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Using Life Sciences Investment to Enhance the Community

Life Science
  • 3 Jul 2023
  • by
  • Phil Lamere
  • Portfolio Manager, Life Science
ESG has dominated headlines in recent years, and while many are familiar with what the acronym stands for, the “S,” or social aspect of sustainable investing has been a less prominent part of the conversation.

In 2020, Lendlease announced an ambitious social value target, to create $250 million of social value by 2025. Our social value target reflects our ambition to make a positive impact on people’s lives by improving their quality of life, supporting health and wellbeing, providing economic opportunities, and building resilient and thriving communities. To achieve this target, we are partnering with Social Impax and Think Impact, social impact consultants who are helping Lendlease apply a rigorous methodology to measure and report on social value. This methodology helps to quantify the social benefit in monetary terms using the Principles of Social Return on Investment (SROI). Lendlease’s social value target is intended to spur investment, development and construction that prioritizes delivering social value in communities from acquisition, planning, construction and into the long-term operation of the property.

At FORUM, our 350,000-square-foot lab/office facility under construction in Boston’s Allston-Brighton neighborhood, Lendlease and our partner Ivanhoé Cambridge have teamed up with Cambridge-based MassBioEd to help create new employment pathways into the fast-growing sector. The initiative, called the Life Sciences Career Hub, will be free of charge to participants and utilize state-of-the-art facilities like FORUM to host informational talks, networking events and career counseling sessions. This allows individuals without advanced degrees to pursue careers that might otherwise be inaccessible to them and to spread the economic benefit of Boston’s life science industry. For potential tenants MassBioEd’s mission helps create a sustainable life sciences workforce in the region.  

Because we hold many of our properties for the long term, we view ourselves as members of the communities and have a vested interest in supporting those communities and the people who live in them, work in them, and visit them. Boston Landing, where FORUM is located, is truly a one-of-a-kind mixed-use neighborhood with a blend of residential, office, retail, music and even athletic uses, as the area is home to practice facilities for the Celtics and Bruins, as well as a track and fitness complex. We designed our building with this in mind by consciously including an outdoor plaza that connects to the building’s lobby, creating a public space where building occupants, visitors and neighbors can spend time in a lounge area and café. Our hope is current residents embrace our addition to the neighborhood and that our future tenants benefit from the existing neighborhood and add even more vibrancy to the area as they come and go from the lab.

In picking our buildings systems and equipment we were focused on the building’s carbon impact, because one of the best ways to improve social well-being is to improve environmental outcomes. With that in mind we have designed FORUM targeting LEED Platinum, a 90% reduction in fossil fuel use and have committed that the property will be net zero operational carbon upon completion. This is in keeping with Mission Zero, Lendlease’s industry-leading commitment to achieve absolute zero carbon across scopes 1, 2, and 3 globally by 2040.

We recognize that positive social outcomes correlate with positive financial outcomes. This has guided us in the partnerships we have formed and how we have designed our project. Through our separate $500 million life science joint venture with Ivanhoé Cambridge, we aim to grow a portfolio of state-of-the-art labs, offices and manufacturing spaces in high-growth clusters across the U.S. Each property in this portfolio will offer unique opportunities to bring about improved social outcomes, and I’m very excited to see the lasting changes we can generate.

Life Science