Goldman Sachs Swarms to Real Estate Sustainability With Beehive Program
Goldman Sachs (GS) Asset Management is buzzing with excitement about the benefits of delivering beehives to its real estate assets.
Alvéole, an organization that brings bees to buildings to help businesses improve engagement and sustainability goals, is partnering for the first time with the institutional real estate investor at more than 30 Goldman Sachs locations in major markets with eyes on future expansion as a standard offering. The initial launch at Goldman Sachs buildings in the New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Denver regions coincided with National Honeybee Day on Aug. 21.
Joseph Sumberg, a managing director in real estate within Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said the idea for this initiative was sparked through the firm’s sustainable growth strategy in environmental, social, governance (ESG) principles. Goldman Sachs, which is in the midst of a $750 billion commitment to sustainable finance, identified ecosystem services and biodiversity maintenance as one of nine investment themes critical for sustainably in 2019.
“Goldman Sachs views sustainability through a broad lens, and the real estate investing business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management seeks to find opportunities to incorporate ESG efforts into our building operations, where possible,” Sumberg said. “At these sites, we strive to leverage our assets to their full potential, including on rooftops, which often have unused portions that are suitable for hives. Partnering with Alvéole allows us to optimize space, while helping the organization expand at a faster rate and increase impact.”
Buildings targeted by Goldman for beekeeping include an office property at 1640 South Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles and a multifamily development at 1 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. The program will offer educational workshops, and Sumberg said he is hopeful that tenants in these properties will be motivated to learn more about the environmental benefits of bees along with the process of beekeeping.
The initiative is expected to produce 1,000 pounds of locally and short-circuit-produced honey from 1.5 million bees as a starting point. Tenants of each location — through online platforms — can track the beehives’ health and productivity over the course of the season, and meet the bees while viewing the honey extraction process.
“Through our turnkey educational program, it’s our goal to make people fall in love with bees, connect them with nature, and build long-lasting sustainability programs with communities in cities around the globe,” Alexandre Mclean, president and CEO of Alvéole, said in a statement. “We are looking forward to a long, meaningful, and mutually productive partnership with Goldman Sachs and continuing to expand our program.”
Montreal-based Alvéole will provide maintenance and hive management in each city where the hives have been installed. Its beekeepers will visit every three weeks throughout the season.
After its initial commitment of launching the urban beekeeping program at 30 locations by the end of the year, Sumberg said Goldman Sachs is poised to offer it to all eligible real estate investments going forward as Alvéole expands its footprint.
“We seek to leverage opportunities to build stronger communities in the neighborhoods in which we own and operate assets,” he said. “Bees provide a natural opportunity to enhance local ecosystems as well as a differentiated tenant amenity.”
– Andrew Coen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org