Case studies

By working to improve health and well-being, we strengthen our communities and drive positive social change. Our property teams look to partner with charitable organizations and engage in programs that create positive measurable impact. Last year, nearly 70% of our office properties hosted at least one community event.

Expanding our Sustainable Building Standards

Integrating climate change and resilience

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face today. For our buildings and our communities, it poses both physical and transitional risks. To help guard against these risks, in 2021, we developed two new Sustainable Building Standards: Climate Change Resilience and GHG Management and Planning.

Climate Change Resilience

To develop the Climate Change Resilience Standard, we used forward-looking, third-party climate risk data to evaluate our global portfolio’s exposure to climate and extreme weather risks. These risks include floods, sea-level rise, extreme windstorms, wildfire, heat stress, water stress, and earthquakes. We also inventoried our entire portfolio for property resilience—the presence of features and practices such as risk awareness, resilience management, emergency management, business continuity, and building attributes that help mitigate climate risks. The resulting Climate Change Resilience Sustainable Building Standard incorporates risk and resilience practices into property operations. It enhances property resilience through a range of initiatives, including education, emergency planning, and resilience assessments and improvements. To support our property teams with education and implementation of this new Standard, we provided company-wide training and a Property Resilience Toolkit. The Toolkit helps teams screen and prioritize resilience improvements based on their climate risk exposure and existing resilience measures and practices.

GHG Management and Planning

Reducing our carbon footprint is critical to the global transition to a low carbon economy and to our long-term success. Our internally-created Carbon Management Working Group developed the GHG Management and Planning Standard to help asset management and property operations teams to create emissions reduction plans. These asset-level plans aim to support meeting our long-term GHG emissions reductions target. Integrating education, opportunity identification, and emissions reduction planning into operations allows our property and asset management teams to reassess the practical and financial implications of reduction pathways. In 2022, we plan to globally roll out expert guidance and proprietary tools to help each asset build their decarbonization plan and budget. 1 The case study/ies shown here are for illustrative purposes only, do not represent all of the investments made, sold, or recommended for client accounts, and should not be considered an indication of the ESG integration, performance, or characteristics of any current or future Manulife Investment Management product or investment strategy. Manulife Investment Management conducts hundreds of ESG engagements each year but does not engage on all issues or with all issuers in our portfolios. We also frequently conduct collaborative engagements in which we do not set the terms of engagement but lend our support in order to achieve a desired outcome. Where we own and operate physical assets, we seek to weave sustainability into our operational strategies and execution.


The case studies shown are a sampling across issues and geographies. Our approach to ESG investing and incorporation of ESG principles into the investment process differs by investment strategy and investment team. It should not be assumed that an investment in the company discussed herein was or will be profitable. Actual investments will vary and there is no guarantee that a particular fund or client account will hold the investments or reflect the characteristics identified herein. Please see our ESG policies for details

From the ground up

Integrating ESG into developments

As a long-term owner, we know it’s critical to manage ESG throughout the lifecycle of our assets. In 2021, we formalized our approach to ESG integration into new developments in recognition that our development pipeline presents one the of the earliest opportunities to manage risk and capitalize on opportunity.

Our approach integrates ESG considerations throughout the entire development process, from early planning and design stages, through to construction and eventual handover of the completed building. Integrating ESG from the start of a new development helps us:

  • Get ahead of increasingly stringent regulations
  • Ensure completed buildings meet tenant and investor expectations
  • Position assets to contribute to ESG goals and performance of our standing portfolio
  • Apply a forward-looking lens to building design and performance so our assets can positively contribute to the broader society

Integrating ESG into developments also compels us to consider the construction sector’s role in the transition to a low-carbon economy and to more fully appreciate the importance that indirect impacts, such as embodied carbon from building materials, can have on the climate.

To enable our team to apply our approach, we have created a suite of proprietary tools. These include design requirements that address minimum energy performance, consideration for net-zero design, embodied carbon assessments and contributions to de-carbonized transportation, biodiversity, and health and well-being. The tools also focus on our development activities, such as working with like-minded development and construction partners, considering the environmental impacts of site selection, ensuring a safe construction site, and gathering and addressing input from local communities. We’re currently gathering market feedback from development partners and other stakeholders so we can continue to fine tune our minimum design requirements.

We’re excited by the positive feedback we’ve received so far from the industry. It’s clear there’s enthusiasm to collaborate on our ambitious low-carbon goals.

Sector leadership

GRESB ranks global real estate portfolio first in peer group

In 2021, we achieved a new milestone: We were recognized by GRESB as a Sector Leader, ranking first in our peer group for our global real estate portfolio.1

GRESB is the global standard for assessing the ESG performance of real estate companies and funds. By scoring and benchmarking a collection of standardized data, GRESB provides investors with transparency on how well companies and funds are managing material ESG issues, such as energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, corporate governance, and employee and tenant satisfaction and well-being.

In 2021, over 1,500 entities participated in the GRESB assessment. This represents nearly 117,000 individual assets with a total value of $5.7 trillion USD2. Sector Leaders are the best performers across the entire GRESB assessment, categorized by sector, region, and nature of ownership.

Our global portfolio covers our direct real estate investments around the world, including all funds and our General Account. GRESB evaluates our management of these assets through formal ESG policies, processes, and programs we have in place. Furthermore, GRESB rates our assets’ actual ESG performance to determine the impact of our efforts and initiatives.

Our 2021 results highlight the strength of our ESG integration practices. Contributing to this top ranking were our portfolio-wide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption, as well as improvements in waste output and diversion.

Manulife Investment Management has participated in GRESB since 2018. The annual assessment is a crucial part of our ESG strategy. It provides on-going transparency to our investors, allows us to better understand our strengths, and helps identify areas where we can continue to improve. We look forward to continued participation in 2022.

1 Based on GRESB results released October 2021 cover the 2020 time period. GRESB Sector Leaders are the best performers by sector, region and nature of ownership from across the GRESB Assessments. The entity with the top score, as well as the entities with a score within 1 point of the top score in a category are recognized as Sector Leaders. Most current data shown. Manulife Investment Management paid a fee to be considered for the ranking.

2 Please see:

Fitwel Viral Response Module Certification

Distinction at the entity level

In 2021, we secured the Fitwel Viral Response Module (VRM) certification with distinction at the entity-level.1 This achievement is part of our commitment to furthering sustainability efforts across our real estate portfolio and the focus on the ongoing health and well-being of our 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.

Receiving entity-level certification signifies Manulife Investment Management’s consistent wellness, design, development, and operation policies across our North American portfolio. These rigorously reviewed policies and procedures for safe and healthy infrastructure will be implemented across our 58.5 million square foot North American real estate portfolio.

In 2021, over 20 properties achieved Fitwel Viral Response approval in North America2 (which signifies that a property has aligned with the specified practices and policies detailed in Manulife Investment Management’s Viral Response Module certification). We’re proud of our achievements and look forward to the continued implementation across our North American real estate portfolio.

1 Certification achieved in 2021, for 2020-2021 efforts, by the Fitwel Viral Response Module for our efforts to ensure our properties are ready for a safe and healthy return to work. Certification is valid for 12 months. Please see

2 Total rolling certifications since 2020, as of December 31, 2021, by the Fitwel Viral Response Module for our efforts to ensure our properties are ready for a safe and healthy return to work. Certification is valid for 12 months. Please see

Requirements for our third-party real estate managers

Ensuring our standards and reporting requirements are upheld in the highest manner.

In 2021, we made the strategic decision to migrate our US real estate platform to third-party property managers to oversee the operation of our buildings.

To ensure our standards and reporting requirements are upheld in the highest manner, we developed a rigorous selection process for third-party property managers which specifically take into account sustainability considerations in accordance with the Manulife Real Estate Sustainable Procurement Guidelines.

Our property management agreements act as a roadmap for implementation of our sustainability practices. We closely oversee third-party property managers and require them to adhere to our proprietary sustainability policies, to provide updates twice per year according to our own Sustainable Building Standards, to provide utility bills on a monthly basis and to provide requested metrics for information on, for example, waste audits and diversion reports, energy audits, refrigerant or diesel consumption, tenant engagement activities, and occupancy counts.

We also provide third-party property managers with the Sustainability in Asset Management Checklist to use in developing annual property reviews, budgets and capital plans. The Checklist does not prescribe specific practices but provides a structured means of addressing sustainability risks and opportunities and ensures sustainability budget items are not overlooked. We’ve also developed an annual third-party property manager scorecard to rate compliance with property management agreements, including a qualitative assessment on delivery against our expectations.

The migration to third-party property managers will help us achieve a significant business objective—to grow our geographical footprint across the United States. Simultaneously, liaising with property managers, who interact with other real estate investment managers, promotes industry collaboration and alignment on best sustainability practices.

Creating community

Montreal office portfolio team goes above and beyond

To say it was challenging for all of us to stay connected in 2020 is an understatement. But that only seems to have inspired our Montreal office portfolio team to devise even more innovative ways to engage their tenants and the local community.

To stay in touch with tenants, the team invented a host of fun, new events, all of which were delivered safely through virtual platforms. One week it was a cooking class, the next, a recipe exchange – the team even organized a holiday decorating contest virtually. And not surprisingly, there were several specially curated events aimed at maintaining tenant health and wellness, including all-important mental health.

Our Montreal team also recognized the importance of supporting vulnerable communities through these difficult times. Throughout the year, they joined forces with local organizations to deliver food baskets filled with honey from their 68 on-site hives and nearly a ton of produce from their rooftop gardens. During the holiday season, as part of our real estate team’s Green Glove initiative, the team coordinated with a local food retailer to purchase prepared meals and groceries that were then delivered to local community organizations.

The team’s initiative, energy and creativity are a testament to their commitment to continuous improvement, no matter what obstacles are thrown in their way.

For all their efforts, we were delighted to honor the team with the Community Engagement Leader Award at our 2020 Real Estate Sustainability Awards. Well done, Montreal.

Advancing health and wellness

COVID-19 reinforces our commitment to healthy buildings

We are a company with roots in the promotion of public health. Ingrained in our business, wellness is an important part of our sustainability vision and one of our five Sustainability Commitments.

Two of our impressive sustainability performers – Manulife Place in Edmonton and The Michelson in California1 – added a wellness “stamp of approval” to their record in 2020 by qualifying for the Fitwel health and wellness certification. Originally developed by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fitwel is the leading global building certification focused on occupant health and well-being, evaluating a wide spectrum of critical features – indoor air quality, fitness amenities, access to green spaces, accessibility and alternative transportation, among others.

The two buildings offer a suite of health and wellness programs and amenities that supported their certification, including fitness centers, nearby hiking and walking trails and strategies to optimize indoor air quality. Ultimately, certification demonstrates how committed our property teams are to ensuring we provide safe and healthy spaces. 

One effect of the COVID-19 pandemic was to remind us of the impact buildings have on health, and to reinforce the need to operate our spaces to help ensure safety for our stakeholders. In response, we developed Manulife Investment Management’s Return to Office program, aligning ourselves with global health authorities and local government regulations. Key to the program is our internal Return to Office Playbook outlining our recommended measures, policies, and procedures to ensure the safe and ongoing return of employees, customers and partners to our spaces. The playbook was reviewed by an expert healthy buildings consulting firm, 9 Foundations Inc., founded by Dr. Joseph Allen, who, along with his team, provided recommendations for aligning our playbook with industry best practices, as well as occupational health and safety fundamentals. Then, specifically for our tenants, we prepared a Tenant Guidebook that provides an overview of the policies and procedures we are implementing across our portfolio.


1 The specific real estate investments identified are not representative of all of the real estate investments purchased, sold or recommended, and are included for illustrative purposes only. It should not be assumed that the investment in the real estate holdings identified were or will be profitable.

Cutting corporate carbon

Two initiatives to reduce GHG emissions in our own occupied space

Our aim is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our portfolio by 80% by 2050.1 Last year, in support of this, we undertook two key initiatives.

Firstly, we conducted a “deep carbon retrofit study” across our corporate real estate buildings (i.e., buildings that we as a business occupy). This study examined the current GHG emissions across these properties in North America and Asia.

With the combined expertise of our own technical staff and that of third-party building engineers, we performed a thorough assessment of building systems. This allowed us to identify retrofits that could deliver relatively speedy carbon reductions and to devise longer-term strategies for more sizable emission cuts. Measures include efficiency projects, switching to cleaner fuels and generating renewable energy on-site.

The study is proving to be an invaluable component of our carbon reduction program, not only painting an accurate picture of our current corporate carbon output, but also providing a clear path forward, detailing effective solutions that can be incorporated into our planning and forecasting.

Reducing carbon also involves managing the space we lease, which means influencing other landlords to green their spaces. In 2020, we also incorporated sustainability into our corporate leased space selection process, enabling us to choose the best-performing properties and open a dialogue with prospective landlords on how we can collaborate to achieve environmental outcomes. We are continuing this momentum in 2021 by updating our green lease guidance so that teams can include these collaboration agreements in their leasing documents.

Together, these two corporate real estate initiatives are boosting our ability to meet our total portfolio greenhouse gas reduction target.


1 Target is an intensity-based reduction of Scope 1 and 2 emissions for the properties that are within our operational control.

A Canadian portfolio milestone

100% green building certified

In 2020, we reached an important milestone: 100% of our Canadian managed funds now boast a green building certification. That’s over 19 million square feet that meet a minimum threshold for sustainability.

This achievement is largely due to our country-wide support for properties with BOMA BEST, Canada’s largest green building certification program, which requires that our properties adhere to 16 sustainability “Best Practices”1 – everything from energy management to green cleaning.

Many of our Canadian properties have been recognized with other green building certifications, among them LEED (overall sustainability performance), Energy Star (energy efficiency), and Fitwel (health and wellness).

Now with over 80% of our global portfolio carrying a green building certification, this year we plan to improve our global certification base by expanding our BOMA BEST efforts into the United States.2

Green building certifications are important to our tenants, and many other stakeholders as well – they’re real evidence that we’re demonstrating best-in-class sustainability management.

1 For more information on BOMA BEST 16 sustainability “Best Practices”, visit:

2 Calculated based on square footage of the gross floor area (GFA) of properties in the global portfolio. Totals from different certification standards do not sum as properties with multiple certifications are only counted once. 

Preparing for change

Physical climate risk and resilience assessment

It is expected that climate change will increase both the severity and frequency of many natural disasters and meteorological hazards – acute events like flooding and storms, as well as chronic conditions like drought and rising temperatures.1

In 2019, we began evaluating physical climate change risks2 to our properties by piloting a “climate value at risk” model. We also contributed to a scenario analysis and guidance report produced as part of our membership in UNEP FI’s real estate TCFD pilot project.

Building on this momentum, in 2020, we conducted our own portfolio-wide risk study. Drawing on third-party sources combining both historical data and forward-looking climate model outputs, we identified seven distinct risks – floods, extreme windstorms, wildfire, sea-level rise, drought, heat stress, and earthquakes – and then produced comprehensive risk exposure profiles out to 2040.

Complementing this detailed understanding of our risk exposure, we also surveyed our entire portfolio for resilience measures – property features and practices that help us prepare for and mitigate these physical climate change risks.

We now have an inventory of standard resilience measures that we are working to implement and track across our portfolio, primarily by adding a new resilience standard to our existing proprietary Sustainable Building Standards.

Assessing both our risks and resilience aligns us with the recommendations of the TCFD, but more importantly, it helps us manage long-term risk – the right strategy for a responsible building owner.

To learn more about our approach to climate change management, see our TCFD report on page 64 of our Manulife Investment Management Sustainable and Responsible Investing report.


1 Source:

2 Physical climate change risks include heat and water stress, extreme precipitation, cyclones or storms, and rising sea levels.

Steve Cruttenden

Director of Technical Services, providing expert guidance

When it comes to building operations, Steve Cruttenden is the expert. Steve has worked for Manulife Investment Management for over 30 years and, as director of technical services, he ensures all our buildings—whether suburban mixed-use or AAA downtown offices—operate as efficiently as possible. Efficient buildings save money for our tenants. For example, two of Steve’s projects saved tenants at 8 Cross Street, Singapore, and 17911 Von Karmen Avenue, California, $250,000 and $41,000, respectively. 

Together with our entire technical services team, Steve is one of the key reasons our buildings operate above industry standard when it comes to energy efficiency. 

One Bay East, Hong Kong

Sustainable Achievement of the Year

Manulife Tower at One Bay East is a Class A office building located in the emerging Kowloon East business district of Hong Kong. Housing Manulife’s Hong Kong corporate offices, the tower is certified LEED Gold and the office space fit out is LEED Platinum certified. 

One Bay East has also won the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Award for Sustainability Achievement of the Year twice, first in 2016 and most recently in 2018. This award recognizes buildings that use innovative technology and teamwork to deliver measurable environmental benefits. 

For One Bay East, this includes initiatives that:

  • Promote healthy occupant working, living, and eating through behavioural change campaigns
  • Achieve energy and cost savings of up to 16% with our Central Chiller Plant Optimisation system
  • Educate employees and other stakeholders through information sessions and guided tours that demonstrate innovative technologies and strong building performance 

Giving back in Ottawa

Habitat for Humanity

Supporting our local communities is part of who we are. We believe that giving back to the places we live and work strengthens our teams and enriches our employees’ lives. We also believe that access to safe and affordable housing is a basic human right, and we're pleased to partner with others who share our values.

Started in 2009, Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Day brings participants of all genders together in a shared mission to help families in need of a decent and affordable place to call home. It promotes spirit, empowerment, solidarity, fun, learning, and pride—all while working alongside future Habitat homeowners to build new affordable housing.

Ten determined women within our Ottawa office saw the importance of this initiative and picked up their hammers to join the effort. In addition to volunteering their time, the team also coordinated the collection of a monetary donation.

It's because of their meaningful contribution that local Ottawa families will have a safe place to call home, and we're proud to see them sharing their humanity.


Urban gardening in downtown Montreal

In 2017, Manulife Investment Management partnered with Alvéole to install honeybee hives at many of our properties across North America. To further support our honeybees and make use of additional space on our rooftops, we extended our partnership to MicroHabitat—a local organization specializing in urban farming. In 2019, five of our downtown Montreal properties installed an urban gardening system on their remaining rooftop space. These gardens consisted of a variety of organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs that were cared for daily and watered by a custom-built irrigation system.

Our seasonal growing efforts were extraordinary: 2,500 plants and 1,500 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables were harvested and donated to local community organizations, including Breakfast for Learning. We also held specialized garden tours and hands-on workshops for our tenants, which promoted the importance of supporting our local communities and food sources.

Given the outstanding success of this program, we'll be examining how this can be expanded across additional buildings in North America with other local partners.

Vancouver's holiday food bank

Partnering for change

During the 2019 holiday season, the property team at the Railyard Mall in Merritt, British Columbia, partnered with the Upper Nicola Band and the Upper Nicola Valley Food Bank to make a positive difference in local communities.

From mid-November to early December, the team provided a vacant unit rent free to the Upper Nicola Band (UNB)—a community of eight First Nation reserves. The UNB used the space to raffle off 15 decorated Christmas trees to support community literacy programs and volunteer firefighters.

For our part, we promoted the UNB's initiative by inviting our tenants and community organizations to visit the space. All in all, the UNB raised a total of $40,000.

Building on this success, we then offered the rent-free space to the Upper Nicola Valley Food Bank. They used it throughout December to assemble over 300 holiday hampers filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, warm clothing, and small gifts for members of the community.

1600 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON

Canada's first LEED v4.1 certification

In January 2019, 1600 Carling Avenue made history as the first building in Canada to become certified under the LEED version 4.1 (v4.1) for Building Operations and Maintenance.

With v4.1, LEED has streamlined certification by focusing on five data-driven performance outcomes: transportation, water, energy, waste, and human experience. The new methodology streamlines the credits and prerequisites, making certification—and recertification—much more straightforward.

Drawing on lessons learned from 1600 Carling, we created an internal LEED v4.1 certification guide and supported teams across Canada to certify another 15 buildings. This included the first Canadian LEED v4.1 Platinum recertification at 55 Metcalfe, also in Ottawa.

Our new LEED program provides better visibility into our buildings’ performance and empowers property teams to collaborate more effectively with tenants. Based on our success with the program, we plan to continue the roll out across Canada and the United States in 2020.

The Michelson, Irvine, CA

California’s leading the charge with their state-of-the-art battery system

Since 2016, The Michelson, a LEED Gold-certified property in Irvine California, has leveraged a state-of-the-art battery system known as Powerpack to save on energy.

Built by Tesla, Powerpack is a fully integrated, AC-connected energy storage system that allows our property management team to reduce peak electricity demand. The system’s batteries are charged during low demand periods when energy rates are cheaper. Then, during peak demand times when costs are higher, the Powerpack draws on the stored energy to power the building. Managing demand in this way reduces our electricity bills by an average of 9% each month, with some months seeing reductions of up to 16%. This battery system not only helps to reduce our operating costs, it also reduces the need for new energy generation capacity.

We're proud to support California’s ambitious emissions reductions target and to be part of the state’s transition to sustainable energy. With results such as this, The Michelson is a model for future operational improvements across our portfolio.

800 Collins, Docklands

Earns WiredScore Gold

Located in the Docklands, one of Melbourne’s most innovative central business district developments, 800 Collins has always been an attractive commercial property. Now that it’s certified Gold by WiredScore, 800 Collins can guarantee its tenants will receive the digital connectivity they require.

WiredScore certification is a commercial real estate rating scheme that empowers landlords to understand, improve, and promote their buildings’ digital infrastructure. This is critical to support tenants who increasingly demand fast, reliable, connectivity to operate their businesses. All over the world, Wired certification pinpoints buildings that demonstrate optimal internet and telecommunications infrastructure.

Among the many innovative features that earned 800 Collins its Gold certification are six fibre providers, advanced cable containment pathways to protect against service disruption, and the physical and digital capacity to accommodate tenant needs and technologies of the future.

Not only that, 800 Collins is a strong energy performer. Multiple sustainable features, including a gas-fired cogeneration plant that produces around 30% of the building’s electricity requirements, has earned the property a NABERS energy rating of 5.0 and a 5-star Green Star v2 Office Design rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

Hats off to the property team, which worked hard to ensure 800 Collins continues to offer a premier commercial real estate experience. 

980 Howe, Vancouver BC

Recognized as "Best in Class" by BOMA

Kudos to our team at 980 Howe! This 16-story, AAA office building in downtown Vancouver was recognized as "Best in Class" in BOMA’s first-ever Net Zero Challenge Awards.

This award recognizes industry-leading buildings that are progressing toward net zero energy and carbon. Net zero means that the total building energy use is minimized and provided by renewable sources.

As part of BOMA’s net zero challenge program pilot, the team at 980 Howe worked with BOMA to showcase climate change mitigation and adaptation. In addition to energy efficient systems, 980 Howe uses free and passive cooling during shoulder seasons and, for additional savings, has occupancy and daylight harvesting sensors. The building is also equipped with an innovative water system that diverts rain water to a 10,000-litre underground cistern that manages storm water and fully supports and sustains landscaping irrigation. 

Manulife Place Dojima, Osaka

Receives "S" rank from Japan's CASBEE assessment

Located in the heart of Osaka’s central business district, Manulife Place Dojima is a cornerstone of our Asian portfolio; it's also a strong sustainability performer—so much so that it achieved “S” rank, the top level in Japan’s CASBEE assessment.

CASBEE, which stands for Comprehensive Assessment System for Built Environment Efficiency, evaluates buildings based on environmental performance, interior comfort, and health and wellness.

All of these criteria played a role in MP Dojima’s "S" rank. Built in 2007, the 83,000-square-foot office building promotes biological diversity and showcases state-of-the-art building systems and an impressive maintenance plan.

In addition to building features, MP Dojima’s top CASBEE rank was also supported by staff initiatives. A great example of this is the "Disaster prevention guidebook," created by building staff and distributed to tenants. The book provides safety preparation and response plans for climate-related disasters prevalent in Japan, including typhoons, floods, and earthquakes. The guidebook folds to the size of a credit card so that tenants can always have it on hand.

MP Dojima also features ground floor retail space, underground parking, and access to business and entertainment amenities as well as multiple commuter rail and subway stations, including Osaka Station, the largest train terminal in western Japan.

Creating a buzz around our buildings

Calgary beehive initiative

Since 2017, Manulife Investment Management has partnered with Alvéole, an urban beekeeping company, to host hives across our Canadian portfolio. Alvéole supplies the hives, bees, and beekeeping expertise, while Manulife Investment Management provides funding and a home on our rooftops.

In 2019, our Calgary team installed 11 beehives on the roofs of five buildings. To create a buzz around the office, the team invited all tenants to “Name the Queen Bee.”

Turns out our tenants are a creative bunch:  We received almost 200 submissions from 86 different tenants. Some of our favourites—Albeeta, Beeo-patra, Bumbalina, and the simple, but effective, Queen B.

Naturally, the winners received products made directly from our busy bees, including honey and lip balm. Each winner was also invited to participate in the honey extraction process—definitely not your typical day at the office!

Needless to say, we’re very excited about our partnership with Alvéole. By hosting hives, we’re doing our part to support biodiversity and boost the health of the ecosystem. We’re also helping bees to flourish in urban centres and educating our tenants on an important environmental issue. No mere trifle when you consider that we depend on our buzzing little friends for 60% to 70% of plant pollination. 



1 Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, 2014.

Celebrating our outstanding green leaders

Real Estate Sustainability Awards

In an effort to thank our Green Champion community and local property teams for their leadership in sustainability, we launched an internal recognition program known as the Real Estate Sustainability Awards.

Our first annual Green Champion Leader Award went to Christina Harricharran in our Toronto head office. Christina’s innovative approach and hard work were instrumental in Manulife earning its first-ever Fitwel certification at 220 Bloor Street E in Toronto. She also helped the Toronto head office complex achieve a LEED Gold certification while also delivering numerous tenant engagement initiatives throughout 2019.

In addition, two property teams were the proud recipients of the Sustainable Building Standards Leader Award. Calgary’s Nikki Sincovich and Allison Gammage won for the industrial asset class, while California’s Chalinee Kember and Nicole Macaulay were recognized in the office category. This award recognizes those properties and teams that are taking proactive measures to reduce their environmental impact and engage with stakeholders. The Michelson in California boasted an impressive Sustainable Building Standards average level of 4.6 (out of 5.0), achieving a perfect score in 9 of our 13 sustainability standards.

Congratulations to all of our 2019 winners! It's with their continuous commitment to deliver on our sustainable objectives that we'll get it done together.

Taking the mound for charity

Our annual charity softball tournament

For the 29th year in a row, Manulife Investment Management real estate employees took to the mound for the annual Manulife charity softball tournament in support of the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society.

Eighteen teams from across Manulife, including our own Toronto Towers real eestate team, made up of employees from our asset management, accounting, and audit services departments, enthusiastically suited up for the tournament. Who wouldn’t welcome the chance to spend a summer day at the diamond?

We're proud of our employees. Not only did they pull off another flawless event, but they raised over $22,000 to support the Humane Society’s mission to promote responsible treatment of animals through education, advocacy, and care.


Adapting companywide standards to regional markets

Working with our managers is critical to ensuring that our sustainability commitments are achieved across our entire portfolio.

In Japan, our real estate team supports our third-party property managers to meet our global Sustainable Building Standards. They also work closely with our Japanese managers to adapt and develop programs that are applicable to the local market.

Together, the teams participated in our sustainability training and implemented key initiatives to meet our Level 1 standards, including developing energy and water management plans and an annual tenant engagement plan.