Webinar: A Look Back to Chart a Path Forward – REIT ESG in 2020 and Beyond
07/22/2020 | by Lizzy Lees

On July 21, more than 300 investors, analysts, and REIT professionals attended Nareit’s webinar, “A Look Back to Chart a Path Forward: REIT ESG in 2020 and Beyond.”

Moderated by Nareit’s SVP of ESG Issues, Fulya Kocak, panelists shared their perspectives on how ESG has evolved in recent years—and the ESG issues their companies are prioritizing now. Panelists included:

  • Laura Craft, Heitman, Senior Vice President, Global Strategy and Investment ESG
  • Carol Samaan, Healthpeak Properties, Inc. (NYSE: PEAK), Vice President – Corporate Counsel and ESG
  • Will Teichman, Kimco Realty (NYSE: KIM), Vice President, Business Operations

When asked about the number one challenge in moving their ESG initiatives forward, Samaan said, “[Healthpeak Properties] adopted some very ambitious, science-based, greenhouse gas emissions targets. One of the challenges is trying to figure out how to make our properties as efficient as possible.”

For Kimco, a retail REIT, the majority of the impacts within its properties are occurring inside tenant spaces that are outside of Kimco’s operational control. “We view this as our biggest opportunity within the portfolio to have a meaningful impact on ESG metrics, but it requires that we find ways to partner with our tenants…it’s a challenge for everyone in the industry,” said Teichman.

“ESG has rapidly transformed in the past two to three years,” added Craft. Climate risk is increasingly being seen as investment risk, and REITs “need to be very much engaged on ESG, and how their programs are advanced and disclosed,” she said.

Nareit provides ESG resources and hosts educational events about ESG issues impacting commercial real estate:

  • REITworks: 2020 Virtual Conference. Nareit's new ESG-focused conference will be held virtually on Sept. 21-22. Attendees will learn about the latest ESG issues impacting real estate, connect virtually with peers and industry experts, and have the opportunity to earn continuing education credits. REITworks is open to all interested professionals, and the topics of focus at REITworks affect many different roles within the real estate industry. Attendees’ job functions will include human resources, accounting, c-suite, finance, sustainability, investor relations, legal, operations, asset management, and more. Register by Aug. 29 to receive an early bird discount.
  • REIT Industry ESG Report. Nareit's second REIT Industry ESG Report showcases the substantial efforts made by the industry in 2019, before the onset of the pandemic, to build off the baselines established in the inaugural REIT Industry ESG Report. It highlights the REIT industry’s many initiatives tied to environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and good governance. Download the PDF.
  • Nareit's Guide to ESG Reporting Frameworks. In 2019, Nareit released a guide to provide ESG professionals with information on how to navigate through the various ESG reporting frameworks used by investors. Since its publication, more than 750 REIT professionals have downloaded the guide.