Lodging REIT Hersha Sees Link Between Innovation and Higher Margins

Matthew Lobach, director of sustainability at Hersha Hospitality Trust (NYSE: HT), joined Nareit for a video interview at Nareit’s 2018 ESG Forum in Seattle.

Lobach discussed EarthView, Hersha’s sustainability and ESG program. He noted that one tenet of the program is quantitative methodology, which is used to measure financial as well as environmental and community impact.

Another tenet of the program reflects Hersha’s capability to be innovative and entrepreneurial, Lobach explained. “Hersha has some of the highest EBITDA margins in the sector…our innovative mindset helps to grow those margins,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lobach noted that institutional investor BlackRock has directly reached out to CEOs, asking them to focus more on the social aspect of ESG. “This is something we’ve been doing for a long time,” he said.

Lobach also said the biggest reporting challenges include ensuring data gets to stakeholders and balancing how much time is spent on reporting.

Looking ahead, Lobach pointed to continued growth in renewable energy along with a decrease in cost. He also anticipates an increase in data technology, allowing real-time data monitoring of building systems, and an increase in electric vehicles and charging stations.