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By Wesleyan

The Property Team and ESG case studies

3 min
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Wesleyan has a specialist Property Team, responsible for managing a commercial property portfolio that sits within the With Profits Fund. A key element of the team's everyday role is to consider wider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when deciding how best to generate returns for our investors.

Below is a selection of property-related case studies that align with the three pillars underpinning our Sustainable Investing Policy. Those of 'reducing harm', 'having a positive impact' and 'driving change'.

Keeping it 'green' in South Staffordshire

Aligns with the sustainability pillars: Reducing harm. Positive impact. Driving change.

In 2021, we added South Staffordshire Green Park to our property portfolio. The site, close to Wolverhampton, spans 43 acres, and is dedicated to environmentally friendly businesses, including a large solar farm.

Other parts of the site are used for composting. They are currently occupied by Veolia, a well-known waste management business that uses it to help fulfil Wolverhampton City Council’s recycling commitments. The site is also used as agricultural land.

The solar farm area of the park is let to Lightsource BP, a global leader in solar development projects. This means it fully aligns with our sustainable investing approach of reducing harm, having a positive impact, and driving change. There is also potential for future expansion, which would enable more renewable electricity to be produced at the site.

Joe Curlett, Head of Property at Wesleyan, says: "With a core purpose of contributing towards a more sustainable society, South Staffordshire Green Park not only aligns with our sustainable investing values, but also ensures further diversification of our entire property portfolio."

Breathing 'new life' into disused woodland

Aligns with the sustainability pillar: Positive impact.

Occasionally, the opportunity arises to help improve the outside space of our properties. This not only benefit our tenants, but the local community and the environment too.

That’s exactly what we did with a redundant piece of land located at Pynes Copse in Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter, near to a property we own. We worked closely with Exeter City Council, changing the terms of our lease to transform the site into a haven of biodiversity and wildlife.

After securing formal permission from the council, we reached out to Devon Wildlife Trust, a charity that protects all wildlife in the county by working to safeguard its unique natural environment. Through the Wesleyan Foundation, we also contributed to the costs of transforming the site by donating 1,000 trees. The new woodland links to an adjacent nature reserve, helping to boost the biodiversity of the whole area.

Pete Millyard, Property Asset Manager, says: "We always look at our property portfolio through an environmental, social and governance (ESG) lens, and, as a mutual, it’s very much part of our DNA to care. Pynes Copse is a fitting example of where we have been part of something amazing. In this instance, it not only benefits our tenants, but the local community and wildlife too."

Supporting 'Women Acting In Today's Society' (WAITS)

Aligns with the sustainability pillar: Positive impact.

As a mutual, we've been opening our doors to help others for over 180 years. Our Head Office building in central Birmingham is not only home to our employees, but also organisations such as Birmingham & Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, and the Doctors' Clinic Group.

Our latest 'tenant' is Women Acting In Today’s Society (WAITS), a not-for-profit charity that relies on donations and Lottery funding to provide vital support to women suffering domestic abuse. In particular, women from Black and ethnic minority groups. In November 2022, the Property Team provided WAITS with around 3,500 square feet of floorspace. This was on concessionary terms for a full 12-month period and included one-year’s free rent, designated on-site parking and use of Wesleyan’s IT resource.

Read more about the Property Team and what they do in our ESG and property investment Q&A.

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