There are clear and compelling reasons for companies across corporate America to implement environmental, social, and governance best practices. While the strategic practice of combining those efforts into a cohesive ESG framework is relatively new, companies are making strides to improve the way they compile, track, and report their ESG efforts.
The U.S. REIT industry is committed to building upon its reputation as a good corporate citizen. REITs own more than $3 trillion of gross real estate assets that comprise a significant environmental footprint.
While the REIT industry has demonstrated ESG progress and individual REITs have taken leadership roles, there is still much more that the industry can do regarding its collective ESG practices and performance. Increasingly, companies are looking at their ESG initiatives more holistically and beginning to quantify and report publicly on efforts related to social and governance in the same detailed manner many have already begun to do with their environmental initiatives.
As an industry, REITs recognize the tremendous impact they can have on the environment, the economy, and the communities they serve. By ingraining ESG criteria into their operations and fully disclosing those efforts, REITs will continue demonstrating their ongoing commitment to their customers, employees, and investors.
REIT ESG Dashboard
The REIT ESG Dashboard was launched in 2018 during Nareit’s ESG Forum in Seattle, Washington. The dashboard communicates the collective impact and progress of sustainability efforts by U.S. equity REITs. View the dashboard.
The ESG Forum (formerly known as Leader in the Light) is a hands-on collaborative workshop that provides Nareit corporate members the opportunity to advance the sustainability conversation and to better understand leading sustainability practices among their peers.
Leader in the Light Awards
Nareit's annual Leader in the Light Awards honor Nareit member companies that have demonstrated superior and sustained sustainability practices.
The Leader in the Light Awards are presented to REITs in eight property sectors: Diversified; Global, (non-U.S.-based companies); Health Care; Industrial; Lodging/Resorts; Office; Residential; and Retail.
JumpStart Initiative (ESG Education and Tools)
Nareit’s JumpStart program was initiated at the 2017 Leader in the Light Working Forum. The goal of this real estate sustainability/ESG education initiative is to provide guidance to Nareit corporate member companies that are either just starting a sustainability program or looking to further develop their existing program. This initiative aims to:
- Simplify the understanding of sustainability/ESG planning, implementation and reporting by Nareit member REITs and real estate companies by providing how-to guides, videos, templates and case studies.
- Facilitate mentorship from experienced REIT/real estate sustainability leaders.
- Build efficiencies with respect to the time, effort and resources needed by Nareit member REITs and real estate companies that are either just starting a sustainability program or looking to further develop their existing program.
Diversity and Inclusion
Nareit has created the Dividends Through Diversity Initiative to promote the recruitment, inclusion and advancement of women and other diverse groups in REITs and the broader commercial real estate industry. This Initiative seeks to achieve this mission through:
- Expanding knowledge about diversity in REITs and the commercial real estate industry
- Providing education and information to supplement career development of women
- Building a community of men and women in the REIT and commercial real estate industry
- Sponsoring attendance at Nareit’s events
Real Estate Sustainability Council (RESC)
Nareit’s Real Estate Sustainability Council (RESC) was created in October 2016 to help guide Nareit's ESG efforts and priorities.
The RESC currently consists of more than 30 actively participating Nareit corporate member sustainability thought leaders—representing all REIT sectors—with a mission to help shape and lead the REIT industry as it continues to address a variety of complex ESG issues. One to two employees of Nareit corporate members are welcome to represent their organizations as RESC members. Most RESC members hold sustainability titles, however, operations, public relations and investment relations professionals are also eligible to become RESC members.
The RESC typically meets three times a year, in January, July and November during Nareit’s ESG Forum. The topics that are discussed during the RESC meetings are based on ESG priorities in the REIT industry, such as investor interest in ESG issues, ESG reporting, the latest sustainability trends and technologies, as well as ESG best practices utilized by Nareit members.