Green Cities Company, Gaedeke Group and Miron Construction among others leveraging Fitwel's viral mitigation strategies to safeguard occupant health and wellness
NEW YORK, Nov. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Fitwel®, the healthy building certification system operated by the Center for Active Design (CfAD), is pleased to announce that leading companies including Manulife Investment Management, JBG SMITH, Boston Properties (BXP), QuadReal, BentallGreenOak (BGO), Green Cities Company, Gaedeke Group and Miron Construction have continued to expand the implementation of the Viral Response Module (VRM), safeguarding the health and wellness of occupants across 111 assets totaling 2,8416,505 square feet in Q3. The applicability of the VRM is demonstrated by the diverse range of properties covered by these certifications, including office, multifamily and retail.
Manulife Investment Management, Miron Construction and Green Cities all certified their entity-level policies this quarter, with Miron progressing to secure approval of its implementation across seven assets and Manulife Investment Management securing approval at four assets. Further, BXP, BGO, JBG SMITH, QuadReal and Gaedeke Group have continued making inroads towards implementing the VRM further across their portfolios since having secured their entity-level certifications, with BXP securing approval for a total of 106 properties; BGO securing approval for a total of 83 assets; JBG SMITH securing approval across 55 total assets; QuadReal securing approval across 24 total assets; and Gaedeke Group approving one asset as of the third quarter.
Regan Smith, Head of Real Estate Sustainability at Manulife Investment Management said, "We are guided by our values and commitment to support the health and wellbeing of employees, customers, and communities. In tackling the challenges associated with virus transmissions, we recognize the important role real estate managers can play in providing safer and healthier spaces within our buildings."
Kim Pexton, VP of Sustainability of JBG SMITH added, "Asset level certification for our commercial office portfolio was a clear next step following our entity level accomplishment. The health and well-being of our tenants is incredibly important to us and this certification provides them with the comfort that our pandemic response protocols and processes are equitability deployed across our buildings. "
The progress made by these companies reflects how forward-thinking enterprises continue to factor health and wellness into their broader ESG strategies. Numerous peer-reviewed studies have shown the direct correlation between focusing on occupant health and strong financial performance. In fact, two studies featured in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that businesses with strong employee health and well-being programs significantly outpaced the S&P 500 Index appreciation.
Joanna Frank, President and CEO of the Center for Active Design, which operates Fitwel, said, "A growing body of evidence is continuing to reinforce the connection between environments that are optimized for health and wellness and the financial performance of the companies that own and operate them. This data is helping to drive sustained demand for the VRM among all types of businesses and geographies, especially as more employees begin to head back to the office. As we look beyond the pandemic, it's clear that people have been conditioned to think differently about the connection between their environments and their health, and we expect these initiatives will continue to play a prominent role in companies' ESG investments moving forward."
Created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the strategies advanced in the VRM were developed with input from a diverse group of public health experts from leading institutions such as Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Queensland University of Technology and prototyped by industry leaders. The module provides turnkey policy solutions that allow companies to seamlessly adopt Fitwel's strategies for a multi-faceted approach to optimize health and wellness throughout their properties.
Unlike other solutions that provide more generalized approaches to viral mitigation, Fitwel's VRM has established specific best practices for companies to follow by setting minimum requirements that are necessary to mitigate viral transmission, while providing turnkey policies to ensure an efficient and consistent approach to guide the industry. The module also creates economies of scale, making it affordable to roll out an effective viral response across entire portfolios.
For more information on the Viral Response module, click here.
About Fitwel and the Center for Active Design
Fitwel is the world's leading certification system committed to building health for all®. Generated by expert analysis of 5,600+ academic research studies, Fitwel is implementing a vision for a healthier future where all buildings and communities are enhanced to strengthen health and well-being. Fitwel was originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and U.S. General Services Administration. The CDC remains the research and evaluation partner for Fitwel. The Center for Active Design, a global not-for-profit organization, was selected as the licensed operator of Fitwel, charged with expanding Fitwel to the global market. To learn more about Fitwel, please visit: www.fitwel.org.
About Manulife Investment Management
Manulife Investment Management is the global wealth and asset management segment of Manulife Financial Corporation. We draw on more than a century of financial stewardship and the full resources of our parent company to serve individuals, institutions, and retirement plan members worldwide. Headquartered in Toronto, our leading capabilities in public and private markets are strengthened by an investment footprint that spans 18 geographies. We complement these capabilities by providing access to a network of unaffiliated asset managers from around the world. We're committed to investing responsibly across our businesses. We develop innovative global frameworks for sustainable investing, collaboratively engage with companies in our securities portfolios, and maintain a high standard of stewardship where we own and operate assets, and we believe in supporting financial well-being through our workplace retirement plans. Today, plan sponsors around the world rely on our retirement plan administration and investment expertise to help their employees plan for, save for, and live a better retirement.
As of June 30, 2021, Manulife Investment Management's assets under management and administration, including assets managed for Manulife's other segments, totaled CAD$1.0 trillion (US$834 billion). Not all offerings are available in all jurisdictions. For additional information, please visit manulifeim.com.
About JBG SMITH
JBG SMITH owns, operates, invests in and develops a dynamic portfolio of mixed-use properties in the high growth and high barrier-to-entry submarkets in and around Washington, DC. Through an intense focus on placemaking, JBG SMITH cultivates vibrant, amenity-rich, walkable neighborhoods throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Over half of JBG SMITH's holdings are in the National Landing submarket in Northern Virginia, where it serves as the exclusive developer for Amazon's new headquarters, and where Virginia Tech's under-construction $1 billion Innovation Campus is located. JBG SMITH's portfolio currently comprises 17.1 million square feet of high-growth office, multifamily and retail assets at share, 98% of which are metro-served. It also maintains a development pipeline encompassing 16.6 million square feet of mixed-use development opportunities. JBG SMITH is committed to the operation and development of green, smart, and healthy buildings and plans to maintain carbon neutral operations annually. For more information on JBG SMITH please visit www.jbgsmith.com.
SOURCE Center for Active Design