Sustainability Efforts Need Clear Focus, Digital Realty Executive Says

Aaron Binkley, director of sustainability at Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: DLR), 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.

Digital Realty supports more than 1,000 firms across its portfolio of data centers located throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. 

Binkley discussed some of the common mistakes companies can make as they ramp up their sustainability efforts. According to Binkley, companies sometimes run the risk of trying to do too much as they tackle an array of initiatives such as green building certification, energy efficiency programs, governance improvement, and volunteering and social engagement.

“To really be successful, you need to focus and prioritize. That’s not to say that you can’t do all of those things, but they don’t always have to happen simultaneously,” Binkley said.

Binkley also commented on how best to ensure that investors are getting the sustainability information that they need. He stressed the importance of clarity with regard to understanding the exact information investors want and how important it is to their decision-making process.

“We throw the kitchen sink at them,” Binkley said. “If we could get better clarity on what is moving the needle… we can tailor our response to be most efficient and valuable for them,” he added.

Meanwhile, Binkley said Digital Realty’s recent $500 million green bond offering best exemplifies what the company is trying to achieve on the sustainability front. Binkley explained that the offering, which is the first green bond issued by the company, was well-received by both the investment community and internally at Digital Realty. The company is excited by the broad range of sustainability initiatives that qualify for use of the bond’s proceeds, he said.

“That’s really helped to define the road map for us going forward,” Binkley commented.

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