Oxford Properties Group will be honoured as one of 20 leadership award recipients later this month at Greenbuild, the annual conference and expo of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC leadership awards are bestowed to individuals and organizations that have advanced sustainable principles and practices in design, management, operations and community building, while serving as role models and resources for their peers.
“Their actions are an inspiration to us all and demonstrate how our collective efforts can lead to meaningful change that moves us closer to our vision of buildings, communities and cities that regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation,” says USGBC president and chief executive officer, Mahesh Ramanujam.
Oxford has been recognized for environment, social and governance (ESG) leadership. The real estate arm of OMERS, the pension fund for Ontario’s municipal employees, is both an early participant and investor member in GRESB, the global benchmarking exercise for portfolio-wide ESG performance, and has consistently emerged as a sector leader for diversified office-retail portfolios.
“Oxford was the first in Canada to hire someone with ‘sustainability’ in their job title — Darryl Neate in 2008,” recalls Michael Brooks, chief executive officer of REALPAC. “That early step, together with strong senior management support, has kept Oxford amongst the Canadian and global leaders ever since.”
Darryl Neate, director of sustainability, is still leading the effort, which is now integrated into all aspects of Oxford’s decision-making and dealings with its clients — underpinning a stated mission to “connect people with exceptional places”. It has captured USGBC’s attention and commendation from the ranks of nearly 10,000 member organizations and more than 200,000 professionals who have earned LEED credentials.
“Looking ahead, we will continue to move the industry forward on the sustainability issues that matter most to our customers and communities — low-carbon buildings, renewable energy, wellbeing amenities and healthy materials,” Neate says. “We will continue to set ambitious targets, such as our commitment to reduce our carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2025 and to transparently report back to the public on our progress.”
Oxford Properties is the only Canadian organization to receive the accolade this year. Kevin Hydes, chief executive officer and founder of the engineering and sustainability consulting firm, Integral Group, and a co-founder of the Canada Green Building Council, will also receive honours for his individual role at the forefront of sustainability. Integral Group now has offices throughout North America, Europe and Australia, including Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria in Canada.