‘Spirit of Corporate Social Responsibility’ Guided Essex Property Trust Through Pandemic

Mike Schall, president and CEO of Essex Property Trust (NYSE: ESS), participated in a video interview in conjunction with Nareit’s REITweek: Virtual Investor Conference (held June 2-4).

Schall said that Essex’s annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) report was nearing completion at the beginning of the pandemic, so its disclosure focused on the REIT’s COVID-19 response plan, which included remaining open as an essential business while also maintaining a safe workplace.

“Most of the principles of CSR were already well-ingrained within the Essex culture,” Schall said. “The pandemic posed a number of issues and challenges to us, and the spirit of CSR was on our mind and helped guide us through those challenges.”

Schall added that before the pandemic, Essex had a fully functioning video conferencing system that allowed the REIT to move to a virtual-only format for its 2020 annual meeting of stockholders in May, but that “there’s nothing like face-to-face meetings when it comes to building trust, confidence, and culture.”

Schall also said he believes multifamily properties will continue to perform well post-pandemic.

“Everyone needs housing and proximity to high-quality jobs, and vibrant communities will continue to draw people,” he said.