June 7, 2021
Written by Jessica Pilz, Associate Director, ESG, UK
On Saturday, we celebrated World Environment Day. For many, these days of recognition pass by with little to no awareness that they have taken place. For others, these days are seen in isolation – an opportunity to acknowledge the climate crisis at one point in time. However, with a younger generation more focussed and determined to protect our planet than ever before, these days are turning into weeks, months and years of loyal attention and action to mitigate and repair the damage we have caused to our environment.
At Fiera Real Estate, we don’t just celebrate World Environment Day in isolation. We are committed to tackling the climate crisis in our day to day business operations and choose to integrate long-term climate risk adaptation and mitigation practices into the way in which we manage our funds, now and in the future.
We recognise the role we, and our managed funds play, in supporting the Government’s net zero carbon target of 2050. In 2020, we partnered with Planet Mark to better understand the business’s carbon footprint and were awarded the Planet Mark Year 2020 Business Certification, which is an internationally recognised sustainability certification for business acknowledging continuous progress, encouraging action and building an empowered community of like-minded individuals. Partnering with Planet Mark represents a key milestone in our commitment to environmental excellence and supports our transition to net zero carbon.
Two of our primary objectives as a fund manager in 2021 have been to tackle our assets’ resilience to climate risk, both physical and transition. For our investment funds, we are about to embark on our net zero carbon journey through the appointment of a net zero carbon partner, who will be building a pathway for our Fiera Real Estate Long Income Fund (“FRELIF”). This pathway to net zero carbon will allow us to measure and monitor the Fund’s transition risk, thereby supporting the Government’s wider 2050 emissions targets. Alongside our Canadian colleagues, we have also built a workstream to identify and manage all our funds exposure, at an asset level, to physical climate risk.
We work closely with our development partners to ensure that the properties we manage are fit for the future and have recently developed a new Fiera Real Estate UK Sustainable Design Brief, which outlines a comprehensive set of ESG requirements for all development projects going forward. Combined with our sustainability data collection process, this design brief further supports our commitment to the SDGs.
These workstreams are critical to us, not only because they respond to growing expectations from the market to better understand and report on these risks, but because we have a fiduciary duty to our investors and a responsibility to future generations to play our part in keeping nature on our side. This World Environment Day, we encourage you to think about the role your business plays in protecting our planet and to work alongside your peers to drive real change.