This case study was published in the 2022 REIT Industry ESG Report, which details the REIT and publicly traded real estate industry's environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance and features 32 case studies showcasing REIT leadership and ESG innovation from a variety of sectors. The report serves as a practical tool for shareholders and stakeholders to assess the scale and impact of the REIT industry's ESG commitments and initiatives. Applicable footnotes and/or citations for this case study are available in the full report.
Protecting Biodiversity Through Conservation Programs and Resident Engagement
The Howard Hughes Corporation is the country’s leading developer of large-scale master planned communities (MPCs) with a national portfolio spanning approximately 118,000 gross acres. The company reinforces its commitment to environmental, social, and governance best practices by actively engaging and educating its residents on environmental issues and promoting sustainable solutions to help protect biodiversity and natural resources in its communities.
“Collaborating with The Howard Hughes Corporation to fund and create teaching gardens in local schools is exactly the kind of partnership we seek to help educate students and is proof positive of work that is supported by forward- thinking companies like The Howard Hughes Corporation.”
-Ciara Byrne, Founder and Co-CEO, Green Our Planet
HHC’s award-winning community of Summerlin in Las Vegas, located adjacent to the Spring Mountain Range and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, helps set the standard for the company’s environmental conservation initiatives.
Water Use Reduction Initiatives: HHC has been proactively managing the community’s water use since 2003, when it became the region’s first community to implement WaterSmart conservation guidelines in partnership with Southern Nevada Water Authority. As HHC works toward its goal of reducing its water use intensity by 20% by 2027 from a 2017 baseline, the company continues to replace non-functional turf throughout the community, saving millions of gallons of water annually, as well as installing water smart irrigation controllers in key areas. The Lawn, a programmable grass area in Downtown Summerlin, was converted to Bermuda grass and will save approximately 1.2 million gallons of water a year.
Drought-Tolerant Landscaping: Summerlin was one of the earliest adopters of desert landscaping in Southern Nevada, helping to change public perception about desert landscaping by demonstrating the beauty and functionality of planting drought-tolerant and native plants while saving millions of gallons of water.
Pollinator Gardens: HHC provides funding to underwrite teaching tools at elementary and middle schools including garden farms and pollinator gardens designed to attract butterflies, insects, and bees, serving as an oasis of native pollinators.
Land Preservation: HHC coordinated two federal land exchanges with the Bureau of Land Management during the early years of Summerlin development to preserve sensitive land, maintain the loop road experience and to expand the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, while also creating an added space for residents to enjoy nature. Natural landscapes and topography are incorporated into drainage areas and arroyos that serve dual use for parks and trails, and revegetation is a common practice for areas impacted by construction.
HHC engages and educates its residents on an ongoing basis through social media and newsletters, aiming to advance these programs and tailor them to each community’s specific needs. Summerlin serves as a case study for environmental stewardship and HHC will continue to use its best practices to inform future developments.
The Howard Hughes Corporation owns, manages, and develops commercial, residential, and mixed-use real estate throughout the country. Its award-winning assets include the largest portfolio of large-scale, mixed-use master planned communities of its kind in the country, as well as operating properties, strategic developments, and other unique assets across nine states from New York to Hawai’i spanning approximately 118,000 gross acres.