Avison Young takes steps to integrate sustainability into its services

2015 Global Citizenship Report shows progress in firm's corporate social responsibility journey

TORONTO, May 31, 2016 /CNW/ - Mark E. Rose, Chair and CEO of Avison Young, the world's fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm, announced today that it has released its second-annual global citizenship report.

"The Avison Young 2015 Global Citizenship Report, released today, shows that we have made progress in the journey to support our clients' sustainability and corporate social responsibility objectives," comments Rose. "Global Citizenship is the umbrella name of Avison Young's corporate social responsibility, sustainability and philanthropy strategy. The 2014 launch of this strategy kicked off a more focused effort on embedding sustainability into our culture and services. In 2015, we expanded and intensified our corporate social responsibility efforts, along with our sustainability and philanthropy programs."

As the report indicates, Avison Young launched key initiatives in corporate social responsibility, sustainability and philanthropy in 2015.  

"We recognize that, as a service provider, Avison Young can have its biggest positive impact by helping our clients achieve their sustainability and corporate social responsibility objectives," says Rose. "Therefore, we leveraged our internal Avison Young University platform in 2015 to provide everyone at Avison Young with access to training and information about our Global Citizenship initiative and green building professional certification. Providing this education and training will help us integrate sustainability into the full range of our real estate services, and thus help our clients achieve their sustainability objectives."

Examples of work performed for clients are featured in the report, including: tenant representation services for a client in the new LEED-registered Globe and Mail building in Toronto; project management services for a LEED-certified office space for a client in New Jersey; and Avison Young's investment management team completing the Global Real Estate Benchmark (GRESB) survey for the first time in 2015, on behalf of a client.

In addition, Avison Young held its second-annual Global Day of Giving in October 2015, when the firm set aside time for all Avison Young professionals across the globe to get involved in a local community volunteer project. Employees in 71 offices volunteered 5,462 hours to support more than 60 charities. Activities ranged from organizing clothing drives for local refugee homes to sorting food at food banks to completing renovation projects at women's shelters.

Rose adds: "The Global Day of Giving was, perhaps, our proudest community-minded accomplishment. There is no better testament to our people's energy and enthusiasm than the Global Day of Giving. Furthermore, we gained a greater appreciation of the unselfish acts that the unsung heroes working for non-profit groups perform every day. In the process, we demonstrated to our clients and our partners that Global Citizenship is a way of business life for Avison Young."

Avison Young Principal Rodney McDonald concurs. "Our goal is to bring us closer to our clients by helping them identify and act on emerging environmental and social issues while ensuring that our culture remains focused on excellence and integrity," states McDonald. "We have included examples in this report of our teams working with clients to help them achieve their sustainability goals. Our expectation is that the types of stories shared in the 2015 Avison Young Global Citizenship Report will become more prevalent as our clients face increasingly complex environmental, regulatory, market and societal disruption, and as we further integrate sustainability into our business lines."

Avison Young's 2015 Global Citizenship Report also explains the five "pillars" on which the corporate social responsibility, sustainability and philanthropy strategy is based. The pillars include support for clients, corporate governance, operational excellence, communities and employee excellence. For each pillar, Avison Young has set a long-term goal for 2030 and metrics by which to measure progress.

"For each pillar, we have identified a long-term aspirational goal, interim milestones and specific performance metrics," points out McDonald. "In 2015, we reinforced these pillars, met and exceeded some short-term goals, and gained a greater understanding of the metrics and the important role that they will play going forward."

For internal operations, Avison Young undertook a project to establish baselines for energy use, greenhouse-gas (C02e) emissions and water consumption in its offices; and joined the Canada Green Business Council (CaGBC) and U.S. Green Business Council. In early 2016, Avison Young sponsored the CaGBC's Building Lasting Change conference and joined the U.K. Green Building Council and German Sustainable Business Council.

This past year, Avison Young's Women's Network, a subgroup of Avison Young's diversity and inclusion affinity group, launched a mentorship program that paired 48 female protégés with seasoned real estate professionals in the firm as a way of promoting professional excellence and supporting career advancement.

Avison Young also furthered the development of its wellness program and the firm's efforts to encourage employee use of public transit in all markets. As part of its 2015 internal operations assessment, Avison Young assessed how its offices performed in terms of walkability and proximity to public transit. The results were highly positive: Avison Young's average walk score was 79 out of 100, with 40% of the firm's offices having a score above 90, which is considered a "walker's paradise." While the firm's average transit score was 49, nearly 13% of offices had a perfect mark of 100, and 15% scored above 90, which is considered a "rider's paradise."

McDonald adds: "We believe that locating our offices in buildings with high walkability and transit scores will contribute to the overall health of our workforce over the long term, reduce our collective energy use, and further reduce our overall CO2e emissions."

Ultimately, Rose concludes, the firm's sustainability initiatives are designed to help clients meet their increasingly complex goals and build long-term value.

"Their success is the best measure of our performance," says Rose.

Avison Young is the world's fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Avison Young is a collaborative, global firm owned and operated by its principals. Founded in 1978, the company comprises 2,200 real estate professionals in 77 offices, providing value-added, client-centric investment sales, leasing, advisory, management, financing and mortgage placement services to owners and occupiers of office, retail, industrial and multi-family properties.

Editors/Reporters
• Please click on link to view and download Avison Young's 2015 Global Citizenship Report: https://avisonyoung.uberflip.com/i/685038-avisonyoung-2015globalcitizenshipreport-may31-16

For further information/comment/photos:

  • Sherry Quan, Principal, Global Director of Communications & Media Relations,
    Avison Young: 604.647.5098; cell: 604.726.0959
  • Mark Rose, Chair and CEO, Avison Young: 416.673.4028
  • Rodney McDonald, Principal, Avison Young: 416.673.4059

www.avisonyoung.com

Avison Young was a winner of Canada's Best Managed Companies program in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 and requalified in 2015 to maintain its status as a Best Managed Gold company

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SOURCE Avison Young Commercial Real Estate (BC)

For further information: Media Relations: Sherry Quan, 604.647.5098 or 604.726.0959, sherry.quan@avisonyoung.com

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