ESG Working Group Update: Subgroups Kick Off in November

5 minute read

See where we are in the process + request a seat at the table for one of our focused subgroups.

There has never been more investor interest and capital available for ESG-focused homebuilding and community development. The Inflation Reduction Act is also set to infuse more than $50 billion into clean energy technologies and improvements that will create ripple effects in housing.

We need to not only understand the Environmental, Social, and Governance aspects of ESG more deeply but also to ensure we aren’t falling into another greenwashing trap. Well-defined metrics. Realistic goals. Measurable impact. An approach that’s relevant to the housing industry, rather than shoe-horning guidelines from chemical and other industries that are a waste of time and effort and won’t allow us to deliver the value we should.

With the right roadmap, we can unlock revenue opportunities and build greater resiliency into our business, all while continuing to do well by doing good. To get there, a lot of details need to be worked out, and we can’t do it alone.

The Alliance + green builder media combine efforts

The Alliance + Green Builder Media have been on similar paths to create Working Groups to map out ESG from a buildings perspective and create resources that can legitimately move the housing industry forward in this area. CR Herro was involved on both sides – providing thought leadership on the structure and approach – and suggested that we join forces. Over the past few months, we’ve been aligning our agendas to play to each of our strengths and those of the experts who decide to get engaged.

All told, more than 50 experts have been engaged so far.

 

If you were part of the Alliance discussions initially, we still want to keep you engaged. If you haven’t participated yet, it’s not too late to join us. Either way, we need some feedback from you.

 

In November, we’ll be kicking things into high gear as a combined working group. Subgroups are being formed and will host individual kickoff calls to drive focused discussion in seven critical areas.

 

Check out the list of subgroups and their descriptions below to find what interests you, then fill out our survey to put your hat in the ring.

Subgroups

  • ENVIRONMENTAL — identifying priority metrics, benchmarks, and milestones in areas related to housing + community development such as emission reductions, design (homes/buildings), design (landscape), fugitive air emissions, stormwater + groundwater, solid waste, electrical demand + embodied energy, petrochemical demand, and habitat loss.

  • SOCIAL – identifying priority metrics, benchmarks, and milestones in areas related to housing + community development such as social justice, equity, + diversity among residents + the community; transportation + walkability; health (physical + mental); attainability; engagement with surrounding neighbors + communities; and ethics + values.

  • GOVERNANCE – identifying priority metrics, benchmarks, and milestones in areas related to housing + community development such as policy + business culture; social justice, equity, + diversity in business operations; engaging new labor forces; and engaging social NGOs.

  • MEASUREMENT – exploring tools + methodologies for measurement, accounting, reporting, + transparency of the impacts of buildings. The greatest work effort here will be put into Environmental – carbon accounting + measuring carbon footprint of homes, communities, + buildings; analysis of existing calculators, tools + software; data reporting flow from raw materials to finished products; and best practice benchmarking. This SG will also collaborate with Social + Governance to gather relevant tools for those areas to create a more complete package.

  • INNOVATION – discovering breakthroughs in product development, sustainable design, land use, recycling + waste reduction, alternative materials, off-site construction, energy, water + biodiversity.

  • ESG BUSINESS CASE – pinpointing why the time for ESG is now from three perspectives: builder/developer, investor + manufacturer/supplier.

  • OUTREACH + EDUCATION – providing updates on the ESG Working Group approach + progress subgroups are making; once a guiding principles document is in place, socializing it, creating buy-in + driving adoption within housing + community development and the financial sector.

Eric Holt of the University of Denver and I will be leading the Measurement subgroup (if you’re interested), and the Alliance team will be participating in three other areas – Social, Business Case, and Outreach + Education – as well as the higher-level discussions.

 

The plan is for each subgroup to meet toward the beginning of the month with a larger group discussion later in the month.

 

Interested in participating? 

 

Fill out this quick survey and let us know how you’d like to get involved. We’ll work with the folks at Green Builder Media and our internal team to get you fully set up to participate.

 

Looking forward to connecting with you.

Betsy Scott
Executive Director, Programs + Engagement 

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