Skip to Content
View site list


Pre-Bid Projects

Pre-Bid Projects

Click here to see Canada’s most comprehensive listing of projects in conceptual and planning stages


Climate and Construction: Vancouver developer-builder sets a high bar for ESG reporting

John Bleasby
Climate and Construction: Vancouver developer-builder sets a high bar for ESG reporting

From 2024 onward, eligible banks, insurance companies and federally regulated financial institutions in Canada must provide ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) disclosures on their climate-related risks. Canadian listed companies will also need to comply with other ESG-related provisions such as gender diversity disclosure related to board composition.

Much has been written about the need for the construction industry to get on-board with ESG reporting. Although ESG reporting for private Canadian corporations is currently only voluntary, companies at various levels of the construction pyramid must be prepared.

However, talking about ESG reporting is one thing. Putting together action plans and producing reports is something else.

A Vancouver-based project developer shows what the end result could look like.

Privately-owned Townline Housing Solutions is one of the first out of the gate. Their 2023 ESG Report is an impressive, 69-page publication detailing all current ESG measures being undertaken within the company.

Townline is a vertically-integrated developer-builder with approximately 250 employees both at head office and on jobsites. It has built nearly 6,000 residential units since 1990, both affordable and market-focussed, totalling about six million square feet. Over 1.6 million square feet of commercial and office space has also been completed during that time. The company currently has over two dozen projects at various stages of development.

Brett Sagert, Townline’s ESG and sustainability specialist, told the Daily Commercial News a dedicated sustainability department was set up a little over a year ago with the aim of getting ahead of the ESG reporting curve.

“This is something that most companies will have to do eventually anyway, so it’s better to get a handle on this sooner rather than later,” he said. “We don’t want to be surprised when our clients and partners start asking for this information.”

He also explained Townline as a company has always taken positive action for the community and the environment, but hasn’t always talked about it.

“We saw this as an opportunity to let both our employees and the public know that this is what we do, and this is what you get when working with Townline.”

In 2023, Townline Housing Solutions completed the Meare affordable housing project for young adults in Victoria, B.C., in partnership with BC Housing.
TOWNLINE HOUSING SOLUTIONS – In 2023, Townline Housing Solutions completed the Meare affordable housing project for young adults in Victoria, B.C., in partnership with BC Housing.

Looking at the report, two things are clear. First, the company did a great amount of internal investigation in order to come up with the wealth of data presented. Second, there were clearly professional guiding hands that helped put the information together in an attractive and engaging manner.

“Our ESG journey has been going on for about two-and-a-half, almost three years now,” explained Sagert. “We had assistance from PwC during that first year to help build out an overall strategy and an outline for what we wanted to do. We had conversations about how to build out a materiality matrix and to understand what our core topics were, and then really focused those.”

For the company’s first-ever ESG report, Townline chose to examine its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions under the “E” portion. Those emissions are easier to understand and the ones over which it has most control.

The figures and comparative statistics are specific and well-explained in both table and graphic form. For example, Townline was able to compile and compare waste quantities from the companies hired to remove and transport excess materials to various sorting and recycling facilities.

“In the future, we’ll begin to look at potentially going into Scope 3 emissions, including conversations with our supply chain about how they actually bring materials to our sites, and examining how our employees travel to our sites,” Sagert said.

The report is also very comprehensive concerning social and governance aspects of their operations. Again, comparative benchmarks for matters such as workplace safety are clearly explained and illustrated.

Sagert explained this first report will serve as a basis for future improvements in all company activities.

“We’re going to start looking at where we can improve certain aspects and areas on which we really want to hone-in more.”

John Bleasby is a Coldwater, Ont.-based freelance writer. Send comments and Climate and Construction column ideas to

Recent Comments

Your comment will appear after review by the site.

You might also like