European listed property companies are outperforming their non-listed peers on sustainability reporting with UK-based firms leading the way. The star performers in the latest Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) Survey comprise a relatively large number of small companies including residential specialist The Unite Group and storage firm Big Yellow. Land Securities also features prominently in the category for diversified companies.
On the non-listed front, Lend Lease Investment Management is the winner in the retail segment with its Lend Lease Retail Partnership Private Fund while Climate Change Capital is a green star in the office sector with its Climate Change Property Fund Private Fund. Valad is the top performer in the industrial sector with its European High Income Private Fund.
The results are based on sustainability data gathered from almost 450 property companies and funds around the world, providing aggregate information for 36,000 properties, representing $1.3 trn (€1 trn) in global assets under management. The number of listed European property companies that took part increased by 25% to 40 while the number of private funds rose by a similar percentage to 211. Some 58% % of the European listed property companies now provide a standalone or integrated sustainability report compared to 45% for private funds.
European respondents also perform well in assessing sustainability risks and opportunities with 65% implementing some form of Environment Management System (EMS) and 80% having an energy efficiency programme in place. The combination of these two factors, along with other influences, produced an average reduction in like-for-like energy consumption at portfolio level of almost 7%.
Overall, participation in the 2012 GRESB Survey increased by 30% as compared to 2011. Around 40% of the property companies and funds who took part are still considered ‘Green Starters’, with limited disclosure of sustainability performance towards the investment community. ‘This represents substantial upside potential in reducing operational costs,’ the survey concluded. Portfolio coverage of energy data is also still limited. 52% of respondents have data for less than 10% of their portfolio. Measuring tenant-obtained energy remains a challenge as well, the authors concluded: less than 8% of respondents provide this information.