European REITs Showing Increased Focus on Social and Governance Reporting

Hassan Sabir, finance and sustainability director at EPRA, participated in a video interview at Nareit’s ESG Forum 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Sabir commented on some of the key issues facing European REITs in terms of ESG reporting. He noted that REITs face issues from both the regulation and the market side.

On the market side, the benefit of ESG reporting is that it provides transparency and comparability across the sector. The downside, however, is that there are too many standards and REITs struggle to identify which are relevant, Sabir said.

Investor interest in ESG reporting is clearly evident, according to Sabir, although many investors don’t have the depth to understand all of the value that’s being reported by the REITs. He stressed the need for further investor education on the matter.

Meanwhile, Sabir said the social and governance elements of ESG reporting are becoming more prominent. In 2017, EPRA supplemented its environmental key performance indicators (KPIs) with social and governance KPIs. REITs have responded positively, he said, and many began reporting social and governance KPIs in the 2018 reporting cycle. “We hope the success continues.”