The Commercial Real Estate (CRE) industry has been slow to fully embrace Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I). One explanation, from our point of view, is that people of “less-privileged identities”, who currently work in the industry, have not yet made a meaningful and compelling connection between the work they do every day and the potential social, demographic, employment, and economic impacts that CRE can generate. DE&I is only thought of as an employment metric, not as a factor that permeates every aspect of the industry – namely and especially, what we do, which is own, develop, and manage real estate. Further, Social Impactors often limit their development efforts to fundamental, subsistence level projects, almost through a negative problem-solving filter – not recognizably distinguished from the projects, which are all too familiar for all too long – rather than positive, exciting, enriching, and transformative. We aren’t connecting the people to the product. We aren’t reaching high enough.
Even as recently as February 2021, the non-profit Real Estate Executive Council (the leading trade group for people of color in commercial real estate) has created a Diversity Partners Program to promote collaboration and partnerships rather than an individual company’s siloed efforts. The key components are a commitment by the partners to improve DE&I, to make gains in hiring and promoting diverse talent, to hire and support diverse vendors and suppliers, to improve access to capital and credit for diverse entrepreneurs, developers, investment managers and communities, and to promote transparency and accountability around DE&I. Again, worthy … but the only one that connects to the real estate is the capital.
For E³SG, our definition of ESG real estate captures all of the above – in addition to every aspect of the supply chain of DE&I deal participants – including sellers, buyers, sponsors, users, employers and employees, funders, beneficiaries, neighbors, contractors, developers, and exit strategists. The returns to all of these parties are factored into the automated highest and best use analysis – and thus the valuation. Our Technologies allow for alignment, measure, and scoring of their interests and the related impacts. Within and throughout a constituent-specific supply chain, for example people of color, our Exchange allows Social Impactors to make all the national connections needed, along the entire gamut from people to every stage and facet of the product, to execute high-return ESG real estate projects.
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