How ESG leader QuadReal Property Group invests in their portfolio with beehives
QuadReal Property Group, a global real estate investment, operating, and development company, is a recognized leader in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). QuadReal is dedicated to incorporating ESG into all their core activities. In 2018, they made a buzz when they looked to Alvéole’s beehive program to bring additional value to their sustainability efforts.
As National Manager of Wellness & Healthy Buildings at QuadReal, Meirav Even-Har is responsible for integrating wellness elements and environmental considerations into QuadReal’s assets. She played an integral role in bringing the beehive program to QuadReal and has continued expanding the program to 28 locations across Canada.
28 bee-friendly spaces on QuadReal’s properties
Adopting 56 beehives wasn’t as difficult as you might think, according to Meirav. “Property teams are very proud of the buildings they manage and always want to improve them. So when we were able to roll out the project at more properties, it was natural for our teams to say ‘us too!’.”
How the beehive program impacts QuadReal’s ESG benchmarks
Before launching the beehive program, Meirav was looking for something different, something that would really get the QuadReal team and their tenants talking.
“People have a natural curiosity about bees. It creates a sense of wonderment. Bees and the issues they are facing are top of mind and by introducing hives, people feel free to ask questions about those particular hives.”
“We started getting questions like, ‘How are the bees doing?’, ‘Do they have enough food?’, ‘Where do they get their food from?’. From an engagement perspective, it means the world, because we are able to connect with people who may not be interested in the more traditional sustainability topics, like energy use reduction. It’s a way for us to connect with our tenants, tell a story, gain interest, and make them feel that they’re part of a community. It’s a relationship that I don’t think you can get from passive communication like a poster.”
“Although you can’t give a specific value for engagement, you can look at it from a retention perspective. Whether in-person or virtual, when you create a really great experience for your community, those people want to go to work. They enjoy the office space. They want to come back to the shopping center. You’re creating a connection, and that is valuable,” Meirav explained.
Bees as ambassadors for change
The bees at QuadReal’s properties do a lot more than just produce honey. They have increased environmental awareness amongst the QuadReal team about the importance of landscaping decisions to support local biodiversity.
“Once you introduce beehives, you start having conversations about the importance of urban biodiversity. It shows that the program is more than just a nice thing to have. At some of our buildings, native species play a role in landscaping decisions”, Meirav shared.
“We’ve held events where we celebrated bees and native plant species. I held two webinars this year about gardening for pollinators. As building owners and managers, we need to keep asking ourselves, what can we contribute? Are we helping create these diverse corridors for bees and all pollinators in the city?”
The future of beehives and ESG reporting
Since 2018, the beehive program has played an important role on the social side of QuadReal’s ESG performance as it directly impacts the company’s engagement with their tenants, customers, and residents.
“We’re able to engage in a meaningful way which you can’t really do with passive communication. We report on the number of hives, the number of tenants engaged, and we’re able to tell stories.”
In 2023, Alvéole will offer environmental reporting, a service that includes assessments of the bees’ health and floral diversity in the area surrounding each hive. By analyzing the pollen and honey the bees produce throughout the season, the Alvéole team can see which flowers are blooming and when. With this information, they can provide recommendations regarding the best plants to grow to increase local floral diversity and support pollinators. By analyzing a honey bee colony year over year, Alvéole can monitor the impact buildings and human interaction have on the surrounding environment.
As a leader in environmental sustainability, Meirav shared how she thought access to this data would impact ESG reporting in the CRE industry. “To make decisions and push the envelope as sustainability professionals, you need data. When it comes to biodiversity, it can be difficult to get. So having science-based data is really exciting. From an industry perspective, we all need to think about how our individual buildings can help elevate biodiversity as a collective.”
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