Avis Devine, associate professor of real estate finance and sustainability at the Schulich School of Business at Toronto’s York University, was a guest on the latest episode of Nareit’s REIT Report.
Devine discussed new research, sponsored by Nareit, into the sustainability performance of listed REITs and private real estate as well as their approaches toward sustainability commitments and disclosure, and the relationship between sustainability disclosure and performance among REITs.
“Public and private real estate firms make different decisions regarding their sustainability commitments and their disclosure,” Devine said. Using the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) reporting structure, the research shows that historically REITs have outperformed private funds on sustainability performance. However, that gap has been narrowing in recent years.
Devine noted that where REITs outperform private equity, it tends to happen in a variety of subcomponents, such as measures of management, measures of asset level performance, and measures of green building certification activity.
In terms of how that sustainability performance translates into financial performance when comparing listed REITs, firms that do report on their sustainability are outperforming compared to those that do not, Devine said.