In its inaugural sustainability report on Wednesday, Redfin shared its efforts to improve housing access, equity and sustainability alongside corporate diversity and inclusion.

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Seattle-based brokerage Redfin released its first-ever corporate sustainability report, according to an announcement on Thursday. The 29-page report outlines Redfin’s guiding principles regarding housing equality and affordability, housing sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and company governance.

Glenn Kelman

“While this is Redfin’s first report on our environmental, social and governance commitments, we’ve always known that any company built to last has to contribute to a better world,” Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said in a letter at the top of the report. “Redfin’s main contribution has been the $1.5 billion in commissions we’ve saved our customers.”

“We’ve also guided those customers to make sustainable choices about where to live, and worked to make housing more fair,” he added. “Over the past two years, our employees have contributed more than $1.5 million to Redfin Rise, our fund to make housing more affordable and accessible.”

The report comes nearly a year after a two-year discrimination lawsuit accusing the company of “digital redlining,” whereby Redfin allegedly failed to provide brokerage services for homes that were listed below a certain price point.

However, Redfin told Inman the report isn’t connected to 2022 settlement terms with the National Fair Housing Alliance, which required the brokerage to eliminate minimum home price requirements for its flagship service, increase the racial diversity of its workforce, increase advertising minority communities and require agents and local partner realty firms to attend fair housing training.

“[There’s] no connection. They are unrelated,” a spokesperson said via email while noting that more than 80 percent of major corporations release such reports annually.

In its People and Culture section, Redfin highlighted its employee-led Diversity Advisory Council, company-wide unconscious bias training, and the decision to tie executive compensation to diversity, equity and inclusion-related key performance indicators as evidence of its long-standing commitment to diversity.

“In 2021 we updated our executive pay structure to factor in the achievement of diversity goals — specifically the percentage of management and individual contributor employees in a given Redfin business unit who are persons of color or underrepresented minorities — alongside objectives related to the company’s financial and operational performance,” the report explained. “Our overall executive compensation philosophy is meant to attract and retain the most qualified leaders who embody our values, while rewarding them with the right balance of short-term and long-term incentives for increasing value for our stockholders.”

The report said the company’s DEI efforts resulted in a two-percentage-point annual increase in racial diversity at Redfin, with 14 percent of all employees identifying with a racially marginalized group. The number of senior leaders who identify as Black, Latino, Pacific Islander, or Native American also increased three percent year-over-year to 12 percent.

On the gender side, 62 percent of Redfin employees are women and 54 percent have a managerial role.

“We constantly strive to build a company that reflects the world around us, based on our conviction that pursuing and developing talent of all types is the only way for a business to thrive over the long haul,” Kelman said.

The report went on to highlight an array of additions to Redfin’s website aimed at helping consumers better navigate the homebuying and selling process, such as sharing buyers’ agent commission and down payment assistance data on Redfin listings across the U.S and publishing multi-lingual first-time buyer guides. The report also highlighted Redfin leadership’s decision to remove crime data from its listings, citing the potential to support stereotypes about lower-income and racially diverse neighborhoods.

“Recognizing that the real estate industry has a legacy of discrimination, Redfin aims to be an advocate for fair practices and to expand the reach of its services to underserved and diverse populations,” the report read.

In the sustainable housing section, Redfin cited the importance of providing cutting-edge climate data for all of its listings in an attempt to help consumers understand the impact of wildfires, floods and other natural disasters on their homes and financial futures. The company also lauded its move to provide energy bill estimates on all listings during the first quarter of 2023.

“Whether it’s an in-depth analysis leveraging our proprietary housing market data, or partnering with academics to glean insights on the ways climate change is shaping the society, our goal is to educate stakeholders with insightful, data-driven research,” the report read.

Redfin said its commitment to sustainability extends beyond listing data and reports, with leadership rolling out an electric vehicle reimbursement program for employees who drive more than 10,000 miles annually as part of their job. Redfin reimbursed qualified employees in 2022 $5,000 for new or used fully-electric cars purchased between Sept. 1, 2021 and Aug, 31st, 2022, and will offer the same deal for employees in 2023.

Redfin said it will continue to publish these reports in an effort to maintain a culture of truth-telling and accountability among employees, leaders and shareholders.

“A commitment to ethical business practices is central to Redfin’s culture,” the report concluded. “‘Do the right thing’ is a guiding principle for every task and decision we undertake, and we believe this helps us run a stronger and better business.”

Email Marian McPherson

Glenn Kelman | Redfin
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