REITs & Sustainability

NAREIT takes seriously its role in encouraging development and adoption of effective sustainability practices in REIT-based real estate investment, and the annual working forum is just one of the many ways in which NAREIT plays its part.

For example, NAREIT began presenting the Leader in the Light Awards in 2005 to honor member companies that have demonstrated superior and sustained sustainability practices. Beginning in 2012, NAREIT modified its judging criteria to include the results of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) Annual Survey, enabling the companies competing in Leader in the Light to measure their performance against a global benchmark. GRESB’s annual survey measures the environmental performance of property portfolios around the world. The survey is endorsed and closely watched by many of the world's largest institutional investors, representing, in 2014, more than $5.5 trillion in institutional capital under management.

Going forward, NAREIT will not only build on efforts such as the Leader in the Light Working Forum, but seek out partnerships with like-minded organizations such as GRESB and RealFoundations, a participant in this year’s event, and others. Just as it communicates the investment benefits of REITs to the broader public, NAREIT will continue to highlight the REIT industry’s contributions to sustainable real estate ownership and operations.


Study: REITs Raising Investment in Sustainability, Growing Returns

A study of data from NAREIT’s Leader in the Light program found that participating companies increased their total investment in energy efficient projects by roughly 30 percent over their three-year moving average from 2011 to 2013. The study, which was conducted by RealFoundations, also determined that savings in 2014 from sustainability projects nearly doubled the previous three-year moving average. 


  • Learn more about NAREIT's Leader in the Light Award and see the latest winners.

Image courtesy of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.


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