Now, more than ever, landlords are implementing new policies surrounding sustainability and equality to heighten tenant demand and improve property performance. As companies evolve to implement stronger environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into everyday company functions, commercial real estate investment company KBS is also expanding into these areas. Recently, the Newport Beach–based company has expanded into this area, establishing a dedicated Green Team and appointing new ESG manager Apaulo Malloy. Recently, The Registry had the chance to speak with Malloy about the company, its sustainability initiatives and more.
Q: In general, can you tell me more about KBS and its long history in commercial real estate?
A: KBS has been investing in commercial real estate for more than 30 years. The firm’s longevity stems from its proactive approach to acquiring properties in markets that have strong potential for growth and office demand, such as Austin, Dallas and Nashville. Additionally, KBS strives to stay ahead of its competitors by researching amenities and implementing renovations that attract companies looking for the best office space for employees.
Q: How do ESG principles align with KBS’ values?
A: KBS is committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards. This has helped guide our strategy since the company’s inception and will continue to do so well into the future. We strongly value transparency and integrity in all that we do, and these two principles go hand-in-hand with social responsibility and governance. It is part of KBS’ mission to provide sustainable spaces designed with tenant health and wellness in mind. We enjoy working alongside employers to help them best support their employees.
Q: What ESG practices does KBS look for in the communities it invests in?
A: When acquiring assets, we look at the location of each building and tailor amenities and features to meet the needs of our tenants in those areas, such as walkability and access to public transportation.
Q: How does KBS implement ESG practices within its own workplace?
A: We are continuously searching for new and innovative ways to optimize ESG benefits for our employees – which range from social activities like bike building for charitable organizations to giving seeds to employees during Earth Day to planning a beach cleanup day –all of which promote health and wellbeing, green principles and camaraderie among coworkers.
Q: What is your background with the company and how will these experiences help shape future ESG commitments?
A: I am working closely with executives to find and implement strong company policies, including operations, human resources, and security policies that further the company’s ESG goals. In order to develop a cohesive ESG strategy for the company we are conducting a materiality assessment to identify sustainability trends and topics. My background will aid in ensuring that employees are committed and involved in the process.
Q: What commitments has the company already made?
A: In addition to sustainable beehive installations at eight of our properties, KBS also offers a variety of environmentally friendly amenities that are tailored to meet each building’s needs. These features include EV car-charging stations, bike storage for commuters, full-height windows to maximize indoor lighting and reduce energy usage, and state-of-the-art fitness centers, which allow tenants to exercise right in the building instead of having to drive to a gym.
Q: The company recently achieved the UL Verified Healthy Building Mark for Indoor Air. Can you tell me more about the efforts the company took to achieve this status?
A: KBS is pleased that in less than a year the company was able to achieve the UL Healthy Building Mark for Indoor Air for more than 14 million square feet of Class A office space in our portfolio. The verification process consisted of desktop audits, on-site visits (including visual inspections and performance testing) and laboratory analysis to evaluate a range of building space conditions. In order to maintain the UL verification each property must go through additional testing twice a year.
Q: Looking ahead, what sustainability goals does the company have for the future?
A: Among other goals, we are looking into new technologies that can be integrated into our buildings, such as building apps and amenitized open spaces and lobbies that put our tenants’ health and safety first and foremost.
Q: Is there anything else that I have not asked about that you would like to add?
A: I’m proud to be part of the company’s all new Green Team. We have made great strides in a short amount of time, and we are excited to see how much more we can elevate the tenant experience using ESG data collection, management, ongoing performance reporting and by optimizing green building certifications.