How well is the commercial real estate sector embedding sustainability?

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Elisabeth Filkins
EMEA Upstream Sustainability Services

On the 1st of September the results of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) were launched. With participation up 72% from 2009, it now represents US $928bn of assets. The benchmark is a fund-level sustainability survey for commercial property portfolios which provides institutional investors with a means to begin a dialogue with their real estate mangers over implementation of ESG factors.

Along with a Global Top 10, the benchmark provides a summary of top performers within Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia. We were delighted that both Sonae Sierra and Hammerson, two clients we provide strategic sustainability advice and support, were listed in the Global Top 10.

Key findings:

–  Just as in 2009, Australian property companies have the highest GRESB scores and continue to lead the way.
–  Sustainability performance is rated on a scale from Green Starters to Green Stars. This year the number of Green Stars has increased significantly (as a percentage of the total sample), up from 10% in 2009 to 19% in 2011. This trend implies stronger sustainability performance in the commercial real estate sector.
–  Listed property companies scored higher overall than private funds.
–  Scores across all respondents were on average higher in the ‘management and policy’ area than in ‘implementation and measurement’. This gives a strong indication of the nature of the approaches being taken and highlights ‘implementation and measurement’ as a key area for development going forward.

The full report and results are available here.

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