Sukanya Paciorek, senior vice president of corporate sustainability at Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2015 Leader in the Light Working Forum in Reston, Va.
Vornado, which was a 2014 Leader in the Light award winner, focuses on the New York and Washington, D.C., office markets, as well as New York street retail.
Paciorek discussed Vornado’s approach to sustainability and offered suggestions for companies wishing to improve their sustainability profile.
“Our approach from the very beginning has been to walk the walk before we began to talk the talk. We took several years at the front end to think about our priorities, our goals and to look internally on how we wanted to change,” she said.
Paciorek stressed that companies need to focus on what is material to their particular organizations: “What does energy efficiency look like within your organization, and is there a way to build a culture and a deep awareness of those goals?”
Paciorek also addressed the growing awareness of the impact buildings can play on the health of tenants.
“In the office markets of New York and [Washington, D.C.], we see major tenants asking for sustainability on their short list of criteria. Tenants are paying more and more attention to this issue. It’s really now a transactional leasing issue on the front end,” she observed.
Paciorek said new standards are being developed to determine what constitutes a healthy building. “We really see that as the next frontier in terms of what we are offering,” she added.
Turning to the topic of uniform sustainability reporting standards, Paciorek observed that standardization has allowed companies to get a better sense of how they compare with their peers.
“Competition is really good for everyone because we’re all moving in a direction that is good for the environment,” she said.