EXPO Real: Investors turn attention to social value

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.”