Focusing on social impact is not just the right thing to do but it will also increase the value of assets, delegates heard at the Creating & Driving Social Value in the City briefing, which took place at the International Investors´ Lounge at EXPO Real in Munich.
¨It is still very difficult to prove, but the future value of buildings will be increased if they have social value,” said Brigit Gerritse, head of research and strategy, Redevco. ¨Economic value and social value must be combined, it is just a question of finding the right balance¨.
Investors with a long-term view are already taking it on board.
¨We have developed a social value framework that we use for every single investment we make¨, said Ben Sanderson, managing director real estate, Aviva Investors. ¨We have an unambiguous belief that investors who do not think of social value will fail. Every investment we make is like a pebble in a pond, it ripples out and has an impact.”
The built environment has a huge responsibility as it account for 40% of emissions but it also has a huge opportunity to make a difference.
Environmental interventions are no longer enough, said Christiane Conrads, global real estate ESG leader, PwC: ¨Social value is more difficult to measure but it is just as important as environmental value. There is no point in putting solar panels on the roof if you don´t look at how employees are being treated, at what the impact on the local community is or how your supply chain works.”
World population is growing and 70% of people will live in cities, so it is crucial to re-think how urban centres can work.
¨Social value is a massive focus for us in London,” said Andrien Myers, chair of the investment committee, City of London. ¨From promoting arts and culture to building affordable housing, there is a wide range of actions that can make a difference. Municipalities also have a huge role “in facilitating collaborations between all stakeholders, bringing everyone together to make change happen¨.
Creating the right economic context for people to thrive and providing the necessary infrastructure and transport links is a big part of the solution, as big projects like Grand Paris show,
¨People must be connected and we want the concept of the 15-minute city to become reality,” said Sevinc Ar Chimot, smart city expert, Choose Paris Region. ¨Transport and economic activity are crucial as the Paris region has 12.5 million inhabitants and it attracts 45,000 new residents every year.”