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Nearly 40 million Americans invest in REITs

Reporting to Play Larger Role in Sustainability, Executive Says

03/26/2013 | By Carisa Chappell

Joe Lopez, vice president of property management and director of environmental impact with retail REIT Equity One (NYSE: EQY), joined REIT.com for a video interview at REITWise 2013: NAREIT’s Law, Accounting and Finance Conference in La Quinta, Calif.

Equity One is a shopping center developer and owner focused on urban communities. Since 2009 the company has acquired or developed nearly $2 billion in retail assets, concentrated in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and South Florida. As of Dec. 31, 2012, the Equity One consolidated property portfolio comprised 168 properties, with a total market capitalization including debt and equity of $4.3 billion.

Equity One was recognized as a Leader in the Light Award winner in Nov. 2012 in the retail small cap category. Lopez discussed some of the key factors in establishing a well-regarded sustainability program and measuring the company’s results.

“I really think the key for us has been top-down support from the most senior level,” he said.

In terms of measurements and results Lopez said they areare measured through typical operational metrics and are analyzed throughout the year. Additionally, he said the company is involved in a number of community-driven initiatives, showcasing the commitment of Equity One’s employees to sustainability.

Lopez also said results of the company’s sustainability efforts are publicized to the shareholder community through an annual publication that includes the results of its ongoing initiatives. He said that it also helps that Equity One is a part of the GRESB and Leader in the Light programs.

When it comes to one current project that best captures Equity One’s sustainability efforts, Lopez cited a new development at Westbury Plaza in New York. 

“With that site we took a brownfield that was an eyesore to the community and basically transitioned it to a clean, beautiful shopping center that’s really a gem,” he said.

He said that one of the big evolutions in sustainability initiatives of the future will center on reporting methods, as sustainability efforts are more recognized today among investors. 

“They are asking a lot of questions and they want to know what you’re doing and what the results are. So, I think that a lot to people are getting pushed to put together more structuralized reporting.”