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Australia and New Zealand’s real estate sectors lead the world in sustainability

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Australia and New Zealand’s real estate sectors lead the world in sustainability, according to the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark’s (GRESB) 2017 report.
The report assessed a record 850 property companies worldwide with real estate funds representing 77,000 assets and over $USD 3.7 trillion in value.
GRESB analysed 66 companies and funds in Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) representing $USD 164 billion in assets under management. This represented a 27% increase in numbers, making the A/NZ region the fastest grow region for GRESB participation.
Companies and funds based in Australia and New Zealand outperformed all other regions for the seventh consecutive year, with an average GRESB Score of 73 out of 100, compared with the global average of 63.
GRESB is an organization that assessed the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of real asset investments. The GRESB score is an overall measure of ESG performance and is measured via a survey which asks companies about things like energy and water usage, waste and carbon output.
“Investor demand for transparency will further enhance how ESG-related risks are managed by Australian and New Zealand property companies and fund managers, empowering them to adopt leading sustainability practices,” said Ruben Langbroek, Head of Asia Pacific at GRESB.
“Looking at the results, the region is already performing at a high standard. We see that 94% of regional companies and funds that reported to GRESB are already disclosing their sustainability performance to stakeholders. There is a strong focus on social and governance aspects; 97% have a policy on diversity and equal opportunities, 94% include sustainability-specific requirements in their lease contracts with tenants, while 89% have a community engagement program in place.”
GRESB is widely recognised as the global ESG benchmark for real estate. The top performing entities in the A/NZ region for each property type for 2017 were as follows:
Property Type                 Entity Name
Private Office:     Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial Lendlease
Listed Office:      Dexus Office Trust
Diversified
Retail/Office:      Dexus Wholesale Property Fund – Dexus Property Group
Industrial:           Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust
Retail:                Vicinity Centres Direct Portfolio
Overall, this year saw the following improvements in global ESG performance:
• Reduced like-for-like energy consumption by 1.1% – equivalent to 79,827 U.S.homes,
• Reduced like-for-like carbon emissions by 2.2% – equivalent to 113,000 passenger cars,
• Reduced like-for-like water consumption by 0.5% – equivalent to 999 Olympic swimming pools, and
• Diverted 52.9% of landfill waste – equivalent to 399,008 truck loads.
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