Program recognizes outstanding achievements in ESG programs within real estate investment managers
In recognition of its exceptional commitment to environmentally sustainable practices and diversity and inclusion efforts that drive measurable results, MDH Partners has earned the Emerging Manager ESG Award, part of Pension Real Estate Association’s (PREA) inaugural Real Estate Investment ESG Awards.
Recognizing that the construction and operation of buildings is the source of 40% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, MDH Partners is dedicated to developing greener buildings with a reduced carbon footprint. It is among the first industrial developers to adopt CarbonCure-based concrete, a technology that introduces post-industrial carbon dioxide into concrete, yielding a low carbon concrete that provides, on average, a 4-6% reduction to the Global Warming Potential. MDH Partners also employs a number of other green technologies, from the installation of LED lighting on motion sensors to the use of grey water recycling for landscaping. The firm’s extensive use of skylights and clerestory windows in its new developments also increases natural light in its industrial facilities, reducing the need for warehouse lighting, while providing better working conditions for tenant employees. MDH Partners is also a member of the Carbon Leadership Forum as a Silver Sponsor.
“Over the last several decades, the world of institutional capital has recognized that investor responsibilities go far beyond those of a financial nature. Investors and their investments also have societal impacts, and we have embraced this view, since ESG principles lie at the very heart of the mission and DNA of our firm,” said Jeff Small, CEO of MDH Partners. “We focus our ESG efforts with the intention of becoming a higher performing organization in which our employees feel more engaged, creative and enthusiastic. Ultimately, we hope to leave the world around us a better place than we inherited.”
In the past 12 months, MDH Partners has already begun transforming the built environment through the use of CarbonCure-based concrete. It has broken ground on three bulk warehouse buildings in Nashville and Charlotte using the material, with plans to utilize CarbonCure’s technology for future developments, as well. The firm also began tracking the number of reflective roofs in its portfolio, with the goal of converting all roofs to be reflective in the coming years. This year, MDH Partners acquired its first LEED Certified building in Kansas City. The facility earned a LEED Silver ranking.
“Reducing embodied carbon, which includes the CO2 emitted from the manufacturing of building materials, is an essential component of an industrial builder’s commitment to sustainability,” said Christie Gamble, Senior Director of Sustainability at CarbonCure Technologies. “MDH is among the first industrial builders to collaborate with us to incorporate an embodied carbon strategy into its ESG program. As a result of these efforts, as well as the efforts of our concrete producer partners Irving Materials Inc. in Tennessee and Thomas Concrete in North Carolina, MDH has reduced over 800,000 pounds of embodied carbon.”
In addition to its environmental efforts, MDH Partners has dramatically improved diversity at the firm, with its most recent hires being 80% diverse. To further its focus on building a high-achieving organization with energized and innovative employees, the firm recently introduced unlimited vacation days, vacation on national voting days and a $500-per-employee donation to a nonprofit of an employee’s choosing. MDH Partners has also joined the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing, and simultaneously expanded its policies and procedures to include a Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct, whistleblower policy, expense reimbursement, and political contribution policies.
“We recognize that the industrial real estate sector has been slower than other industries to take meaningful steps forward in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. We value diversity, not because it’s what investors expect of us, but because diversity makes us a stronger organization,” Small continued. “The past year has illustrated the need for a more sustainable and equitable future, and we remain committed to challenging ourselves to find new solutions for our industry.”
Winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from outside PREA with expertise in ESG in real estate. With 59 submissions to the program in its first year, nominees were considered across four categories: Open-End Fund, Closed-End Fund, ESG Momentum Award and Emerging Manager. To be eligible for the Emerging Manager Award, firms must be a member of PREA; manage real estate investments for outside capital; have $2 billion or less of institutional capital under management; have three or fewer funds targeted at institutional capital throughout the firm’s history; and have no single fund throughout the firm’s history with more than $1 billion in net assets under management. MDH Partners is the only industrial-focused investor recognized this year across all categories.
To view MDH Partners’ full ESG statement and policy, please visit mdhpartners.com/esg.
About MDH Partners
MDH Partners is an Atlanta-based real estate investment company managing its discretionary funds targeting industrial real estate across the United States on behalf of its institutional investors. Founded in 2005 as the successor to a fifty-year-old local real estate development company, MDH Partners has led and/or participated in over $4 billion (75 million square feet) of acquisitions, developments, and asset management as an advisor and investor. For more information, visit www.mdhpartners.com
About Pension Real Estate Association
Founded in 1979, the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) is a non-profit trade association for the global institutional real estate investment industry. PREA currently lists over 700 corporate member firms across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Members include public and corporate pension funds, endowments, foundations, Taft-Hartley funds, insurance companies, investment advisory firms, REITs, developers, real estate operating companies and industry service providers.