REAL ESTATE COMPANY LAUNCHES SUSTAINABILITY REPORT
BY KIRSTY FRASER
Integrated reporting on sustainable growth in companies has come to the fore as a crucial indicator of wider societal impact, an important move for investors and stakeholders who want to see a return on investment beyond profit.
The Crown Estate, a UK real estate business, has released its 2017 Total Contribution report, ‘Everything is Connected,’ and celebrated its January launch with a video produced by PSONA Films. An innovative way to report on sustainable growth, the ‘Total Contribution’ methodology allows the Crown Estate to take a more holistic view of its business and the value of its assets in the long term. The methodology goes beyond company revenue, and looks at its contributions to larger society, whether this is a carbon or even a societal impact.
Although in the early stages, this approach of ‘conscious commercialism’ informs the Crown Estate’s decision making and understanding of where opportunities exist across the six capitals it relies on. Forming a consistent unit of measurement on metrics that gauge their contributions to these capitals, the company can better understand how to preserve or improve the value of its investments, and convey this research to investors. According to the Crown Estate’s website, some key achievements in the 2015 to 2016 fiscal years include a 99 percent diversion of operational waste from landfill and a five percent improvement in the intensity of its carbon emissions.
“As an organization, [Total Contribution] is part of what we do and in our DNA,” says Claudine Blamey, head of sustainability at the Crown Estate. “You can’t have business separate from sustainability, you really have to incorporate those things together in order to deliver value for the long term.” The 3.5 minute film is a summation of the launch event, featuring presentations from Alison Nimmo, the Crown Estate’s CEO, and Jonathan Porritt, founder of Forum of the Future. In the video, Nimmo comments on the failure of traditional financial reporting to capture a company’s value in totality, and says the Crown Estate hopes to achieve a transparency with its investors through integrated reporting and its recent Total Contribution report. The video concludes on a hopeful note that the methodology provides a starting point for the Crown Estate to begin refining its metrics and shaping its sustainable business model.
Ajay Mair, marketing manager of PSONA Films, says, “We’ve been involved in producing video content for almost 30 years and supporting sustainability communications has been a solid part of this. Creating content that articulates such a ground-breaking concept is a rare opportunity and something we hope we can continue to help shape with the Crown Estate.”
The Crown Estate is offering its Total Contribution methodology to other companies who are interested in adopting its unique approach. The company hopes that through collaboration, it will be able to form common metrics to measure value across businesses and shape the future of sustainability reporting in corporate landscapes.
“We have set up long term aspirations that take us to 2030 about having low carbon, low waste and creating healthy environments and communities for people where we operate,” says Blamey on the future of sustainability at the Crown Estate. She adds that Nimmo has prioritised sustainability communications and says a sustainability report should highlight, “The social impact you have, the environmental impact you have, and the financial impact you have. Total Contribution gives us a way of being able to do that.”