The Swig Company, a real estate investment firm with a portfolio of more than nine million square feet of commercial property in markets across the United States, has released its first Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report earlier this year. In the report, the company outlines sustainability initiatives for its portfolio as well as goals for strengthening the experience of its tenants and employees.
“Broadly speaking, our goals are to elevate our role in tackling climate change and furthering our commitment to helping the communities around our buildings,” said Kairee Tann, senior vice president, director of innovation and community impact for The Swig Company.
Founded roughly 85 years ago, The Swig Company is a privately owned real estate company with a focus on investing in, developing and managing commercial properties in major U.S. markets. With a large commercial portfolio spanning all of California, Washington, New York and more, the company is planning new ways to enhance its sustainability initiatives.
The report covers 11 properties totaling two million square feet that the company directly manages. These include properties across the company’s California Portfolio. In San Francisco, this includes The Mills Building at 220 Montgomery St., 501 2nd St., 369 Pine St., 633 Folsom St. and 945 Bryant St. In Mountain View, properties include 444 Castro St. and 399 W. El Camino Real. In Los Angeles, properties in the portfolio are 617 W. 7th St., 6300 Wilshire Blvd., 3415 Sepulveda Blvd. and in Pasadena, there is one property at 595 E. Colorado Blvd.
The company is doing a number of things to track sustainability initiatives in its portfolio. According to Tann, the simplest thing that can be done is to report levels of greenhouse gas emissions to create a level of transparency and accountability.
“Reporting to an industry standard, although not required for a privately held company, will put us in the position to be able to comply with likely future governmental requirements as well,” Tann said.
To further these goals, she explained that the company’s asset management and property teams create five- to 10-year capital plans using various ESG principles. Once the capital plans are developed, the innovation team – which heads ESG initiatives – reviews the plans as part of the budget approval process. For new acquisitions, the company also utilizes a checklist to evaluate sustainability measures, such as existing and potential renewable energy use, efficient landscaping, proximity to public transportation and more.
“For major renovations to our existing buildings we prioritize low carbon solutions, such as alternatives to new concrete and steel wherever possible,” Tann said.
While maintaining a strong focus on the sustainability features of its portfolio, the company is also focusing on how ESG goals can provide healthy and safe spaces for tenants. For those who have not returned to the office, the company is offering its h³experiences app, which is designed to connect tenants through the larger community through a series of programs.
Internally, the company also focused on several social and governance goals. The Swig Company has 48 employees with about half working at its headquarters in San Francisco and half at field offices throughout California. One way The Swig Company is attempting to work on these goals is through the rollout in 2023 of a Lifestyle Wellness Health Reimbursement Arrangement program, which pays for mental health and wellness expenses for employees and their dependents.
Looking ahead, the company is currently preparing its next ESG report for 2022. The report, which will be published in April, will be the company’s first report with specific greenhouse gas reduction target numbers.
“Since this will be the first report where we publicize measurable and specific ghg reduction targets, it will definitely influence our practices as a company, as our focus will be on what short and long term actionable steps we can take to improve performance towards these goals. I think the process of establishing targets will also help to hone our approach to where and how to incorporate renewable energy, and establish an attainable timeline for net zero,” Tann said.