U+I is a property regeneration company formed out of the merger of Development Securities and Cathedral group. The group looks to add value to buildings and neighbourhoods through innovative design, exemplified by prestigious projects such as Shepherd’s Bush Market and Manchester Arena.
Greengage have recently developed the U+I CSR strategy in order to ensure that it aligns closely with both policy and market sentiment. Greater attention to governance and consideration of social and environmental issues has become more popular amongst companies, due to external public pressure and increased financial returns. In an especially volatile market, shareholders look in particular to companies with long-term strategic targets for resilience within their portfolio.
In order to develop the CSR strategy an initial stakeholder mapping process was undertaken. This process identified key stakeholders to U+I, determining the degree of influence between the two. The next step was to use this information to construct a list of material issues integral to all stakeholders. Through this process any possible issues that may affect the corporate standing of U+I or which the organisation has an influence upon were ascertained and prioritised into a materiality matrix.
The real value in carrying out this exercise is in the long-term. With a strong understanding of the material issues, key performance indicators were able to be assigned to each issue.
The KPIs were established with two key future considerations in mind:
- To be easily measurable, facilitating the monitoring of progress and continual improvement; and
- To be aligned with external policy and third-party assessments allowing greater public transparency about CSR activities.
As a means of integrating the material issues into the CSR strategy, Greengage assisted in developing overarching policy and corporate targets that addresses key sustainability themes.
Data collection across the corporate function as well as investment portfolio is ongoing, allowing further refinement of targets and transparency about progress with stakeholders as part of the annual reporting process for 2016/17. Alignment has been made with third party verification schemes such as GRESB to allow independent verification at a future date should this be sought.