Hines has unveiled a new ESG strategy to elevate its commitments to environmental, social and governance issues, with a particular focus on the climate emergency, by accelerating its efforts to lead the industry in decarbonization of the built environment.
Hines said investors, occupiers and increasingly, communities, are asking the commercial real estate industry to do far more than it ever has.
”To meet those challenges, Hines is leveraging its global scale and abilities as an integrated investor, developer and operator to inform a its perspective on how to solve complex issues facing the industry, while positively shaping the built environment,” said the company in a statement.
To lead the firm’s strategies, Hines has appointed Senior Managing Director Peter Epping as Global Head of ESG. For the past eight years, Epping served as fund manager for Hines’ European Core Fund (HECF). He was instrumental in HECF being recognized by GRESB as the most sustainable fund in Europe of all diversified portfolios and as a GRESB Global Sector Leader for an unprecedented four years in a row, with the most recent being 2020. In addition, HECF recently won the inaugural Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) Real Estate Investment Management ESG award in the open-end fund category, beating all 59 competing funds.
In addition to Epping, the firm established a dedicated new global ESG team for to lead its focus on furthering ESG commitments across Hines’ investments, properties, communities and stakeholders.
A new Hines ESG Leadership Council also includes Global Head of Management Services Adil Noorani; Chief People Officer Steph Biernbaum; Chief Legal Officer Richard Heaton and Global Sustainability Officer Clayton Ulrich. This council will work holistically to drive innovation and positive change including new initiatives focused on addressing carbon emissions and social equity across the built environment.
”Hines’ commitment to delivering future-proofed, sustainable, buildings has been deeply rooted in the firm since Gerald D. Hines founded the firm more than six decades ago,” the company added.
Hines believes investors and developers must approach post-pandemic opportunities by creating more livable environments and contributing to better life experiences through new standards of flexibility in workplaces, homes and communities of the future.
“We all have a part to play in one of the largest challenges of our collective lifetime as we strive to create a healthier, inclusive and more sustainable planet,” said Hines Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Hines. “Our long-term vision is to continue leading the industry by further embedding ESG excellence across the company—from our people, through our investments, construction, management and engineering around the globe.”
“I’m honored to lead our new global ESG platform as we build on such a strong foundation,” commented Hines Global Head of ESG Peter Epping. “We have a long-term commitment to ensure ESG leadership and innovation are at the heart of our entire business, enabling us to remain on the leading edge and meet the extraordinary challenges ahead of us. Our scale allows us to implement our innovative approach across a large number of new projects and existing properties around the world. We believe, that will have a significant positive impact on spaces, people, communities and climate while making good business sense too.”
“We are bringing together our best ideas, people and influence,” Ulrich added. “Our core focus will continue to be carbon reduction through the way we design, build and operate real estate—and we look forward to sharing our exciting plans in the coming weeks.”
Working with Regional ESG Leaders in Asia, Europe, North America and South America, Epping will relocate to New York, reporting to Global Chief Investment Officer David Steinbach. Adam Slakman, global sustainability manager, will report to Epping.
“Investors and occupiers alike are looking to enhance their approach to ESG with the knowledge that immediate action needs to be taken. As stewards of the built environment, we recognize the pivotal role we play in meeting the generational challenge of climate change and at the same time delivering destinations that are healthy, sustainable, and truly connected to the communities in which we operate,” said Steinbach. “Peter’s passion and focus on ESG is deep and longstanding, and he will be stepping into his new role at this exciting moment for the firm as we ramp up our ESG focus even further.”
Simone Pozzato will succeed Epping as HECF’s Fund Manager, a natural progression from his current role as Deputy Fund Manager.