ESG and Real Estate Outperformance with Catherine Marshall of RealAlts

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Today we’re talking about environmental, social, and governance (ESG). To help out, we’ve got an expert in this topic: Catherine Marshall. She is a Principal at RealAlts, and has had her finger on the pulse of ESG for over ten years.

Catherine tells us about R4 Advisors, a new ESG management consulting company that she has formed. She explains the impact that investors’ desire for ESG has had on real estate in recent years and provides examples of companies that are outperforming with ESG.

Topics covered include:

  • What being green in real estate meant when Catherine first entered the space.
  • ESG stocks and how they have performed over the past 15 years.
  • Examples of each pillar of ESG.
  • Long-time efforts that have unknowingly been part of ESG.
  • Ambiguity and confusion that exists in real estate.
  • Examples of investment organizations that demand ESG in their portfolios.
  • The virtuous circle of reporting ESG metrics.
  • The absolute number-one way to outperform.
  • Studies that have caused investors to pay more attention to ESG.
  • Examples of organizations with solid ESG policies.
  • Launching the brand-new collaborative platform R4 Advisors.
  • Using the GRESB score and “what gets measured gets managed.”
  • Green finance and loans.
  • Performance versus satisfying requirements.

More about our guest…

Ms. Marshall co-founded R4 to bring specialized global investment management expertise to real estate and real asset ESG consulting.  R4 is a natural evolution in her 12-year consulting history as Principal Consultant at RealAlts, a real assets investment consulting firm whose work includes ESG and TCFD reporting, new fund development, and investment strategy in Real Estate, Infrastructure, Agriculture, and Private Debt.  She has an equally extensive background in hands-on ESG work as a builder, industry association leader, and sustainability expert.

Prior to founding RealAlts, Catherine had extensive investment management experience as Director of Research and Strategy, Real Estate at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB); Senior Vice President and Global Strategist at LaSalle Investment Management; Associate Portfolio Manager at Genus Capital Management; and Assistant Portfolio Manager, Real Estate, at the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI).  She has also worked at Aon Investment Consulting as Associate Partner, Global Real Estate.

Ms. Marshall was one of the first investment professionals in the world to attain the Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR) certification in 2020.  This demanding program in TCFD reporting, Green Finance and other emerging topics is offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals. She is the ESG columnist on the Expert Panel of the Canadian Investment Review, and the former Executive Member and Treasurer of the Canada Green Building Council Toronto Chapter and has been a member of sustainability advisory groups.

In addition to the SCR, she holds the CFA designation, has an undergraduate degree in Economics and Urban Studies from Queen’s University, and a Master’s in Economics and Finance from Simon Fraser University.

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