Problem Addressed

Getting to understand the needs of communities through traditional community consultation methods would be prohibitively expensive. This challenge is particularly acute for real estate investors, who will typically have many investments in geographically disparate locations.

Solution Overview

CBRE Advisory have developed a proprietary tool, the Social Value Snapshot, to measure the social value of real assets. The Social Value Snapshot plugs the current gap in the “S” of ESG by allowing repeatable and accountable quantitative analysis of the social value of buildings. The tool aims to move real estate asset managers and occupiers away from isolated case studies of good practice to measuring and reporting on social value in a repeatable and quantitative way at the asset and portfolio level. In 2021 the tool was piloted across ten assets from one of CBRE Investment Management’s UK based funds. The ambition of the pilot was to provide CBRE Investment Management and their investors with insights into the communities that their assets are a part of, to benchmark the social impact of different assets against each other and to identify opportunities for delivering social value at scale. The pilot ran from June to September 2021.

The Social Value Snapshot provides a unique score for each asset based on the ten outcomes listed below:

  • Economic regeneration
  • Employment
  • Skills and education
  • Health
  • Environment
  • Safety and security
  • Community
  • Connectivity
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Climate resilience

The score is informed by the building design and operation as well as the local area and demographics. Crucially, the magnitude of social value depends on local need. The relative weighting of each of these themes will also depend on the strategic priorities of the client and the needs of the local community.

The Social Value Snapshot Tool is a proprietary tool owned by CBRE and used at a cost to the client. It is not publicly available.

Case Study

The Social Value Snapshot has been developed over the past three years by CBRE’s ESG Consultancy team in partnership with their research team in response to an industry need for better measurement of the social factors when reporting on the ESG credentials of real estate investments. The tool was developed to focus on asset performance rather than contract performance; each outcome speaks to the unique benefits that communities and wider stakeholders gain from their built environment. The tool also uses local area and demographic data to inform the estimated value of a building to the community, allowing for a more advanced evaluation of social impact.

The process for running the Social Value Snapshot is as follows:

  • Identify the communities impacted by the building(s) being assessed.
  • The identified communities then inform the geographical boundary of the local demographic data to be analysed.
  • The next step is to agree which of the outcomes or thematic areas within the tool are most material to the client and priority stakeholders.
  • Surveys are then issued to Property Managers and Building Managers to gather information about the building itself. These are combined with the local area data to create a social value score for each asset, and “establish the baseline”.
  • From this analysis opportunities for delivering social value are identified and assessed in terms of their Social Return on Investment.
  • The measurement exercise forms the basis of the framework for ongoing monitoring and reporting.
  • These opportunities, supported by targets, KPIs and a roadmap for delivery, form the basis of a strategy and delivery plan

Future considerations: 

The current tool does not include any direct community engagement or consultation. This is deliberate, as consulting the local demographic data provides a cost-effective alternative. However, there is engagement with the building occupants throughout. Where the tool recognises areas of high deprivation or low asset performance CBRE plans to work with clients on targeted community consultation exercises to better understand the opportunities and challenges for that site.

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