Leader in the Light and GRESB Advance Sustainability in Commercial Real Estate
05/03/2013 | by Mitch Irzinski

NAREIT held its Leader in the Light Working Forum from March 18-19 in La Quinta, Calif. The event was a collaborative working session to discuss the key drivers of sustainability in real estate, share participants’ leading sustainability practices, and identify future events, initiatives and milestones in sustainability.

Several participants shared their thoughts on how programs like LITL and GRESB have helped advance sustainability in commercial real estate.

“They help to establish a benchmark for performance,” said Will Teichman, director of sustainability at Kimco Realty Corporation (NYSE: KIM). “You can’t overstate the value in recognizing and positively incentivizing companies to get in the game and to work to advance sustainability.”

“Being able to see where you fit in with your peers is really valuable,” said Marla Thalheimer, director of sustainability at Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LRY).

“There are a lot of improvements in terms of people being able to say, ‘My competitor is doing that; I should be doing that,’” said Dianne Horton, sustainability manager with Thomas Properties Group (NASDAQ: TPGI).

“At a corporate level, I think it helps us recognize and remind us that it is very important to our investor base,” said Sukanya Paciorek, vice president of corporate sustainability at Vornado Reality Trust (NYSE: VNO).

“I think the great thing about GRESB is it’s actually a great way for investors to realize who is doing good work across the board,” said Sara Neff, director of sustainability programs at Kilroy Realty Corporation (NYSE: KRC).

“Programs like this are really key and crucial to moving these industry standards along,” said Joe Lopez, vice president of property management at Equity One (NYSE: EQY).

“The Leader in the Light Award has been very effective at harnessing a focus for us internally, but I think also externally as well within the REIT industry,” said Aaron Binkley, director of sustainability programs at Prologis (NYSE: PLD).