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An Investment Managers Plan For Our Planet. With Peter Epping and Kathryn Scheckel

17.10.22

In the seventh episode of Season 10 of the Propcast, host Louisa Dickins is joined by Peter Epping, Global Head of ESG and Kathryn Scheckel, Global Head of Innovation at Hines.

Peter and Kathryn will share how their careers led them to ESG and innovation. The guests discuss Hines’ target to reach net zero by 2040 and the strategy they are going to use to get there. They talk about their key focus to bring down the emissions of their current buildings.

In this episode you will hear about how Hines are going to reduce energy demand in their vast portfolio using both a customer centric approach and a variety of tools and technologies that can help create more positive outcomes for their communities and buildings. You’ll also hear how different countries around the world are leading the charge towards net zero by using innovation in building technology and renewable energy.

 

Resources:

 

Companies Mentioned:

 

Shout Outs:

 

Key Insights From This Episode:  

  • In our view, innovation and ESG cannot operate one without the other – Kathryn
  • If you pick the best expertise from different places around the world you will arrive at a product that is better for everyone – Peter
  • The world is changing quickly so having curiosity and staying open to knowing what you don’t know is crucial – Kathryn
  • We need to solve this collectively to change our systems, the spirit of having realised that and everyone being willing to collaborate is really, in the literal sense, energising – Peter
  • Millennials applying for jobs are going to be much more conscious about the health of the building they’re going to be working in, and whether the business they’re going to be working for is making an impact – Louisa

 

About Our Guests:

Peter Epping:

Peter is Global Head of ESG, responsible for developing and implementing the firm’s ESG strategy in close coordination with the firm’s leadership, as well as its regional and key functional groups.

He previously served as Fund Manager in Hines’ European Investment Management Team. 

He joined the firm in 2001 and until 2006 worked in various development roles with Hines Germany and the Hines European Development Fund. In 2006, he became a portfolio manager in the investment management team and starting 2013, he took on the role of fund manager of the Hines European Core Fund. From 2014 until 2021 he was also responsible for building three separate account portfolios investing across the risk spectrum and asset classes in major European cities.

Epping holds a degree of economics business administration from University of Mannheim as Diplom-Kaufmann and an MBA from Union College in Schenectady.

 

Kathryn Scheckel:

Kathryn leads the Strategic Project Office in delivering firm-wide strategies for complex, multi-stakeholder projects involving internal and external parties, reporting to the Office of the CEO. Additionally, she currently serves as the Interim Head, Office of Innovation, reporting to the Global CIO. In these capacities, Ms. Scheckel oversees the progress and implementation of cross-functional initiatives at Hines that help push the business forward.  

Prior to joining Hines, Ms. Scheckel’s career includes strategic roles at McKinsey & Company in New York, focusing on organisational strategy & commercial real estate; and at Arizona State University serving in a variety of roles including as a senior director in the Office of the President, building & launching novel strategic partnerships, including the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.  

Ms. Scheckel is inspired to connect and foster female talent in commercial real estate. Since joining Hines in 2019, Kathryn has initiated the global relaunch of OneHines Women’s Network, which strengthens and empowers diversity, equity, and inclusion amongst women at Hines.

Ms. Scheckel received her Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biosciences & Biotechnology, Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance, and Masters in Public Policy from Arizona State University. Aside from dividing her time between Houston Headquarters and her home in New York City, Kathryn takes joy in spending time with her family and travelling extensively.

 

About Hines:

Hines is a privately owned global real estate investment firm founded in 1957 with a presence in 285 cities in 28 countries. Hines oversees investment assets under management valued at approximately $90 billion. In addition, Hines provides third-party property-level services to 373 properties totalling 114.2 million square feet. Historically, Hines has developed, redeveloped or acquired approximately 1,530 properties, totalling over 511 million square feet. The firm currently has more than 198 developments underway around the world. With extensive experience in investments across the risk spectrum and all property types, and a foundational commitment to ESG, Hines is one of the largest and most-respected real estate organisations in the world.

 

About Our Host

Louisa Dickins

Louisa is the co-founder of LMRE, which has rapidly become the market leading global PropTech recruitment platform and search consultancy with operations across North America, United Kingdom, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

To promote the industry she is so passionate about, Louisa set up the Global podcast ‘The Propcast’where she hosts and invites guests from the built environment space to join her in conversation about innovation.

 

About LMRE

LMRE is globally recognised for leading the way in Real Estate Tech & Innovation talent management.

From the outset our vision was to become a global provider of the very best strategic talent to the most innovative organisations in PropTech, ConTech, Smart Buildings, ESG, Sustainability and Strategic Consulting.

At LMRE we are fully committed at all times to exceed the expectations of our candidates and clients by providing the very best advice and by unlocking exclusive opportunities across our global network in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

 

Timestamps:

[2:35] Kathryn: How did you become the leader of Hines’ innovation platform?

  • Working at Arizona State University was the foundational underpinning that drove my interest for innovation, unique ecosystems and enterprises that drive different types of solutions.
  • Following this, whilst working at McKinsey I was exposed to the global challenges the built environment faces.
  • I joined Hines’ investment management platform in 2019, at the time they were working to tackle and solve these challenges. From there I started a team with the intention to help cross-functional initiatives within the firm and our overall governance. I am now named our innovation lead in driving forward a reimagined way of approaching innovation.

[4:25] Peter: How did your role in ESG come about?

  • I joined Hines after university, working on development projects around Europe. When the first rules and regulations came up on energy performance in Europe we felt that there was a lot more we could do as a company.
  • We started collecting significant amounts of data and measuring our performance. We wanted to achieve the highest level of efficiency and make our office and residential buildings as healthy as possible for their occupiers. This created a positive feedback loop with our investors that saw that our outcomes were significantly better.
  • Subsequently, I saw a huge opportunity for Hines in ESG given that we were so technically integrated and we had such willingness to innovate. 

[8:30] Kathryn: How closely do yours and Peter’s teams work together?

  • We work extremely closely together, I think ESG and innovation will become even closer in the future. 
  • We also have a close collaboration with our operations and engineering personnel, who are the execution and implementation arm of so many of the different strategies and innovations.

[10:28] Peter: What is Hines’ plan for our planet?

  • The target for us is for operational energy, everything we do around our existing buildings we are looking at setting a target for the embodied carbon, which as a developer is a huge exposure.
  • The target we’re setting for operational emissions in 2040 is without offsets and will be aligned with the science based targets initiative. We’re investing in furthering energy efficiency in our buildings.
  • The key focus for us is that we’re bringing down the actual emissions of our buildings.

[13:54] Kathryn: Are there any technologies that you are looking at investing in or are currently piloting?

  • We’re taking a truly customer centric approach within the innovation platform to solve some of the challenges within ESG.
  • All types of solutions, tools and technologies can help support carbon tracking, carbon mitigation and create more positive outcomes for our communities and buildings. 
  • Hines already has a tremendous playbook and history of innovation, but we are managing processes to think about more obstacles in innovation that may be on the horizon.

[17:53] Peter: What are the major trends you’ve observed across different geographies within innovation, digital transformation and ESG?

  • In the Nordics we have seen great expertise in the area of heat pumps and renewable energy, they have decided much earlier than the rest of the world that they want to stop using fossil fuels. They have a very open mindset to innovation which is extremely refreshing.
  • We have a new development in Manhattan where we are applying the same concepts that people use in Nordic countries and the result is an all electric building which not only will eventually be net-zero but is comfortable for the tenants.
  • If you pick the best expertise from different places around the world you will arrive at a product that is better for everyone. 

[21:23] Kathryn: What trends have refocused you to work on the innovation side at Hines?

  • What we’re seeing across geographies is the concept of flexibility and what our tenants are really demanding, especially in the post COVID world. One particular venture that I can share with you is a software play called Halo. It supports broader flexibility options in the office domain as well as what the tenants are wanting. 
  • We also have a flexible workspace product called the Square which is a hardware that offers more flexible types of office spaces.
  • Another trend we are seeing is the concept of data, the data coming out of our building systems can help solve other pain points for our clients.

 

L– Touch on the main lessons you have learnt throughout your career.

Kathryn: There is no single person in a team. The power and the force of networks and partnerships is crucial.

M – Please give a mention to anyone / product / service.

Peter – My colleagues who are running the European Core Fund at Hines are managing to implement what we want to do across the whole firm in such a consistent and coherent way. I also want to shout out to the leaders in this industry who are being very open and collaborative, this mindset is extremely refreshing.

R – What has been the most  rewarding  aspect of working in the innovation side of real estate?

Kathryn: The evermore converging of our product types, our industry and the built environment.

E – What are you excited about in the future of Proptech?

Peter: I’m excited about seeing how much opportunity there is and how this will work financially, as this will be the biggest catalyst for making this happen. 

 

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