In the dynamic world of real estate, creating measurable Social Value is both an impactful business lever, and a key tool for creating thriving communities.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), a prominent, multi-national real estate organisation, stands out as a true champion of the Social Value movement. It recognises the significance of engaging with the community, and continually does so in order to create tangible benefits that improve the lives of real people.
To quantify and continually amplify its Social Value programme, URW works with Social Value Portal and reports its impact with the Social Value TOM System™. Here, we delve into Westfield’s Social Value work and the role Social Value Portal has played in facilitating its efforts.
How URW drives Social Value through community engagement
Connecting with the local community is a top priority for URW. It enables the business to support those in need, and provide key services. One of the company’s chosen methods for building this connection is volunteering. For example, URW Community Day enables all employees to dedicate at least one workday per year to assisting a charity or not-for-profit organisation.
Here are a few of the other impactful initiatives URW staff have been involved in:
- The 2021 London Marathon, raising £5,140 for the Jack Tizard School, which supports students with special educational needs.
- Creating hygiene and winter care kits for 140 residents of homeless charity Caritas Anchor House in Newham.
- The ‘Westfield to Westfield’ walk from Westfield London to Westfield Stratford City, raising £21,411 for the Spread a Smile charity.
- The first ever virtual SleepOut at Home to help LandAid’s mission to end youth homelessness.
As these activities demonstrate, URW has deep roots in local communities, something the company discusses in depth in its ‘How we Thrive’ brochure. The organisation’s next step, however, was tracking the Social Value it is delivering and how to further increase its impact.
RESVI: Tracking URW’s Social Value at the asset level
Understanding the Social Value being generated both across the organisation and at the individual asset level was strategically very important to URW.
To gain this essential knowledge, the business used Social Value Portal’s Real Estate Social Value Index (RESVI), a comprehensive framework designed to measure and analyse the Social Value produced at in-use real estate assets. It encompasses 67 different Social Value initiatives, spanning asset management, property management, supply chain, and occupier operations, which users can map their activities against. This enables the user to capture data on the Social Value created through different initiatives.
First, the RESVI diagnostic gathers input from all stakeholders at a site, generating insights into the Social Value being delivered and enabling visualisation of key Social Value delivery themes. The subsequent grading stage assesses the depth and effectiveness of Social Value initiatives, accounting for activities like hiring from underserved communities, taking actions to reduce crime in the local area, and many others, against the TOM System.
What did URW’s sites deliver?
In collaboration with Social Value Portal, URW used RESVI to track Social Value delivered across two of its key assets: Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City. The results showcased a significant increase in Social Value delivery at both sites – read on for the details:
In 2022, Westfield London delivered a remarkable £12,936,856 in Social Value – a notable increase from £11,482,779 in 2021.
The top contributor to this success in the supply chain was cleaning services provider Grosvenor Services, at £10,204,754. Meanwhile, the top Social Value Theme for Westfield London was ‘Jobs’, amounting to £11,440,332.
RESVI even enabled URW to verify that Westfield London generated £6.87 of Social Value per square foot, and £0.76 per £1 of supplier contract value, in 2022.
Across the year, Westfield London also contributed:
- 271 annual salaries to local residents
- 47 weeks of internships and apprenticeships
- £223,524 worth of space to local community and charity groups
- A 9% increase in full-time annual salaries for local employees from 2021
- Mental health support for nearly 300 people
- Over 50 hours of volunteering by supply chain partners
- Over 3,000 miles of travel completed with electric vehicles, bringing the miles saved to 54,000
Westfield Stratford City
Like Westfield London, Westfield Stratford City displayed significant year-on-year growth. In total, the site delivered £9,772,434 in Social Value in 2022, up from £7,252,009 in 2021.
Within Westfield Stratford City’s supply chain, the top contributor was facilities management company OCS, which contributed £3,404,388. ‘Jobs’ was again the dominant Social Value theme, here amounting to £6,129,057.
Across 2022, the Westfield Stratford City site delivered:
- 183 annual salaries paid to local residents
- 196 weeks of internships and apprenticeships
- £584,996 worth of space for local community and charity groups
- A 34% increase in full-time annual salaries for local employees
- Mental health support for 355 people
- Over 136 hours of volunteering by URW and supply chain partners
- Over 1,500 miles of travel completed with electric vehicles
On the achievements at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, Ross Hurman, Strategic Growth Director at Social Value Portal, commented:
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s Social Value journey is an exciting demonstration of the huge potential to be grasped in the real estate sector. We are immensely proud to have helped drive impressive year-on-year growth in Social Value delivery at both sites. I have no doubt this will inspire and motivate others within the industry to take their own initiatives to the next level.
Amplifying Social Value: A strategic priority for forward thinking businesses
URW exemplifies the spirit of continuous improvement which is central to any successful Social Value journey. The organisation continues to work closely with the team at Social Value Portal to further enhance the Social Value it delivers across its portfolio of sites.
Alyson Hodkinson, Head of Sustainability UK at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, emphasises URW’s commitment to community, sustainability, and Social Value, as well as the importance of credible Social Value reporting to their approach:
Like many businesses, we’re on a journey to ensure we give back to the communities around us and to safeguard the future of our planet. I am pleased to see that both our centres saw Social Value contributions increase since 2021, especially as over the course of 2022 we announced individual net zero targets for both Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City. Working with our range of retail, charity, community and environmental partners, Westfield centres are constantly looking to improve how we can continue to make a meaningful contribution and we see transparent Social Value reporting as an essential part of our strategy.
Ready to discover your Social Value potential?
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s partnership with Social Value Portal has empowered them to significantly enhance their Social Value initiatives.
Their dedication to community engagement, job creation, sustainability, and robust reporting underscores their position as a leader in the real estate sector and sets a hugely encouraging precedent.
More and more businesses in real estate and across the wider economy are grasping the massive opportunity that Social Value presents. If you want to start forging your own roadmap, book a complimentary discovery session with one of our experts at a time that suits you.