Australia remains global sustainability leader

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AUSTRALIAN property companies have led the world on environmental, social and governance for the eight year in a row, with Lendlease’s Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial coming out on top, according to the Global ESG Benchmark for real estate assets (GRESB).

Australia and New Zealand achieved an average GRESB Score of 76, up from 73 last year, and outperforming the global average of 68.

Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison said Australian sustainability know-how is world leading and creates value for investors, attracts tenants and lowers carbon emissions.

“Australian companies continue to show leadership on energy efficiency, emissions reduction, inclusion and health and wellness – all increasingly critical ingredients in the global investment marketplace,” he added.

Lendlease’s Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial was ranked number one globally from 903 real estate companies, funds and developers reported to GRESB covering more than 79,000 assets across 64 countries.

This follows number one rankings for APPF Commercial in 2017, 2015 and 2014. Other trailblazers included:

  • Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust was the global sector leader for Industrial – Listed.
  • Stockland was the global sector leader for Diversified – Office/Retail – Listed.
  • In the Developer – Non-Listed category, the top global ranking went to Lendlease One International Towers Sydney Trust.
  • Lendlease’s Australian Prime Property Fund Retail was the Global and Regional Sector Leader for Retail – Non-Listed.
  • Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial was global and regional sector leader for Office – Non-Listed.

Regional sector leaders included:

  • Goodman Australia Industrial Partnership (GAIP) for Industrial – Non-Listed
  • and DexusWholesale Property Fund for Diversified – Office/Retail – Non-Listed.

Lendlease Investment Management Australia managing director Josh McHutchison said, “Globally, we are seeing investors increasingly apply environmental and social performance measures to their investment decisions, not only to be good corporate citizens but as an indicator of delivering long-term risk adjusted returns.

“We believe that buildings have a critical role to play in transitioning cities towards a low carbon economy. Our funds are establishing Net Zero Carbon in operation strategies, including APPF Commercial’s commitment to becoming Net Zero Carbon in operation by 2025.” McHutchison said.

Stockland CEO Mark Steinert said since 2006 the group have halved its carbon intensity and committed to further reductions by 2020.

“We have also invested $30 million in 16.4 MW of solar power being rolled out across 16 retail town centres, and saved over $90 million through energy efficiency innovations. Not only are these initiatives improving the environment but they are also delivering a 10%+ return for the business.”

GRESB scored and benchmarked the ESG performance of 73 real estate funds, companies and developers from Australia and New Zealand on behalf of 75 institutional investors, an increase of more than 10% on the previous year.

The global gross asset value covered by 2018 GRESB Real Estate was USD $3.5 trillion. The value of Australia and New Zealand assets was USD $318 billion (AUD $446 billion).

According to the 2018 results for the region, average like-for-like greenhouse gas emissions for the sector decreased by 4.0%, and year-on-year energy consumption was down almost 2.9%. There is more work to be done to tackle water consumption, which increased year-on-year by just over 1.2% for the region.

Australian Property Journal