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    Corporate Responsibility

    Our Company believes that sustainability, social responsibility and strong corporate governance (collectively, “Corporate Responsibility”) are key contributors to our success. Our approach to Corporate Responsibility matters is all-inclusive, addressing our effect on the environment, our social impact and our relationships with all of our stakeholders, including our shareholders, tenants, employees and vendors.


    Our commitment to the principles of sustainability starts at the top: our Board oversees our sustainability program and initiatives, our management team regularly reports to our Board on that program and our executive officers are evaluated and compensated, in part, on the Company’s efforts with respect to Corporate Responsibility initiatives. Our CEO directly oversees our sustainability activities and performance, and our CEO and General Counsel, along with senior members of our sustainability team, regularly update our Board on sustainability initiatives.


    We have a sustainability team focused on sustainability risks and initiatives, whose team co-managers report directly to our CEO and General Counsel. This team is co-managed by our Senior Vice President of Engineering, Construction and Operations and our Senior Vice President – Legal. The team comprises and leverages a variety of subject matter experts within the Company (e.g., human resources, engineering, information technology, leasing, legal, asset management and finance) as well as a variety of third-party consultants.


    The Company is a member of GRESB, a globally recognized independent organization that provides validated Corporate Responsibility performance data and peer benchmarks of more than 1,500 real estate portfolios worldwide. GRESB is also aligned with many of the standards set forth in the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”). Our annual GRESB assessment rating improved by 8 points to achieve an overall score of 80 in 2023.


    The following summary describes some of our Corporate Responsibility principles and achievements in further detail. For a more thorough description of the Company’s Corporate Responsibility initiatives and goals, please see the link below for the Company’s 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report. This report, which was published following the review and approval of our Board of Trustees, includes a third-party assurance statement and incorporates certain TCFD recommendations related to climate resilience strategy, transition and physical climate risks and climate opportunities.


    Our Corporate Responsibility initiatives and achievements include the following:


    Corporate Governance

    We are committed to a corporate governance approach that promotes transparency as well as alignment with and accountability to our shareholders. We regularly look to improve our corporate governance policies and practices, which include:


    • Majority voting in uncontested trustee elections.
    • Annual trustee elections, with shareholder approval required to stagger the Board.
    • Lead independent trustee with robust duties.
    • 6 of 7 trustees are independent.
    • Regular executive sessions of independent trustees.
    • All members of Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee are independent.
    • All members of Audit Committee are financially literate with two of three being audit committee financial experts under SEC rules.
    • Annual board and committee review and self-evaluations.
    • Code of Business Conduct and Ethics that covers trustees and employees as well as the Company’s relationships with its vendors.
    • Meaningful share ownership guidelines for our trustees (4x annual cash retainer), chief executive officer (6x salary) and other named executive officers (3x salary).
    • Opted out of Maryland business combination and control share acquisition statutes.
    • No shareholder rights plan (commonly known as a “poison pill”).
    • Active shareholder engagement.
    • Shareholders have ability to amend the Company’s bylaws by majority vote.

    Our Board reviews our corporate governance practices and we strive to operate the Company on a foundation of strong corporate governance principles. For further information on our corporate governance structure and policies, please see “Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance” in our latest Annual Report on Form 10-K.


    Environmental

    The Company’s sustainability approach seeks to actively manage environmental impacts and climate-related risks and opportunities. Our environmental and climate strategic planning and initiatives, combined with our targeted capital investments, are aimed at reducing carbon emissions, mitigating risks and potentially realizing climate-related opportunities that benefit our stakeholders.


    Our 2023 accomplishments with respect to environmental initiatives include the following:


    • created a stand-alone 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report, detailing the Company’s sustainability goals, initiatives and achievements (see link below);
    • obtained an Independent Assurance Statement for Scope 2 greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions and consumption data at our portfolio properties for calendar year 2022. This assurance audit was performed to a limited level of assurance and materiality based on the verifier’s professional judgment, using the independent third party’s verification procedure and ISAE 3000 for GHG emissions. A copy of the Independent Assurance Statement is available in the Appendix below and attached to our 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report (see links below);
    • maintained LEED certification for 50% of our portfolio properties;
    • completed a climate-related risk assessment, in line with certain recommendations made by TCFD, with respect to our properties and corporate headquarters; this assessment and other disclosures are available in our 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report (see link below);
    • invested in energy efficiency projects by upgrading older, pneumatic Variable Air Volume (“VAV”) boxes to direct digital control and connecting them to existing Building Automation Systems as part of ongoing tenant improvements at our portfolio properties; and
    • enhanced our portfolio leases by incorporating additional energy conservation, energy consumption data sharing and sustainability-related clauses in new tenant leases as well as lease amendments with existing tenants.

    Social Responsibility

    We believe in a shared commitment to diversity, ethics, integrity and community engagement, which commitment serves as the foundation of our corporate purpose. Diversity of all types brings varying perspectives, encouraging differing viewpoints in order to effectively manage risk and create value.


    We have continued to focus our efforts in the areas of diversity and inclusion (“D&I”), as well as employee health and wellness. Our Chair of the Board, President and CEO David Helfand signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge in 2021 as a signal that we will put D&I into action by creating a culture of involvement, respect and connection, where all employees’ voices are heard. Our goal is to create and sustain an inclusive environment where diversity thrives and employees want to work. Our vision of diversity includes race, gender, age, sexual orientation, physical ability and ethnicity, among others, and celebrating diversity is one of our core values.


    The Company acknowledges that improving D&I in our business will require a long-term, sustained effort. Toward that end, we launched an online weekly microlearning platform focused on diversity, inclusion and leadership development, surveyed vendors regarding the diversity of their team members and enhanced our parental leave policy to provide paid time off for primary and secondary caregivers. We also conducted stakeholder engagement surveys for both our employees and our portfolio tenants.


    In our October 2022 employee survey, we had a 91% overall response rate, with 85% of the participants reporting they are “very happy” to be working at EQC. Additionally, 85% praised EQC’s open and honest two-way communication and 80% of the participants indicated that their perspective and opinions are heard and valued. Overall, the survey provided meaningful feedback and an opportunity to discuss and address employee concerns. These surveys form an important part of our ongoing focus on engagement and overall employee experience.


    Our commitment to community brings active engagement, both as individuals and in our corporate capacity. Over the years, we have been actively involved with and supported local organizations and community outreach programs, including the Greater Chicago Food Depository and other Chicago-based, grass-roots organizations, by coordinating group events and encouraging employees to dedicate time volunteering to make positive impacts in their communities. Further details of community engagement are available in our 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report (see link below).


    We seek to maintain the highest standards of integrity and ethics. We have implemented a set of rules that governs our conduct and can be found in our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which covers our employees and trustees and applies to the Company’s relationships with its vendors. This Code remains a cornerstone in fostering a respectful and ethical work experience at the Company, setting forth our anti-bribery policy, our standards with respect to compliance with the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar governance-related matters.


    For further information on our Company’s efforts with respect to Corporate Responsibility, please see the 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report link below.

    Appendix

    2023 Corporate Responsibility Report


    CY2023 Independent Assurance Statement