07/14/2022 | by Sarah Borchersen-Keto

Commercial real estate is in a position to take a leading role to advance the sustainability agenda, while regulation is also helping to move the whole industry forward, says Matt Ellis, founder and CEO of Measurabl, a provider of ESG data management solutions.

Speaking on the REIT Report, Ellis said there is a “tremendous leadership opportunity in our sector to really take advantage of the transition to green for the better of everyone—our occupiers and customers, our investors, and certainly ourselves as well. I think that we're in a good position to do it. We just can't slow down. We’ve got to speed up.”

Ellis described Measurabl, launched in 2013, as a “decade-long project to build the tools for measuring, managing, reporting, and ultimately acting on sustainability for the real estate sector.” He noted that there has been “a profound migration of organizations of every size around the world towards more sustainable business models. This is being done in just the span of a few years.”

Overall, the signs within real estate with respect to focusing on ESG issues “are very encouraging in that what investors catalyzed for us, maybe a decade and a half ago or more, regulation now is doing the rest of the job to bring the whole market forward,” Ellis said.

Ellis also discussed his new book, From Green to ESG, How Data-Driven Transparency Changed Real Estate for Good. He noted that ‘green’ is a subjective term, more of a marketing-orientated concept rather than a transactable term. “There's no such thing as a green or not green building. All buildings are on some spectrum from not high performing to incredibly high performing,” he said.

“What green got wrong was this idea that it was one or the other. Instead, it could all be measured. Every loan could be a green loan to some degree, every bond could be a green bond to some degree. And what mattered was our ability to prove that using objective metrics,” Ellis said.