annika during her maternity leave, and the Committee started to implement the framework and plans. Since then and as of the end of Q2 2023, we as a Committee and as a business have achieved the following:
- We have obtained NZC (CRREM) reports for assets representing 71% GLA (Gross Leasable Area) under management.
- 27% of our assets were acquired with BREEAM certification. We have nearly completed BREEAM preassessments on the rest of the portfolio, with a view to achieving at a minimum Good certification, but ideally Very Good or Excellent. We are due to obtain our first BREEAM Excellent certification imminently, at a recently completed refurbishment in East London.
- We have collected energy data from our tenants for 60%, water data for 50%, and waste data for 27% of our GLA.
- We have completed our first PV installation, with the intention of putting in place a power purchase agreement with a tenant.
We won’t lie: progress has felt slow at times. As a busy new team, many of us fairly new to our dedicated ESG roles, it's been like peeling back layers of the ESG onion, trying to make sense of a whack-a-mole game of acronyms, certifications, reports, and data points. And as a small business, we often find ourselves juggling competing priorities. However, with a dedicated committee with an extensive range of skills and expertise, and the rest of the Boreal team contributing as well, the momentum continues to build and we're starting to see tangible evidence of progress.
In the words of Churchill: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Here is what we have on the agenda for the remainder of the year:
- Continuously completing NZC and PV analysis and BREEAM assessments for the remaining and incoming properties in our portfolio
- Proactively engaging with different stakeholders within tenant companies to further our ESG objectives, through proactive communication, BREEAM improvements and decarbonisation measures
- Refining our acquisition process to incorporate ESG considerations from both a value protection and value creation standpoint
- Assembling our asset sustainability plans for 2024 and beyond, and establishing our portfolio-wide carbon targets by the end of the year
We look forward to sharing another update in early 2024.