CHICAGO, Feb. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- With today's release of EQ Office's first annual ESG report, the company has formally launched its social responsibility program, EQ Impact, aimed at regenerating urban spaces, preserving local culture, and driving humanity into the workplace. Advancing its commitment to keep jobs in local communities, EQ has formed a nationwide partnership with YouthBuildUSA that will expand job skills training, offer hands-on mentoring, and provide internships to opportunity youth — young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor employed — in local communities who want a career in real estate or construction-related fields.
"As an owner and operator of buildings that are part of our cities across the country, at EQ Office we really want to humanize work and our workplaces - and this is not just the physical spaces, but largely the neighborhoods that surround us," said Lisa Picard, CEO and president of EQ Office. "We want to give back in meaningful ways that truly shape and support our local communities through actions that enliven culture, foster community and increase our environmental initiatives, in the spirit to cultivate great talent. This is an evolving effort for me and all our people at EQ, as we want this to commence our reporting of progress each year."
Both at the national and local levels, EQ Impact is dedicated to supporting the people and environments that underpin thriving communities by:
Bringing workforce development, job training and placement into communities: Attracting and retaining top talent for customers has always been part of EQ's mission, and is more important now than ever before. EQ is continuing that commitment by partnering with YouthBuild USA, the nonprofit support center for a global network of 290 local YouthBuild programs in 18 countries, with 233 programs in 46 U.S. states and territories and 57 programs in 17 other countries. In YouthBuild programs, opportunity youth pursue their education, prepare for future careers and grow into community leaders, building brighter futures for themselves and their neighborhoods.
"Our young people are strong and resilient," said YouthBuild USA's President and CEO John Valverde. "We're grateful for EQ's financial commitment and ongoing employee mentoring engagement. It's a tremendous support for us and our programs as we partner with opportunity youth to earn the knowledge, training, and opportunities that lead to long-term professional and personal success."
Additionally, EQ has created more than 51,000 jobs through redevelopment projects, such as the transformation of Willis Tower, which funneled $160 million into labor for construction and tradespeople, as well as community, restaurant and retail partnerships.
Preserving local culture and creating effective workspaces: In parallel with its YouthBuild USA partnership, EQ's social impact initiative includes investing resources in local culture and creating effective workspaces. Local art and community events are incorporated into the experience of every EQ property with the goal of creating and supporting jobs in the creative community; the company invested more than $3.5 million in local artists in 2020, while also creating more than $79 million in local economic value through tourism. These investments double in their impact by also serving as sustainable tourist destinations and local venues where customers socialize.
In addition to its strong commitment to workforce development and preservation, EQ follows formal processes and procedures in sustainability and governance to further build and provide economic value in local communities, including:
Regenerating urban space: EQ is making quantifiable changes to the way it invests in and manages its properties in order to advance sustainability-based management and lower operating costs. With more than $2 million invested in environmental capital improvements in 2020, these significant shifts enhance environmental efficiencies and allow EQ to deliver 35 percent estimated energy savings that it passes to both customers and surrounding communities. Additionally, 32 percent of EQ properties are LEED certified, including Willis Tower – the largest LEED Platinum building in the U.S. – and more than 64 percent of the portfolio is Energy Star-certified.
Driving humanity into the workplace: EQ formalized new operating and management processes with a continued focus on listening to diverse voices and inclusive customer engagement. EQ has integrated ESG into its acquisition process, invested in tracking technology that will continue to strengthen the operations and safety of portfolio properties, and implemented reporting systems that sustain ethical management and loss reduction.
"Nurturing talent and growing skills are at the core of our ESG initiatives," added Picard. "Our goal is to give back to our customers, partners and communities – value that comes from job creation and training, supporting local businesses, investing in art, driving tourism - essentially all of the ingredients that help EQ's communities thrive."
For more information on the formal practices of EQ's social responsibility program, view the EQ Impact ESG annual report here, along with the media kit here.
About EQ Office EQ focuses on the experience of its 29 million square feet - how space feels, activates and performs to amplify the human experience. We're proud to work hand-in-hand with more than 1,500 customers of all sizes, from Fortune 100 companies to emerging startups, to bring humanity back to the workplace. Our diverse team of more than 200 professionals is responsible for creating inspired office environments in major cities across the country including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. As a U.S. office portfolio company wholly owned by Blackstone's real estate funds, we have the resources to lead the changes happening in work space. Explore your space for greatness at www.eqoffice.com.
About YouthBuild With love and respect, YouthBuild partners with opportunity youth to build the skill sets and mindsets that lead to lifelong learning, livelihood, and leadership. At nearly 300 YouthBuild programs across the United States and around the world, students reclaim their education, gain job skills, and become leaders in their communities. To date, YouthBuild has partnered with more than 180,000 young people to dedicate over 50 million hours of service benefitting urban, rural, and tribal communities. YouthBuild strives to create a world where all young people are seen for their potential, and power to transform themselves and their communities. YouthBuild USA – the support center for the YouthBuild movement – strengthens YouthBuild programs through technical assistance, leadership development, innovative program enhancements, and advocacy. YouthBuild programs located outside of the United States are supported by YouthBuild USA's international division, YouthBuild International. For more information about the YouthBuild movement, YouthBuild USA, and YouthBuild International, visit YouthBuild.org.