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Feldberg Capital plans to ramp up its sustainable real estate investing after acquiring a UK firm.  

The German investment manager this week announced the acquisition of UK firm Brunswick Property Partners, a specialist in sustainable real estate projects.

Brunswick’s AKOYA venture invests in the sustainable refurbishment of London workplaces (such as Power Road Studios, Chiswick, pictured above) in partnership with a sovereign wealth fund.

Feldberg CEO Rodney Bysh said: “We will undertake sustainable real estate developments throughout Western Europe, adhering to ESG principles and delivering value to both users and investors.”

The expanded company will invest in projects with positive environmental and social impact in Germany, the UK and Benelux. 

Brunswick founding partner David Turner, now head of investment at Feldberg, said: “The acquisition by Feldberg provides us with the opportunity to apply our expertise to a broader geographical area. Together, we aim to develop the strengthened Feldberg platform into a leading impact-oriented investor in Europe, with the possibility of acquiring additional European asset managers.”

Savills has appointed Michael Blake as an associate director within its social value team.

Blake has 10 years’ experience in the field of social value and community wealth building across the private, public and voluntary sectors. Most recently, he was head of social investment at the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London.

At Savills, he will support clients to get the greatest social value out of projects and programmes across their UK portfolios.

Wesley Ankrah, director of social value for Savills Earth, said: “Michael has been recognised within the sector for his work on helping to create social value and I am delighted he will be joining our growing social value team. Having launched our social value offering in January this year, it has been clear to see the industry demand and the important role the ‘S’ plays in our ESG agenda.”

Landsec has launched a social impact fund which it claims will generate £200 million ($248 million) of social value by 2030.

The UK real estate investment trust this week unveiled the details of Landsec Futures, a £20 million ($24.8 million) fund committed to creating “a fairer, more equitable real estate industry” in the UK by enhancing social mobility.

LandSec reports that the UK real estate industry’s workforce is lacking diversity, significantly with regard to socio-economic background. An industry study found nearly half (45%) of real estate employees attended an independent or selective state school.

Landsec Futures addresses this need for greater representation in the real estate industry by investing in four new social impact programmes: internships, employee bursaries, partnerships with education or employability charities and community grants for places where the REIT invests.

Jennie Colville, head of ESG and sustainability at Landsec, said: “Despite greater focus on diversity in recent years, we know the real estate industry is not where it needs to be if we want to create more inclusive, sustainable, and successful places. 

“In addition to the programmes committed to today, we’ll be collecting data on the socio-economic backgrounds of our existing and future employees at Landsec as part of our new diversity and inclusion strategy. This will help us better measure the impact of our actions today and create an industry where everyone can fulfil their potential.”

British Land claims a year-long arts initiative generated £40 million ($50 million) of economic value.

The UK real estate investment trust partnered with New Diorama Theatre for the NDT Broadgate initiative, for which British Land provided 20,000 sq ft of space at its Broadgate office complex in the City of London (pictured above) to more than 8,800 independent and freelance artists free of charge over 12 months.

An independent report by BOP Consulting found the project generated £40m of additional revenue for the UK economy, including box office sales, grant funding, increased revenue for supply chain partners, and greater expenditure by employees and visitors.

British Land says the initiative supported over 1,000 full-time jobs, including artists performing in shows created at NDT Broadgate, theatre workers and people employed in the supply chain and in local businesses.

NDT Broadgate ran between August 2021 and July 2022. It provided more than 25 rehearsal spaces, writing rooms, co-working areas, recording booths as well as a studio and workshop. It created more than 250 original performances.

The initiative was designed to be temporary, making use of office space which became vacant ahead of redevelopment. The vast majority of all fittings and furniture used were sourced second-hand, and most was passed on to new homes at the end of the project.

Simon Carter, chief executive of British Land, said: “Delivering a giant creative complex coming out of the pandemic was a bold step. The results exceeded our expectations, demonstrating the power of culture as a driver for economic and social growth. In tough times, it is often harder to invest in the arts. Yet, in the current cost-of-living crisis and with many creative companies struggling to survive, the arts have a more important role to play than ever in re-energising urban centres and local economies.”

British Land recently launched a £25 million ($31 million) Social Impact Fund, focused on education, employment and affordable space.

British Land has committed to invest £25 million in the communities in which it operates. 

The UK real estate investment trust has launched a social impact fund which will invest £25 million through to 2030, comprising at least £15 million of cash contributions and £10 million worth of affordable space. 

The fund will focus on education, employment and affordable space. British Land says education partnerships will benefit more than 80,000 people and employment partnerships will benefit more than 10,000 people. It will also deliver at least £10 million worth affordable workspace, retail space, community and arts space delivered across its portfolio by 2030.

The new fund supports Thriving Places, one of the pillars of the company’s 2030 Sustainability strategy: Greener Spaces, Thriving Places, Responsible Choices. Thus far, British Land says: “29,000 people have benefited from our education partnerships and over 2,150 people have benefited from our employment partnerships, with more than 700 securing jobs.”

Anna Devlet, head of social sustainability at British Land, said: “We recognise that our places thrive when local people and organisations prosper, meaning our enhanced social impact commitments are not just the right thing to do but also make good commercial sense. 

“By collaboratively addressing local priorities through a place-based approach, we are confident in our ability to make tangible, meaningful impact and grow social value and wellbeing in the communities in which we operate, all while curating places that people truly prefer.”

Orchard Street Investment Management has announced the launch and first close of its inaugural impact fund. 

The UK-based investment manager’s Orchard Street Social and Environmental Impact Partnership has raised just under £90 million ($101 million) at first close. 

The fund will target value-add real estate investment opportunities in all UK sectors with the potential to generate a measurable social and environmental impact.

It will focus on three areas:

  1. Decarbonising existing buildings with an accelerated refurbishment programme 
  2. Investing in local communities, “using a proprietary place-based needs model to identify and respond to local social issues”
  3. Making buildings healthier by improving air quality, access to green space and wellness amenities.

Philip Gadsden, portfolio director of the new fund and managing partner at Orchard Street, said: “One of the underlying drivers behind both our efforts as a business and the launch of this fund is the forecast that 80% of the buildings that will exist in the UK by 2050 already exist now, underlining the impetus for immediate action to be taken today to remediate existing but underutilised buildings, and aligning the Fund with Article 8 of the SFDR*. 

"Buildings that offer top quality space and strong ESG credentials will continue to command the best rents and prices, with this fund therefore providing not only an avenue for investors to enjoy strong financial returns but also a significant positive social and environmental impact.” 

JLL Upstream Sustainability Services, UK advised on the development of the fund; Carbon Intelligence, part of Accenture, will manage the ESG performance data for the fund’s assets and BlueMark, will provide ongoing independent assurance of the fund’s impact objectives and reporting.

Real estate’s focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues will be the dominant trend in the next two decades, a ULI report says. 

Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe 2023, the 20th annual survey of European real estate sector leaders’ expectations by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC, said responsible capitalism is now seen a crucial to success. 

Asked about the factors determining success, 93% of respondents selected running a socially and environmentally responsible business, closely followed by 87% concerned with creating social impact alongside financial return.

Sophie Chick, head of research for ULI Europe, said: “For the real estate industry to be successful over the long term, it needs to step up from an operational and reporting ESG focus to an all-stakeholder model that fully aligns and integrates the interests of the planet and people with a company’s profitability.”

ULI said greening the world’s existing real estate stock will require vast capital expenditure and needs to happen swiftly to meet climate goals. Pressure to incorporate social impact is predicted to grow as public sector balance sheets become increasingly stretched. Property companies embracing ‘responsible capitalism’ will become more involved in providing social infrastructure, public realm, healthcare and community spaces and in addressing loneliness, growing inequality and ageing populations, it added.