[October 13, 2023 – Guelph, Ontario]
Skyline Group of Companies, a Guelph, Ontario-based asset acquisitions, management, development, and investment firm, is setting the standard for sustainability in business.
Skyline was recently featured in acorn online, a digital publication by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce. The article, which addresses why sustainable practices are integral to business growth, highlights multiple examples of Skyline’s investment in sustainability, and the positive outcomes for its customers and stakeholders.
Earlier this year, Skyline was announced as the winner of the Guelph Chamber’s Sustainability award for 2023.
Sustainability is a driving force behind Skyline’s business. It believes—and has proven—that doing good is good for business. Skyline is proud to lead by example and inspire others to take action and prioritize sustainability in their operations.
Read Skyline’s 2023 Sustainability Report to find out more about its sustainability vision, accomplishments, and objectives.
The below article is a copy of the original published in acorn online. Please note that the article is available in English only.
“Sustainability is a must-have in any forward-thinking organization. It denotes a company’s ability to see the bigger, long-term picture and take action on its responsibilities as part of that picture.”
These words from R. Jason Ashdown, Co-Founder and Chief Sustainability Officer at Skyline Group of Companies, illustrate the strength of Skyline’s commitment to community building, environmental stewardship, and ethical governance.
Founded and headquartered in Guelph, Skyline is originally rooted in real estate ownership and management (although it’s also been making waves in Canada’s clean energy sector since 2018). It adopted the phrase “Recognizing our Responsibility” to denote its duty to effect positive change for its stakeholders and the greater community.
To Skyline, sustainability is where policy meets practice – a results-driven effort that sets a precedent for the expectations of the organization and its stakeholders.
By employing sustainable innovations, practices, and initiatives throughout the company, Skyline can create efficiencies that generally flow through to increased value for investors. Over the years, it has found that the efficiencies and cost savings derived from improvements to properties often provide a return as good as or better than purchasing another building—with those efficiencies often providing an environmental benefit as well.
Ashdown emphasized that sustainability should be viewed as an investment that provides multiple benefits.
“Those benefits extend not only to the company, but also its customers, as well as the greater community and environment: a win-win-win situation,” he said.
Skyline has always believed that sustainability must involve buy-in from all its Sustainability Partners—staff, tenants, suppliers, investors, and communities—as well as putting the right infrastructure in place. It created a dedicated Sustainability department headed by Ashdown, as well as a Sustainability Taskforce to ensure that all parts of Skyline are equally heard, engaged, and committed to sustainability. These groups collaborate to strengthen Skyline’s businesses and long-term strategy.
In 2022, the Taskforce undertook a workshop facilitated by SDG Cities to determine which of the 17 UN SDGs Skyline best aligned with (the SDGs, or Sustainable Development Goals, were developed by the United Nations to provide a globally aligned blueprint for sustainable development). The workshop resulted in Skyline aligning with eight SDGs, and the company’s sustainability goals for 2023 were based on these commitments.
Skyline also releases an annual Sustainability Report, setting its standards and benchmarks for sustainability with new initiatives and goals. The report is shared with all partners.
“A strong sustainability plan will set a business apart,” said Ashdown.
“For Skyline, it has helped drive profits, attract the best staff, create alignment with lenders and business partners, and provide investors with opportunities to put their money to work.”
Businesses must be agile, adaptable, and open-minded to change, when that change is good for the business, its customers, its investors, and its communities.
Wherever possible, Skyline chooses to invest in technologies and processes that not only drive value for its investors, but also benefit its tenants, staff, the environment, or the greater community. For example, it invested in an ISO-14001-aligned Environmental Management System (EMS) and software that tracks Skyline’s portfolio-wide consumption data to develop carbon, energy, water, and waste reduction targets and strategies. This investment not only creates efficiencies resulting in greater investor value, but also clear environmental benefits and an initiative Skyline’s tenants and staff can feel good about.
Additionally, earlier this year, Skyline submitted its first Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) application – the product of a cohesive effort to inventory its ESG-related policies, processes, and operations.
“GRESB will score us by a globally recognized benchmark,” said Ashdown.
“Understanding how we measure up will undoubtedly drive our efforts to find efficiencies and better processes to stay on top of our game.”
While financial support and donation is fundamentally important, businesses can get creative when it comes to the type of resources they can leverage to effect positive change. This includes utilizing in-house services, expertise, time, partnerships, and influence to have the greatest possible impact.
“Employers have so much to offer through the many diverse areas of expertise within their organizations,” said Ashdown.
“Non-profit and community organizations often greatly need specialized experience like accounting, HR, legal, marketing, IT – even business planning. We encourage our people to roll up their sleeves, get involved, and find ways to help the organizations that make our communities better and stronger.”
When a company contributes to building a resilient community, it is helping to contribute to prosperity, a healthy workforce, a stronger economy, a cleaner environment, and reduced demand on social services. Skyline aims to lead by example and set the benchmark for companies to take action and prioritize sustainability in lockstep with profitability —because doing good is simply good for business.
“The results are proven, and the movement of acting responsibly will only continue to gain momentum,” said Ashdown.
“Sustainability is a must-have to be at the front of the pack in any industry. People are watching, and people care.”
To learn more about Skyline’s sustainability initiatives and to find out how it is driving positive change, read its 2023 Sustainability Report.
Skyline Group of Companies (“Skyline”) is a fully integrated asset acquisition, management, development, and investment entity.
It is comprised of companies that provide services in real estate management and development, as well as clean energy management and development.
Skyline currently manages more than $8.23 billion across its real estate and clean energy platforms.
With more than 1,000 employees across Canada, Skyline works to provide safe, clean, and comfortable places for tenants to call home, great places to do business, sustainable solutions for a greener future, and an engaging experience for its investors.
View Skyline’s 20th Anniversary celebration video to see how Skyline is grounded in real estate, powered by people, and growing for the future.
For more information about Skyline Group of Companies, please visit SkylineGroupOfCompanies.ca.