I am pleased to announce that we have released our 2020 Corporate Sustainability Report. I must admit, it was a strange exercise to look back on the year that was 2020. It’s not a year than many of us want to revisit, but in taking stock I am encouraged by how much we managed to get done while the world was turned upside down. This post is intended to give you some highlights of how we progressed against our sustainability principles.
Since we refreshed our approach to sustainability in 2019 with the launch of our new Sustainability Framework, we have made carbon savings a priority. I am happy to say that in 2020 we were able to reduce our emissions by 9.7 % while also growing our portfolio and providing healthy returns to our investors. A lot of our other efforts in decarbonization involved auditing our buildings to determine where we can best achieve long-term, robust emissions reductions.
Another 2020 highlight was the launch our Connected Communities program in four Vancouver buildings. This project is designed to combat social isolation and loneliness in multifamily buildings. The project has recruited and trained volunteers in each building to develop programming and host events that help residents get to know their neighbours and form social connections. We are currently working to expand the program and develop metrics to gauge its success.
Outside of the human tragedy of COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was also a year of awakening around issues of equity and racial justice. I personally learned that I have a lot more to learn about diversity, equity and inclusion, and also that change is required for us to transition into a more just and equitable society.
So while we collectively long to get back to our normal lives there is a growing awareness that our “normal” needs to change. Concert’s senior leadership team underwent sensitivity training focused on improving diversity and inclusion in our company, and in 2021 we will continue this journey by taking more broad-based action in this area.
Finally, writing a report like this is not only a chance to reflect, it’s also quite a bit of work. In 2020 we focused on getting our energy and carbon data accurate and assured as our key priority. We’ve since worked hard to develop systems and processes to cover even more metrics for our 2021 report.
We have big plans for the future and have been busy this year on lots of projects we cannot wait to share. Projects like a new, more fulsome approach to sustainable procurement, numerous building decarbonization projects and an initial exploration of some renewable energy projects.
There is still a lot work to do, but for now I thank you for your interest in our journey as we continue to transform our operations and assets to be a model for wholistic sustainable development everywhere.
-Dave Ramslie, Vice President, Innovation & Sustainability