(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) BOSTON, MA - September 1, 2011 - Leading real estate companies reduced their annual energy consumption by nearly 3 percent in 2010 and are taking steps to integrate environmental management into their daily operations, according to a report issued today by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) Foundation, which analyzes the environmental performance of 340 of the world’s largest real estate companies and funds.
Companies ranked in the report manage real estate assets worth nearly U.S. $1 trillion and represent approximately 35 percent of the global real estate market. The companies responded to a survey issued by the GRESB Foundation and backed by institutional investors worth $1.7 trillion that sought disclosure on environmental management practices and data on energy and water consumption.
Participating companies were ranked and sorted into four groups, or quadrants, according to their scores on more than 50 metrics of environmental and social performance. Sixty-five companies achieved the highest rank of “Green Star,” indicating they have both robust corporate environmental policies, and have taken concrete steps to implement those policies. Green Star companies decreased their average energy consumption by nearly 3 percent and their water consumption by 3.8 percent in 2010.
North American Green Stars included Liberty Property and funds managed by Principal Real Estate, USAA and Tishman Speyer. Additionally, LA-based REIT Thomas Properties Group received the highest Green Star Rank of all U.S. companies and Toronto-based Bentall Kennedy Group scored in the top ten of all 340 funds and companies.
“The commercial property sector is beginning to embrace energy efficiency because it’s good for the bottom line. It lowers operating costs and provides higher value for investors,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a member of the GRESB Foundation. “But energy efficiency also creates jobs, reduces emissions, and enhances U.S. energy security. If commercial property managers can maintain a three percent reduction in energy use per year, they will make a significant contribution towards these broader goals.”
The real estate sector is responsible for about 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Studies show that office buildings with LEED certification or EPA’s Energy Star label generate cash flows that are 7 percent higher than conventional buildings and transaction prices that are more than 13 percent higher.
“The commercial real estate sector is poised to move towards full integration of environmental management in daily operations with great opportunities lying ahead,” says Dr. Nils Kok, executive director of the GRESB Foundation. “Our benchmark puts the environmental performance of fund managers in perspective and provides investors with a tool for engaging with the property sector.”
For further information, including list of participating companies and funds and their scores, and to download the report, visit the GRESB Foundation website at www.gresb.com
About the GRESB Foundation:
The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) Foundation, an initiative of some of the world’s largest institutional investors, leading academics and industry bodies, provides a science-based sustainability benchmark for commercial property portfolios; a tool with which institutional investors can start a dialogue on social and environmental issues with their real estate managers. The Teachers Retirement System of Texas, the Paramount Group, the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) and Ceres are active members of the Foundation.
Ceres leads a coalition of investors and public interest groups working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as climate change. Ceres also directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a network of 100 investors with nearly $10 trillion of collective assets focused on the business impacts of climate change.