According to the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark’s (GRESB) 2017 GRESB Real Estate Assessment, Australia and New Zealand’s real estate sector are leading the world in sustainability performance.
GRESB is the global standard for environmental, social and governance (ESG) benchmarking and reporting for listed property companies, private property funds, developers and investors that invest directly in real estate. The Assessment evaluates performance against a number of sustainability aspects: management, policy and disclosure, risks and opportunities, performance indicators, monitoring and EMS, stakeholder engagement, new constructions and renovations, and building certifications.
This year, 66 companies and funds in Australia and New Zealand – representing US$164-billion in assets under management – reported on their ESG performance.
For the seventh year in a row, companies and funds based in Australia and New Zealand outperformed all other regions. In 2017, the region achieved an average GRESB score of 73, compared with a global average of 63.
“Looking at the results, [Australia and New Zealand] is already performing at a high standard. We see that 94 [percent] of regional companies and funds that reported to GRESB are already disclosing their sustainability performance to stakeholders,” says Ruben Langbroek, head of Asia Pacific at GRESB.
“There is a strong focus on social and governance aspects; 97 [percent] have a policy on diversity and equal opportunities, 94 [percent] include sustainability-specific requirements in their lease contracts with tenants, while 89 [percent] have a community engagement program in place.”
“The vast majority has taken actions to improve energy and water efficiency of their buildings, while reducing waste streams. However, there is still room for further improvement in reducing the environmental footprint of the sector. Increased commitment from Australia policymakers is equally important, as it provides a clear incentive to advance to a net-zero carbon built environment.”
ON A GLOBAL SCALE
Globally, a record 850 property companies and real estate funds completed the 2017 Assessment, representing 77,000 assets and over US$3.7-trillion in value.
In 2017, the sector:
- Reduced like-for-like energy consumption by 1.1 percent – equivalent to 79,827 U.S. homes
- Reduced like-for-like carbon emissions by 2.2 percent – equivalent to 113,000 passenger cars
- Reduced like-for-like water consumption by 0.5 percent – equivalent to 999 Olympic swimming pools
- Diverted 52.9 percent of landfill waste – equivalent to 399,008 truckloads