How important is it to embed sustainability at a boardroom level?
Avison Young’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee both play a critical role in overseeing our company’s strategy, risk management, and performance. The Board embodies the Principal-led values and behaviours of the company. By proactively integrating environmental and social impact considerations into our governance practices, our executives ensure that delivery challenges and opportunities are embedded in the company’s day-to-day decision-making processes, aligning with our overall business strategy and long-term goals. This is an integral part of our growth strategy, demonstrated through driving social impact and urban transformation, and partnering with organizations such as the World Economic Forum.
Effective governance requires a proactive and engaged board that is committed to understanding and addressing environmental and social risks and opportunities. How is Avison Young addressing this?
We worked to establish a board and executive committee that has the necessary expertise and resources. This means making sure our committees are diverse and have members with specific experience and expertise in environmental and social issues. Plus, it’s important to establish clear lines of responsibility and accountability for performance in these areas.
We have an integrated approach to identifying, evaluating and controlling risk. Whether for corporate-level compliance, future risks to revenue generation or operational and insured risks. Our enterprise risk assessment is undertaken regularly, overseen by our Global Risk and Compliance Officer and country risk management committees, in conjunction with our country leaders, country chief operating officers and service line leaders across our business.
Then, it’s about making sure that environmental and social issues are firmly operationalized, that we’re constantly optimizing our approach, and effectively communicating our performance in a transparent and authentic way with our people and other stakeholders.
They say what gets measured, gets managed. What is Avison Young doing to enhance the measurement and management of environmental and social data and performance?
Since 2016 we have been tracking and publicly reporting our operational emissions, and we’ve started evolving our non-financial reporting processes to align with and map progress toward our Net Zero target to achieve net zero in all our global workspaces by 2040.
To that point, as we move or update our workspaces, we’re becoming fluent in evaluating the buildings we select to lease, as well as emerging green lease language, making sure that smart meters, access to utility data and a host of other environmental criteria are incorporated into those agreements.
Throughout 2022, we demoed and audited a number of technology solutions to support streamlining and begin automating our data collection – which in turn enables an evolution from spreadsheet-based tracking, and, in time, real-time monitoring. This will benefit us with more accurate carbon footprint monitoring, reporting and portfolio analytics.