04/22/2022 | by Sarah Borchersen-Keto
Juno Exterior. Photo courtesy Juno.
Photo courtesy of Juno.

Multifamily REITs Essex Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ESS) and UDR, Inc. (NYSE: UDR) said they are co-lead investors in a new investment fund aimed at supporting the growth and implementation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) solutions for the housing industry, including technologies that improve both the environmental and social outcomes of new developments and existing properties.

Known as RET Ventures ESG Fund, L.P, the fund has reached its initial closing and will target $80 million of investor capital commitments. It will be managed by RET Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on technologies for the multifamily, single-family, and broader real estate asset classes. Essex Property Trust and UDR have each committed $10 million to the fund.

From an environmental standpoint, solutions may include platforms focused on improved building design, reducing energy usage and carbon emissions, efficient waste management, and ESG data collection and reporting. Social areas of focus are expected to include housing affordability, building health and safety, and resident well-being.

Mike Schall, CEO at Essex, said taking a leadership role in the fund “marks an important next step for Essex as we continue to expand on our decades-long commitment to sustainability and investing in technologies that target an environmental benefit.”

Tom Toomey, Chairman and CEO of UDR, said that through investment in the fund, “we aim to leverage the knowledge we’ve accumulated through years of ESG-centric work to accelerate the achievement of sustainable goals across the real estate industry.”

Christopher Yip, partner at RET Ventures, noted that “with a groundswell of support across the sector, there is an opportunity for purpose-driven technology to improve nearly every aspect of the industry—investment, construction, operations and more—and we’re proud to be partnering with Essex and UDR to build toward a more sustainable future.”