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At Vornado, Drive for Sustainability Comes from the Top

03/20/2013 | By Allen Kenney

Sukanya Paciorek, vice president of corporate sustainability with Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2013 Leader in the Light Working Forum in La Quinta, Calif.
Vornado won a 2012 Leader in the Light Award. Paciorek discussed some of the hallmarks of the company’s sustainability program.

“First and foremost, we have support from the very top. I think that makes a big difference,” she said. “The second piece is that that inherently instills a culture in the company that people are really committed to these issues. We have wide team of people in the company who, even if it’s not their primary day job, it’s part of what they do day in and day out. I think we’ve done a good job of integrating [sustainability] into the culture of the company.”

Paciorek also discussed strategies for integrating sustainability into organizational culture.

“As a company, part of it is assessing what sustainability means. At Vornado, we manage and operate buildings. A class-A asset should be a sustainable asset,” Paciorek said. “We should be running efficient operations. Our infrastructure should be efficient. Our people should know how to run it efficiently. It’s a combination of making sure there’s enough capital in the buildings that can keep the infrastructure up-to-date, but then also training our employees to understand how they can make a difference in terms of the day-to-day operations of the building.”

Paciorek expounded on measuring sustainability, too.

“We track energy usage, water usage and recycling rates throughout our portfolio,” she said. “The greatest successes we’ve seen over the last few years have really come from a reduction in energy consumption, a reduction in water and improvements in recycling rates in our portfolio. Those are the types of things that we want to make sure that the culture really supports, but also that we’re recognizing year over year and making sure that those improvements are highlighted.”

Paciorek said Vornado Realty generally receives “very positive” responses to its sustainability program from investors.

“More and more over the last few years, sustainability issues have been part of that conversation.”

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