Nucleus Office Parks, the operating platform for Blackstone Real Estate’s wholly owned offices in India, has invested over Rs 100 crore to upgrade its properties across the country in line with the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) norms.
The operating platform houses 20 million sq ft office spaces across its 18 assets in top five property markets of the country including Mumbai, Bangalore, NCR, Chennai and Ahmedabad.
Apart from these, the US-based private equity major also owns over 110 million sq ft commercial assets in the country through its joint ventures and alliances with Indian developers.
This is one of the highest investments made by a private equity player in India towards ESG compliance, which is becoming an important non-financial factor for assessment of global businesses. Sustainability is fast becoming a key priority for corporations and investors around the world.
“We have devised a cohesive ESG framework founded primarily on four pillars – ecosystem, human capital, community, and governance. Moreover, we have identified a combination of long-term pledges with short term milestones to ensure we achieve our vision and create a lasting impact,” said Quaiser Parvez, CEO, Nucleus Office Parks.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has mandated new ESG reporting requirements for the top 1,000 listed entities by market capitalization starting from 2023. The move is expected to encourage more organisations to participate and support the development of robust ESG reporting frameworks.
Over the past year, Nucleus Office Parks has taken various initiatives to reduce environmental impact and uplift the communities in which they operate.
In May 2022, Nucleus Office Parks became the country’s largest office portfolio to have received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications for existing buildings’ operations and maintenance from the Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI).
“This is an inflection point for India and there is a real opportunity for corporations to scale their roles in mitigating the impacts of climate change… We do not have to wait for crises to make comprehensive changes in transition towards India’s net-zero commitment. Lasting change is only going to come with proactive measures and more specifically, a greater transparency in ESG reporting,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, former president & CEO of U.S. Green Building Council.
Recently, Nucleus Office Parks also worked with various government bodies to uplift and redevelop one of Mumbai’s busiest streets at Lower Parel. As part of the project, it has created 1,900 sq meters of under flyover social spaces, 2.5 kms of pedestrian pathways, and planted over 20,000 trees and plants.
Nucleus Office Parks has set up an ESG committee comprising members from cross-functional businesses to drive improvements in company policies. It has also implemented an automated tool to monitor and carry out periodic audits for statutory and other compliances.
The companies and their investors are increasingly allocating time and capital to ensure not only financial returns but also social good. Non-financial factors are increasingly becoming an indicator of material risks and growth opportunities for investors.
The outbreak of Covid19 pandemic and increasingly evident costs of climate change are driving the importance of discussions around ESG issues as many company boards are devoting substantial hours in their strategy meetings to discuss these issues.