Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, or restore natural ecosystems, to the benefit of biodiversity and human well-being. As ESG gains prominence in the commercial real estate industry and tenant engagement strategies are forced to adapt to remote work, some of the most innovative property managers are looking to nature-based solutions to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Recently, we hosted a a discussion panel with Rebecca Jinks, Director of ESG & Sustainability at Taronga Ventures, and Brandon Lee, Assistant Property Manager of JLL’s Post Montgomery Center in San Francisco. Both experts shared the ways they’ve witnessed buildings benefit from urban beekeeping and other nature-based solutions.
#1: THERE ARE A WEALTH OF OPPORTUNITIES TIED TO NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS (AND IGNORING THEM IS TOO RISKY)
Nature-based solutions are diverse and can address global challenges such as climate change, human health and well-being, food and water security, and disaster and risk resilience. The risks of not adopting these solutions include:
- Economic risk. The World Economic Forum found that more than half of the world’s GDP is dependent on nature.
- Supply chain risks. Materials may become scarce or completely unavailable, therefore becoming incredibly expensive.
- Reputational damage. Stakeholders are increasingly expecting proof of a property’s actions on nature preservation.
On the flip side, there are many opportunities for property managers to benefit and drive value from nature-based solutions. Many solutions put tenant wellness at the forefront, making the building more attractive to current and future tenants. Implementing these solutions can also open up greater access to venture capital and additional revenue streams. Overall, for those looking to differentiate their property from the market, nature-based solutions are an innovative answer.
#2: NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS DELIVER ON ESG GOALS
Today, buildings are facing more ESG requirements and nature-based solutions are an effective way to deliver on these requirements. Studies have shown that biodiversity and connection to nature are intrinsically linked to social prosperity, health, well-being, and productivity. Most would agree that enhancing these things is just good governance.
Organizations who are acting on this nascent industry of nature-based solutions are going to be leading the way very soon.
#3: GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATIONS INCREASE PROPERTY VALUE
Many portfolio managers and building owners look to green building certifications to endorse their sustainable practices and differentiate themselves. Taronga Ventures recently conducted an assessment of 10 markets and found that every market had a green building certification with points associated with nature-based solutions at the building level.
When it comes to attracting and retaining tenants, green building certifications have a direct impact. Many tenants now have ESG goals of their own and want to know what a property is doing in terms of ESG. Seeing a building earning and maintaining recognized certifications and awards is attractive to prospective tenants.
Offering ESG initiatives is an effective way to keep tenants engaged, encouraging them to spend more time in the physical building – not an easy task given the popularity of hybrid and remote work. Current and prospective tenants want to see that a building is dedicated to implementing amenities to benefit physical and mental well-being.
#4: TENANT ENGAGEMENT IS KEY
The key to successful tenant engagement initiatives is visibility. At Post Montgomery Center, that means spreading awareness through marketing campaigns and placing installations in high traffic areas, like lobbies.
For Brandon, being able to give out customized jars of local honey has been a great way to introduce his tenants to Post Montgomery Center’s nature-based urban beekeeping program. Once tenants fall in love with the bees, it opens up the opportunity for deeper discussions and environmental education.