Nils Kok, founder and executive director of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2015 Leader in the Light Working Forum in Reston, Va.
GRESB is an industry-driven organization that assesses the sustainability performance of real estate portfolios around the globe. Kok noted that during the past 18 months, he has observed an increasing interest in “green bonds” from fixed-income investors. The proceeds from these bonds are used to finance sustainability initiatives.
“REITs are at the forefront of issuing green bonds,” Kok said. “What it’s going to lead to is more capital flowing into the real estate sector because investors in those green bonds are investors who might otherwise not invest in real estate.”
Kok also discussed last year’s merger between GRESB and the Green Buildings Certification Institute, an independent, non-profit organization.
“We believe they can help us scale up our benchmark and our global growth,” Kok said. “They have really good information on assets; we have really good information on REIT portfolios. Merging these two is going to lead to powerful tools that are going to further benefit investors in REITs.”
Looking ahead to 2015, Kok noted that GRESB will be further expanding and improving its validation process “to really make sure that the information we collect on REITs can be used by institutional real estate and REIT investors to integrate into their investment decisions.”