02/06/2014 | By Sarah Borchersen-Keto
Marti Smith, sustainability program manager at mall REIT General Growth Properties, Inc. (NYSE: GGP), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2014 Leader in the Light Working Forum in San Francisco.
Smith was asked about GGP’s main goal for its sustainability efforts in 2014 and how the success of those efforts will be measured. Smith explained that sustainability is a fairly new initiative for GGP. Efforts at this point are focused on data gathering in the areas of energy, waste and water reduction, she said.
“Because we are new (to sustainability), we are in the process of going through our data and making sure we have it in the correct format,” Smith said. The company is then analyzing the data before reporting on it externally.
“We are excited about having sustainability at the forefront of GGP because I think it will actually help us be more well-rounded as a portfolio. As far as our projects are concerned, we will be really thinking about sustainability as we move forward,” Smith said.
Smith also commented on the response of shareholders to the company’s sustainability report.
“The report has been very well-received. Our board of directors and our shareholders have given us great comments… They are excited that this is something GGP is focused on,” Smith said.
At the same time, shareholders are eager to hear about sustainability “because we really haven’t been saying what we’ve been doing,” according to Smith.
Looking ahead, Smith said GGP is starting to focus more clearly on energy projects.
“Now we’re really defining what our energy use will be and we’re actually starting to implement goals across our portfolio at each of our centers,” Smith noted.
GGP is also excited about its energy operational analytics project, Smith added. The project is currently focused on 40 properties and provides an additional 2,000 data points connected to the process of energy consumption. Smith said the company hopes to extend the project to all of its properties in the next two years.