19 May 2020
As a European climate entrepreneur, when you think about opening an office in the United States, everyone assumes that you will settle in New York City, I wonder why! When I first decided to open the Longevity office in the US in 2018, I wanted to have an open mind as we identified a suitable base for our future US headquarters. We identified four cities to start with. After a rather intense road show, numerous meetings with local chambers of commerce and a massive gap analysis, we went for Austin, TX because of its stance on the green economy, its lifestyle, its affordability, its connectivity, and its attractiveness to young talent. But more importantly, I thought that if I were going to support the decarbonisation transition in the US, Texas would be a great place to start!
A year later, we opened our US headquarters in the Google Tower on West 2nd Street in Austin, TX (owned by an existing client) where a team of five is delivering our first US projects, supported by our senior delivery team in London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Munich.
Of course, we were hoping the 2020 elections would accelerate much needed shift in climate change politics, but there was a lot of uncertainty as well as political unrest in the aftermath of the elections. The commitment from the administration that followed, aiming to halve carbon emissions by 2030, is a complete game-changer and will accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy and create a vast number of green jobs in the US. Our role is to support all organisations with the implementation of their transitions.
Since we have set the sails of our US ship, we have secured fantastic opportunties with some of the country’s largest real estate investment managers. We are delivering the first BREEAM New Construction project for a data centre in the US, the first BREEAM Outstanding retail property in the US, the first BREEAM In-Use certified tower in Manhattan and in the state of New York, and a portfolio of 9 BREEAM In-Use certifications on behalf of a global investment manager across the the US. Longevity is the global leader for BREEAM In Use, with more than 2,000 assets under certification management representing $150 Bn – so we are extremely well placed to support the industry and that has not gone unnoticed.
On the strategy side, Longevity is developing an environmental, social and governance (ESG) and net zero carbon (NZC) strategy for the largest Austin-based investment manager, which will create a fantastic path to future-proof their assets while deploying renewable energy systems and create additional long-term sustainable value.
We are also delivering NZC audits for a global real estate investment manager across the US and Canada to provide asset managers with the right decision-making tools to future-proof their assets without disrupting their assets’ investment lifecycle.
We are currently recruiting two more experienced engineers and consultants in Austin to support our partners on the ground with the delivery of their ESG and NZC programmes. Please send us the best candidates the country has to offer!
Our US team is still in its infancy, but globally Longevity is one of the largest ESG advisory firms in the real estate sector with a team of nearly 90 people. It feels like a lifetime since I founded the company and was sitting alone in Marble Arch Tower near Hyde Park almost six years ago.
With our unique ability to provide the full spectrum of ESG-related services across the American, European and Asian continents, Longevity has earned its place as a popular choice to strategize and implement global ESG programs on behalf of large institutional investors. Our “glocal” approach means that we have significant global expertise that is adapted to local needs, and in the property industry this is a crucial differentiator when implementing a Net Zero carbon strategy.
Connect with us on LinkedIn and keep an eye out for the numerous upcoming Longevity events and webinars. I hope you will be able to attend them and I very much look forward to meeting all our current and future partners in the coming months.
A big thank you to all our first partners who have trusted us with their projects, we look forward to delivering many more in the future.
Etienne Cadestin, Founder & CEO