The Green Cities Company’s proprietary metric, the Green Cities Index (GCI), integrates ESG and DEI throughout the firm and the lifecycle of its investments. The real estate private equity manager focuses on measuring five ESG-related impacts: environmental impact, climate change mitigation, resilience, health and well-being and equitable communities.

In the past year, Green Cities expanded its commitment to DEI. The company enhanced what it calls a diversity, equity, inclusion and “access” (DEI&A) strategy. When conceived and operated with respect and inclusivity, Green Cities believes that properties can combat systemic marginalization by fostering dignity, providing equitable access, empowering individual voices, and inspiring collective purpose.

As part of the strategy, Green Cities, a minority and women-owned business, formed a DEI&A committee. Members of the committee worked with senior leadership to establish a portfolio-wide inclusivity statement. The committee is also working with managing partners to conduct an employee survey.

The sustainable investment, development and property management firm’s reporting includes GCI performance for every asset and fund, and the overall portfolio through an environmental and community impact report. The reports are distributed to limited partners and made available to the public.

Lauren Winkler, Senior Director of ESG

Included in the report are metrics on Green Cities’ corporate footprint and responsible activities across all five pillars of the Green Cities Index, as well as DEI and governance and transparency. In addition, ESG performance and updates are reported at the company’s annual meeting and each quarter to limited partners.

Green Cities, also named a PE Innovator in ESG in 2021, believes that real estate investment managers have a significant obligation and opportunity to contribute to a cleaner, healthier, more resilient future. “By embracing these responsibilities from the top of an organization through to internal and external stakeholders, GPs can become leaders of the ESG and DEI movements – setting the tone ahead of reacting to it,” says Lauren Winkler, senior director of ESG.

“Public disclosure of this commitment and ESG reporting are also important for ensuring stakeholders have visibility into ESG efforts which creates legitimacy and buy-in both internally and externally.”

Winkler, who joined Green Cities earlier this year, adds that internal processes for effectively executing ESG goals need to be well-articulated and understood by the entire firm. This requires ongoing education and exposure to new developments in the field.

For our full 2022 Private Equity Innovators in ESG coverage, click here.