The growing awareness of ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) concerns and the expectations of companies to respond to them and take meaningful action have become stronger than ever over the past year. According to PwC’s 2021 Consumer Intelligence Series ESG survey, 83% of consumers believe companies should actively shape ESG best practices, and 86% of employees prefer to support or work for companies that care about the same issues as they do. ‘them.1
Companies respond by creating comprehensive ESG plans that outline both their current and future strategies regarding various ESG factors. These can include reducing carbon emissions, staff-led social / charitable initiatives, diversity and inclusion, customer influence and outreach, and many more.
Using 2021 as a springboard for ESG planning
Some companies were regularly recognized for their ESG efforts long before the term “ESG” was in the spotlight. Many of these companies are using the current environment as an opportunity to further improve their positive impact and align their ESG strategy with widely recognized frameworks such as the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Skyline Group of Companies is one such entity. Its first environmental plan, titled “Acknowledging Our Responsibility” was launched in 2006. Since then, and until 2021, Skyline had incorporated several additional ESG initiatives into its operations each year, but without any formal overall strategy. That changed in 2021 when Skyline launched its first sustainability plan, defining its key goals within each ESG category.
“We used 2021 as a launching pad to formally define our standards and benchmarks for sustainability, a term we at Skyline use to encompass environment, social and governance,” said R. Jason Ashdown, co-founder and chief sustainability officer, Skyline Group of Enterprises.
“We hold ourselves accountable for measuring our progress and reporting on our successes at the end of the year, so that we can start on the right track for 2022 and beyond. “
Make positive changes to properties across Canada
With more than $ 5.4 billion in assets under management and a presence in more than 150 Canadian communities, Skyline acquires, manages and develops real estate properties in apartment, industrial and retail categories.
“We have a responsibility to enrich each of the communities in which we operate,” said Ashdown.
“We do this by creating environmental efficiencies on properties, and also by investing in these communities and partnering with community organizations. As a result, we are making a positive difference not only for our residential and commercial tenants, but also for those who live in the community at large.
A year of environmental, social and governance initiatives
In 2021, Skyline initiated or continued to facilitate a wide range of ESG practices at its properties across Canada. These include:
– Donate 13,000 square feet of retail space to use as a community hub for nonprofits that provide mental health services to youth and families
– Donation of $ 1 million of land for the development of permanent supportive housing that will provide housing and support services to 32 people
– Installation of more than 60 EV charging stations and obtaining a subsidy for the installation of 852 additional EV charging stations in its residential properties in 2022
– Installation of 55 roofing systems producing solar energy on its properties
– Launch of an electronic waste recycling project across the entire residential portfolio (completion in Q2 2022), enabling tenants to ethically dispose of their electronic and metal waste and properly divert them from landfills, free of charge
– Launch of a pilot project to install intelligent thermal regulation technology in its residential properties
– Participate in an innovative pilot project to profitably divert organic waste from residential properties
– Help residential tenants through an internal program, RISE (Reach, Impact, Support, Elevate), accessible to any tenant who has gone through difficult times and needs help with resource awareness or financial support to recover on foot
– Adopt a multi-year plan for the installation of additional beehives on the roof and community gardens on its properties
A positive influence on the company’s customers and stakeholders
In its 2021 Sustainability Plan, Skyline defined its “sustainability partners,” all of the different audiences that interact with the business: staff, tenants, investors, business partners and the community at large. In fact, as part of planning for its 2021 sustainability efforts, Skyline conducted a materiality assessment with its directors, business partners, community partners, staff and tenants, to understand which ESG initiatives were most important. for them.
Skyline aims to empower its sustainable development partners by inviting them to participate in multiple social and environmental initiatives throughout the year. For example:
– In April 2021, Skyline asked its 34,000+ residential tenants to participate in an Earth Hour Challenge that encouraged every tenant to join as a community and turn off all power.
– Skyline’s Annual Classic Golf Charity Event invited staff, investors, trustees and business partners to come together and raise funds for five organizations battling homelessness and mental health issues across Canada. Skyline has also launched a “Driving Positive Change” video campaign, featuring professionally produced videos focused on each of these charities. Between the event and the video campaign, Skyline and its sustainability partners raised $ 175,000.
– In the fall of 2021, Skyline partnered with Tree Canada, resulting in an initial investment of $ 30,000 and four fall tree planting events for staff. This resulted in the planting of 665 tree seedlings across Canada.
“We draw as much from our people as we do from our dollars,” added Ashdown.
“We have an abundance of talented people and resources ranging from IT to HR, construction, legal and many more. If a nonprofit or community organization needs advice or services and we have the capacity to do so, we enthusiastically lend our expertise.
Rewards for ESG practices: beyond mere recognition
Skyline was recently the proud recipient of two prestigious 2021 awards from the Ontario Federation of Rental Housing Providers: Environmental Excellence (awarded to Skyline Group of Companies) and Impact (awarded to Skyline Living for its RISE program).
While industry recognition provides Skyline and its staff with incredible validation of their ESG efforts, the benefits of integrating ESG practices into Skyline’s business model go far beyond accolades alone.
“ESG is important to our trustees, staff, investors, tenants and business partners,” said Ashdown.
“It’s now a major factor in determining whether someone wants to work for us, invest with us, hire with us, or do business with us. It’s our job to ensure that sustainability is built into all facets of Skyline, and that we set the benchmark in our industry for taking the most meaningful action possible.
About the Skyline Group of Companies
Skyline Group of Companies is a fully integrated asset acquisition, management, development and investment entity.
It is made up of companies that provide real estate management and development services, as well as clean energy management and development.
As of November 30, 2021, Skyline managed more than $ 6.9 billion on its real estate and clean energy platforms.
With more than 1,000 employees across Canada, Skyline strives to provide tenants with safe, clean and comfortable places, great places to do business, sustainable solutions for a greener future and an engaging experience for its customers. investors.
See Skyline’s 20e Anniversary celebration video to see how Skyline is anchored in real estate, fueled by people, and growing for the future.
For more information on Skyline Group of Companies, please visit skylinegroupofcompanies.ca