As part of the green recovery, says Wilson, corporate reporting should transform to produce nonfinancial information on long-term value that is just as credible as financial data. In Avanath’s case, that includes social metrics such as data on tenant turnover and resident engagement.
An important aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected both Avanath and Davis & Shirtliff, is the increase in the number of people working from home. For Avanath, it has meant more water and electricity usage in its properties, so it has been looking at using more solar and other clean electricity solutions.
In East Africa, many people retreated to rural areas during the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the poor availability of energy and water there. This gave Davis & Shirtliff an opportunity to help fix these issues, through normal business, and also through its “Improving Lives” initiative, which supports a wide range of social projects in marginalized communities.
“Two of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals are clean sanitation and water; and affordable and clean energy,” says Mbugua. “So we see ourselves at the heart of the green recovery, as we are driving use of cleaner water; green energy such as solar heating; and sustainable innovations such as solar water pumps.”
“Furthermore, as part of our “Improving Lives” initiative, every department and subsidiary of the company is challenged to develop a community project to improve lives. Most importantly, we need to know the costs and how many people each part of the program impacts. The finance team collects that information and the beneficiaries' testimonies with lots of colorful photos – for example, of the schools we are helping to supply with water and solar energy – for the Improving Lives report.”
“So, some of our reporting is more thematic than quantitative. But the key metric is how many people benefit from each project. In the last half-year, we positively impacted 124,000 people across nine countries.”