ESG

Our focus

Improve energy efficiency

Reduce energy consumption

Our current approach

Our current approach to sustainability follows industry practice by aiming to maximise and maintain property value and occupier appeal, reduce exposure to key risks in acquisitions and ensure best practice asset management.

We currently focus on two complementary measures which are within our control, namely to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy consumption through our acquisition and asset management procedures.

Our activities are supported by a robust approach to corporate governance and the Investment Advisor’s dedicated management team.

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Environmental aspects are integrated into all stages of the portfolio life cycle, starting with asset selection and acquisition. We perform environmental due diligence as part of the acquisition process to identify and carefully assess environmental risks including flood risks, site contamination and EPC ratings.

The assessment allows us to understand any mitigation required and the investment versus return opportunity.

Maintenance and regeneration are an important consideration during the acquisition process. Tilstone, together with external specialists, assesses the improvement potential of individual assets.

This includes examining land usage and the buildings’ external fabric, mechanical and electrical systems, to form a view on the investment required to meet current regulations, tenant requirements and/or criteria for the viable regeneration of land.

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With our pro‑active approach to asset management, we continuously seek to increase the wider stakeholder values attributable to each asset.

We budget to spend 0.75% of our GAV on capital expenditure each year, and this includes consideration of energy efficiency initiatives balanced against the potential return in terms of asset value and rental growth. Expenditure encompasses improvements to building infrastructure, electrical installations such as replacing existing lighting with LEDs, and updating heating systems with efficient boilers in warehouse and office space.

Such measures also contribute to improved EPC ratings and we have targeted a minimum EPC rating of 39 to 54 SAP points (E rating) across our portfolio. Since ownership we have taken 24 units out of an historic F and G rating, to ensure ongoing compliance with government regulation.

We use the opportunity to target capital expenditure towards improvements in the operational performance of each asset, benefiting their marketability and rental growth potential.
By way of example, at one asset, responding to increased frequency of flash flooding, surface water drainage has been replaced, together with the introduction of weirs within guttering to increase flow capacity and successfully remove the risk of flooding.

Tilstone prioritises the continued investment in its team, to ensure it can offer the best possible service to us and our tenants. This is achieved by recruiting a diverse group of talented individuals and by creating a supportive atmosphere in which they can thrive, sharing experiences and learning from each other, underpinned by strong employment standards.

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The Company’s corporate governance structure, policies and procedures are explained in detail in the corporate governance section of the Annual Report.

We are EPRA (European Public Real Estate Association) members and aim to report to EPRA for the first time in 2021.

We have created an informal team, including our Chairman Neil Kirton and the Investment Advisor’s Managing Director, Andrew Bird, to oversee sustainability issues such as capital expenditure on improvements in energy efficiency and reviewing sustainability‑related risks.

Our ambitions

The sustainability agenda is evolving rapidly. We are at the start of our sustainability journey, but have ambitious plans to fully capture the value we can create through a pro‑active and targeted sustainability strategy.

In this respect, during the next 12 months we will undertake three complementary workstreams that will define a new strategic framework for the Group, as we aim to become a recognised leader in our sector.

As a start, we will conduct a much deeper review of the principal sustainability risks facing our business and sector, ensuring our efforts are directed at the most significant opportunities to deliver tangible benefits for our stakeholders, and across the scope of our activities. We will use the findings to update our sustainability vision and framework, and identify key focus areas and related objectives.

Finally, we will develop a practical action plan aligned to these focus areas. This will include robust sustainability management procedures, associated policy documents, data collection requirements and goal setting covering our ESG impacts, to demonstrate our commitment to best-in-class sustainability management and transparency.