GRESB COO Says Global Real Estate Sustainability Efforts on Upward Track

Chris Pyke, COO of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2016 Leader in the Light Working Forum at the Ritz Carlton – Coconut Grove in Miami.

Commenting on the 2015 GRESB Survey, Pyke said he was “impressed and surprised” that the entire real estate industry’s sustainability achievements are on an upward track.

“The entire industry, on a global basis, is in motion. They are doing more, achieving higher levels and that is broad-based and sustained,” he said.

Pyke also said the gap that had existed between U.S. REITs and foreign companies is not as pronounced as it used to be. This year, he observed, U.S. and European scores essentially matched.

Pyke added that some of the leading sustainability markets, such as Canada and Australia, are essentially a “microcosm” of the pressures that are forcing the larger European and U.S. markets upward. Not only do Canada and Australia have a competitive tight-knit real estate community committed to creating a high quality product, but they also face regulatory and investor pressure, he said.

Meanwhile, Pyke stressed the importance of informed, engaged and responsible investment.

“We want investors to want their investment. We believe that environmental, social and governance dimensions are relevant to their decision-making process,” he said. Pyke noted that investors should not be afraid to ask for this information, which companies should always be prepared to supply.

“That is a reasonable endpoint,” he said.