September 20, 2021
Manulife Investment Management achieves Fitwel Viral Response Module certification with distinction for North American real estate portfolio
Boston and Toronto — Manulife Investment Management today announced that it has secured Fitwel Viral Response Module (VRM) certification with distinction at the entity-level, a further commitment to sustainability efforts across its real estate portfolio and ongoing focus on the health and wellbeing of its tenants, employees, and partners.
Fitwel is the world’s leading certification system committed to “Building Health for All®.” Originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. General Services Administration, Fitwel is a rigorous, third-party healthy building certification that sets the industry standard for evidence-based strategies to promote positive health outcomes for building occupants and communities. Fitwel's VRM was developed in coordination with leading public health experts and real estate companies to effectively address the unique challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious respiratory diseases. The VRM allows building owners, companies, and commercial tenants to demonstrate compliance with evidence-based, cost-effective strategies that mitigate viral transmission and build trust to create healthy and resilient environments for all occupants.
“We're guided by our values and commitment to support the health and wellbeing of employees, customers, and communities,” said Regan Smith, head of real estate sustainability at Manulife Investment Management. “In tackling the challenges associated with COVID-19, we recognize the important role real estate managers can play in providing safer and healthier spaces within our buildings.”
Receiving entity-level certification signifies Manulife Investment Management's consistent wellness, design, development, and operation policies across its North American portfolio. These rigorously reviewed policies and procedures for safe and healthy infrastructure will continue to be implemented across the firm’s 58.5 million square foot North American real estate portfolio.
Two of Manulife Investment Management's signature properties—Manulife Place in Edmonton, Alberta and The Michelson in Irvine, California—have already achieved certification with Fitwel Building scorecards. This certification involves the evaluation of more than 55 evidence-based design and operational strategies that enhance projects by addressing a broad range of health behaviors and risks across seven health impact categories. It encompasses a plethora of features, including indoor air quality, fitness amenities, access to green spaces, accessibility, and alternative transportation, among others.
Joanna Frank, president and CEO of the Center for Active Design, which establishes and maintains the Fitwel standard added, "We are grateful for the commitment from global partners such as Manulife Investment Management for rising to the challenge to further address building occupant health in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Setting a global standard is more necessary now than ever before, and Manulife’s rapid adoption of the Fitwel VRM highlights its leadership in aligning practical policies with evidence-based best practices to promote health.”
Manulife Investment Management develops and manages commercial real estate for thousands of customers around the globe as part of its comprehensive private markets’ capabilities. As of June 30, 2021, the real estate portfolio totals over 62 million square feet of office, industrial, and retail space strategically located in markets across Canada, the United States, and Asia. The group leverages its global platform and local expertise to provide market-leading solutions for its tenants and deliver results for its partners.
About Manulife Investment Management
Manulife Investment Management is the global wealth and asset management segment of Manulife Financial Corporation. We draw on more than a century of financial stewardship and the full resources of our parent company to serve individuals, institutions, and retirement plan members worldwide. Headquartered in Toronto, our leading capabilities in public and private markets are strengthened by an investment footprint that spans 18 geographies. We complement these capabilities by providing access to a network of unaffiliated asset managers from around the world. We’re committed to investing responsibly across our businesses. We develop innovative global frameworks for sustainable investing, collaboratively engage with companies in our securities portfolios, and maintain a high standard of stewardship where we own and operate assets, and we believe in supporting financial well-being through our workplace retirement plans. Today, plan sponsors around the world rely on our retirement plan administration and investment expertise to help their employees plan for, save for, and live a better retirement.
As of June 30, 2021, Manulife Investment Management’s assets under management and administration, including assets managed for Manulife’s other segments, totaled CAD$1.0 trillion (US$834 billion). Not all offerings are available in all jurisdictions. For additional information, please visit manulifeim.com.
Originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and U.S. General Services Administration, Fitwel is the world’s leading certification system committed to building health for all®. Generated by expert analysis of 5,600+ academic research studies, Fitwel is implementing a vision for a healthier future where all buildings and communities are enhanced to strengthen health and well-being. The CDC remains the research and evaluation partner for Fitwel. The Center for Active Design (CfAD), a global not-for-profit organization, maintains the Fitwel standard and conducts objective third-party assessments that lead to certified projects. CfAD’s new business unit, Adai (pronounced “a-DAY”), is charged with expanding Fitwel to the global market, administering the program while providing best-in-class customer service and technical support. To learn more about Fitwel, please visit fitwel.org.