More than 750 real estate companies and funds worth $2.8trn (€2.49trn) have reduced annual energy consumption of their investments by 2%, according to the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB).
GRESB, which tracks the environmental, social and governance performance of real assets, found that 90% of participating organisations were intergrating carbon management strategies into their investments.
The latest figures, released today, show a 1.2% reduction in energy consumption, a 2% reduction in green-house-gas (GHG) emissions and close to 1% reduction in water use. GRESB also found companies to be putting greater focus on occupant health and well-being.
“The 2016 GRESB data demonstrates that the global real estate sector is working to manage its carbon footprint, build resilience in the face of climate change and respond to more stringent environmental regulations,” said Nils Kok, CEO of GRESB.
“In 2016, 90% of property companies and funds reporting to GRESB are integrating carbon management strategies into their investments. These actions have contributed to a 2% annual decrease in carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking 704,464 passenger cars off the road.”
A record 759 real estate companies and funds participated in the assessment, representing more than 66,000 assets across 63 countries, with a value of $2.8trn.
Entities reporting to GRESB for seven consecutive years outperform their peers by an average of 12 points across all aspects of ESG. As a result, the overall GRESB Score increased by 11% to 60.
It was the second time that real estate debt funds could participate. In 2016, 18 real estate debt funds participated in the GRESB Debt Assessment, an increase of 80% on lsat year.
The average GRESB Debt Score increased by 6% to 48.
“GRESB ESG performance data and trends matter because they show that, on average, property companies and fund managers are acting to improve sustainability performance,” said Jennifer Young, principal at The Townsend Group.
“Leading companies and funds are being rewarded with more efficient and more desirable properties — which may ultimately translate into better financial performance.”
Australian entities outperformed all other regions with an average score of 74, 14 points above the global average.
Office companies and funds outperformed other property types with an average score of 66.