At Hunter REIM we appreciate that our activities and services may have a direct impact on the natural, human and built environment. Our aim is to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles in all our investment processes and our operations so that we can better protect the world in which we live, enhance our society and comply with applicable laws, regulations and other environmentally oriented requirements.
We recognise that real estate is a local business. We have an active approach to property portfolio and asset management, specialising in value-add projects and asset transformations; this means that we are able to take existing assets and improve their environmental efficiency at the same time as fulfilling our clients’ financial goals.
This ESG policy covers four core criteria which align with our areas of activity:
- property acquisition;
- portfolio management (fund management, asset management, investment management);
- engaging on ESG; and
- our own impact.
- We will integrate ESG criteria into our property acquisition activities including consideration of the long-term impacts of climate change on our potential investments.
- We will apply ESG criteria in our portfolio management activities as a way to manage risk and add value to our portfolio.
- We will ensure that material refurbishment activities take into account the effects of climate change in the design process.
- We will regularly engage on ESG with our communities, employees, tenants and clients, and our consultants, contractors and suppliers.
- We will manage our own impact from our operations including office, travel and procurement activities and in the shared areas within the properties of our portfolio.
- We will partner with key contractors to help deliver on our commitments.
Our Goals for 2021 and 2022
- Enhance our ESG risks and opportunities evaluation procedures supporting the wider corporate risk assessment processes.
- Further document GHG emissions within our control in order to give us better visibility of potential reductions and support development of approaches towards Carbon Neutrality.
- Engage our tenants and suppliers on ESG risks and opportunities, providing support and guidance where possible, in order to create sustainable outcomes for the benefit of themselves, the community and the environment.
How we apply this policy
- The Board has responsibility for approving this policy and we have a board level appointee with accountability for sustainability.
- Our ESG strategy is routinely discussed at our staff meetings.
- This policy is included alongside our employee handbook, tenant handbook and procurement policy to inform our key partners, consultants, contractors, tenants and staff of our commitments.
- This policy is reviewed annually.
How we monitor and report against this policy
- We undertake annual GRESB Assessments which involves independent monitoring and reporting against our ESG Policy, commitments and performance, and also allows us to benchmark against our peers.
- As a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, we are required to annually report against our approach to ESG and our performance.
- We report against this policy and to our clients through our Company’s Board Papers and Annual Reports.
- Our ESG performance reporting is readily accessible to our clients and is also available to the public on request.
We are committed to continual improvement and therefore, when weaknesses in our performance are identified, we take action to strengthen our systems by allocating resources and responsibilities internally, or by appointing experts to provide assistance.
Our ESG approach
We are committed to minimising the environmental impact of our properties and to improving the resilience of our properties to the long term impacts of climate change. As part of this we:
- where possible and within our control, ensure that our properties match or exceed good practice environmental performance benchmarks;
- constantly work on improving indoor environmental quality, and minimising energy and water demand and embodied carbon, investigate onsite renewable energy opportunities and promote sourcing of sustainable materials through our property acquisition and management activities;
- ensure that design and management of our public realm and outdoor spaces promotes resilience to extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall or high summer temperatures, helps to manage pollution such as emissions to air, and provides diverse habitats for biodiversity;
- design and manage our spaces to minimise and manage waste, energy and water and to help our tenants to do the same; and
- work with our contractors, consultants and suppliers to drive environmental performance through our procurement policy and other engagement activities.
At Hunter REIM we recognise that our activities and services create opportunities to enhance society, but also risks. We proactively manage both to ensure the best possible outcomes for our Communities, Employees, Tenants and Clients, and our Consultants, Contractors and Suppliers.
We understand that people experience spaces and places differently and that acknowledging these differences through inclusive design is critical to community development. As such, we:
- engage regularly with the communities in which we operate in order to understand their changing needs;
- encourage architects and designers to focus on place-making to enhance the living environment for our communities; this involves designing spaces that promote diversity and inclusion to create vibrant communities; and
- work to ensure the health and safety of the community which is a fundamental consideration of every decision we make.
We also work hard to build relationships with our communities with all staff taking part in a company-wide ‘Community Engagement Day’ each year which provides the opportunity to promote and partner with social enterprises.
We are a small team and our staff are our most important asset. We are committed to creating a workplace that allows them to thrive. Those commitments are detailed in our Employee Handbook and include:
- strong employee engagement through regular team meetings, formal satisfaction surveys and informal discussions;
- supporting the health & well-being of our staff through various employee benefit schemes such as private medical insurance, cycle to work and corporate gym memberships;
- fair employee remuneration practices which mean our staff receive competitive pay for the same or similar jobs, qualifications and experience within the market;
- implementation of robust health and safety procedures to manage our key risks in order to create a proactive safety culture;
- commitment to being an equal opportunities employer and ensuring the recruitment, selection, training, development and promotion of individuals is done on the basis of their qualifications, experience and performance.
Engaging with our tenants is essential for delivering true ESG value. We recognise that the way that our tenants use our buildings has significant influence on the ESG performance of our assets.
- We promote ESG criteria as part of our tenant handbook, which is a key document for engaging with tenants.
- We undertake periodic reviews of tenant satisfaction, helping to drive and influence design, refurbishment and maintenance of our buildings in a way that supports the needs of our tenants.
- We look to provide spaces which promote safety, health and wellbeing of our tenants and their customers.
We have an obligation to fulfil our clients’ financial goals in our activities. Our clients are increasingly requesting information relating to ESG. We undertake the following:
- proactive engagement on ESG risks and opportunities with our clients;
- data collection, aggregation and reporting to clients to help provide context on our ESG performance; and
- to work with our clients to fulfil their goals and targets for ESG performance.
Consultants, Contractors and Suppliers
Engaging and partnering with our consultants, contractors and suppliers is crucial in delivering performance against this ESG policy and our related commitments. As part of this we:
- adhere to specific social and labour standards set out in our procurement policy, including a commitment to meet and, where possible, exceed the requirements of all applicable legislation and regulations including monitoring compliance with international labour standards set out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO);
- partner with key contractors and consultants to deliver the commitments set out in this policy;
- require our key suppliers to have their own ESG commitments or, where they are a small business, to adhere to the key principles of our ESG policy; and
- work with key contractors, consultants and suppliers to collect data on our ESG performance to help us manage and improve ESG metrics and targets over time.
We believe that robust and effective governance is the foundation for operating in line with our fiduciary duty and the applicable regulations. It is also fundamental for meeting the commitments we make to ourselves, the environment and to all our stakeholders. We always perform to the highest standards of ethical conduct with all of our staff complying with the codes of their professional bodies and those detailed in our Company’s handbook. In line with this, we:
- carry out our business fairly, honestly and openly by combating bribery, corruption and fraud, and managing political contributions through a series of stringent procedures such as operating a register of gifts and hospitality, and appointing Anti-bribery and Compliance Officer;
- recognise and proactively manage the risks we face in relation to data protection, privacy and cybersecurity by implementing robust systems and regular staff training;
- respect our shareholder’s rights by operating transparently and ensuring we communicate openly and in a timely manner; and
- ensure fair executive compensation which means our executives receive pay arrangements in line with market standards.