For the eighth consecutive year, the Australia and New Zealand’s real estate market has been ranked the world’s number one for sustainability, in the internationally recognised 2018 GRESB real estate results.
GRESB is recognised as the global benchmark for environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of real assets, defining and measuring standards for sustainability performance. In 2018, GRESB scored and benchmarked the ESG performance of 73 real estate funds, companies and developers in Australia and New Zealand on behalf of 75 institutional investors.
Australia and New Zealand achieved an average GRESB score of 76 this year in comparison to last year’s score of 73. The global average was given a score of 68 this year, an increase from 65 in last year’s report.
All the Australian and New Zealand property companies/funds that reported to GRESB over the period indicated that they have a policy in place to addresses social issues, including diversity and equal opportunity, forced labour, safety, and worker rights. Further to this, 85 per cent of participants measure and monitor the impact of their operations on communities, with the aims to reduce negative and maximise positive social and environmental outcomes.
GRESB found close to 60 per cent of the region’s property companies and funds promote tenant health and wellbeing via their buildings and services, in comparison to just 24 per cent globally.
Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) CEO Romilly Madew said Australia/New Zealand’s momentous achievement in recording its eighth consecutive number one global ranking illustrated an ever-increasing understanding that sustainability was central to business reputation and reward.
“Voluntary, independently assessed green building certification programs like our Green Star ratings are supporting and driving market transformation here and around the world,” Ms Madew said, “they are vital standards in helping investors understand and measure the metrics across the full spectrum of environmental, social and economic sustainability measures, increasingly influencing the value of buildings.”
“GRESB is vital in driving the move towards a more sustainable built environment, allowing companies to understand where they stand regionally and globally, setting benchmarks for them to aspire to,” she said, “its provision of standardised and reliable data helps guide investor decision-making and promotes best practice, ensuring the market strives to meet the highest possible sustainability standards.”
GRESB’s Head of Asia Pacific Ruben Langbroek said the region is responding decisively to new sustainability challenges facing the sector. Notably, it was found that more real estate companies and funds in Australia and New Zealand have set internal targets for net zero carbon emissions than in other regions.
“The new data paints a picture of a region not only further raising the bar on sustainability performance, but also paving a clear path for others to follow,” Mr Langbroek said, “industry stakeholder collaboration and ambitious target setting are driving the region’s leadership.”
Every year, GRESB also recognises a list of Sector Leaders, being the real estate companies and funds that are taking the lead in terms of ESG performance.
2018 GRESB Sector Leaders from Australia and NZ:
Industrial – Listed: Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust
Diversified – Office/Retail – Listed: Stockland
Developer – Non-listed: Lendlease One International Towers Sydney Trust, Lendlease
Global and Regional Sector Leaders:
Retail – Non-listed: Australian Prime Property Fund Retail, Lendlease
Office – Non-listed: Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial, Lendlease
Regional Sector Leaders:
Industrial – Non-listed: Goodman Australia Industrial Partnership (GAIP), Goodman Group
Diversified – Office/Retail – Non-listed: Dexus Wholesale Property Fund, Dexus
A detailed summary of the 2018 GRESB report can be found here.