01/30/2013 | By Matthew Bechard
Since 2005, NAREIT's Leader in the Light award program has honored NAREIT member companies which have demonstrated superior and sustained energy use practices and sustainability initiatives. In recent years, NAREIT's involvement in the energy efficiency and sustainability dialogue has progressed beyond just the Leader in the Light award program, with NAREIT serving in an advisory capacity with the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) Survey, an initiative backed by more than 40 of the world's largest institutional real estate investors and investment managers, representing over $3.5 trillion in assets under management (including APG Asset Management, Aviva Investors, Cohen & Steers and PGGM Investments), together with leading academics and industry bodies.
In June 2012, NAREIT's Executive Board, at the recommendation of NAREIT's newly created Sustainability Committee, authorized NAREIT to migrate the Leader in the Light award program into the GRESB platform; beginning with last year's 2012 GRESB Survey.
"Sustainability is a critical issue – one that is becoming increasingly important to our industry and its investors," says NAREIT President and CEO Steven A. Wechsler. "Our inclusion of GRESB judging criteria in the Leader in the Light program reflects NAREIT's recognition of the global importance of this issue."
The 2013 Leader in the Light Working Forum will provide NAREIT corporate members the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the 2013 GRESB Survey, including the supplemental Leader in the Light questions that this year will be embedded directly within the GRESB Survey. Importantly, the 2013 Leader in the Light Working Forum will take place in advance of the April 1, 2013 – June 30, 2013 timeframe during which GRESB/Leader in the Light submissions will be accepted.
In addition to GRESB/Leader in the Light, the 2013 Leader in the Light Working Forum will provide NAREIT Corporate Members the opportunity to discuss the recently announced FTSE NAREIT USGBC U.S. Green Real Estate Index Series, and to hear from Brad Case, NAREIT senior vice president, Research & Industry Information, one of the principal architects of the index. A representative from the USGBC will also be in attendance.
Designed as an interactive, hands-on, collaborative workshop, the 2013 Leader in the Light Working Forum will give NAREIT Corporate Members the opportunity to once again advance the sustainability conversation, and to better understand leading sustainability practices among their peers.
GRESB is an organization dedicated to evaluating the sustainability of real estate companies, including REITs and real estate funds around the world. Its members include more than 40 institutional real estate investors and investment managers, major real estate industry associations and a variety of solution providers. Founded in 2009, GRESB creates its benchmark by administering a survey each year that is focused on environmental and social factors.
The results of the 2012 GRESB Survey show that participation grew by 30 percent compared to 2011, a clear indication that REITs, real estate companies and funds continue to sharpen their focus on sustainability. The 2012 survey data represent input from almost 450 property companies such as REITs and funds, and provides aggregate information for 36,000 properties, which total $1.3 trillion in global assets under management.