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07/26/2023 | by Diane Rusignola

John Forester, VP of energy and sustainability at The RMR Group, participated in a video interview at Nareit’s REITworks: 2023 Conference in Las Vegas on June 28-29.

Forester said that the two drivers pushing REITs to innovate their sustainability practices today are emissions reductions and connecting with employees and communities.

“The social aspects of E, S, and G [have] really come into the forefront with some folks,” he said. “It’s a feel-good message and it’s creating results in local communities.”

Forester added that The RMR Group examines the emissions, green leases, and flood data from the properties that it manages on a quarterly basis and integrates it into the company’s accounting and financial functions to ultimately help with easier reporting.

Turning to REITs that are preparing to get third-party assurance for sustainability disclosures, which will likely be required by the SEC climate risk disclosure rule, Forester said “get started early.”

“Getting the teams together, making the case that it’s not just a sustainability function [and] that there are other individuals in the organization that understand the assurance process…that’s a good start,” he said.