Australia’s property market remains the world’s most sustainable, as the 2016 GRESB report reveals an “unbroken streak of global leadership”.
The 2016 GRESB, the leading data provider for environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of real assets, assessed a record 759 real estate companies and funds, representing more than 66,000 assets and AUD $3.7 trillion in gross asset value.
GRESB found that the Australia/New Zealand region extended its leadership, despite increasing competition from other markets around the world.
The average GRESB score of companies and funds in Australia/NZ improved from 70 in 2015 to 74 in 2016. In comparison, the global average was 60.
According to Ruben Langbroek, GRESB’s Head of Asia Pacific, Australia’s leadership reflects a long-term commitment to sustainability and a “pervasive spirit of collaboration and knowledge sharing”.
“Australia’s property industry also regards superior sustainability as a proxy for quality,” Mr Langbroek says.
According to Romilly Madew, Chief Executive Officer of the Green Building Council of Australia, the nation now has more than 1,320 Green Star-rated buildings, and investors are increasingly demanding reliable data on energy efficiency and sustainability to help guide their decision-making.
“Sustainability is intimately connected with risk, reward and reputation – and sustainable buildings are not only more efficient and environmentally-friendly, but are also future-proofed assets,” Ms Madew says.
The data also reveals that companies reporting to GRESB for seven consecutive years outperformed their peers in environmental, social and governance (ESG) by an average of 12 points.
GRESB named four sector leaders for Australia/NZ:
Retail: Lend Lease Sub-Regional Retail Fund – Lendlease
Office – Listed: DEXUS Office Trust
Office – Private: Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial – Lendlease
Diversified – Retail/Office: Stockland
Lendlease was also named ‘global leader’, coming out top of the 759 companies and funds assessed.
“Lendlease remains steadfast in its commitment to sustainability, and is currently delivering Australia’s first carbon neutral precinct at Barangaroo South. With 74 Green Star ratings under its belt – including apartments, offices, libraries and entire communities – Lendlease continues to set a high watermark for sustainability,” Ms Madew says.
“Stockland has achieved more ratings under the Green Star – Communities ratings than any other developer in Australia, has Green Star ratings for its entire retail portfolio and launched Australia’s first green bond.
“And DEXUS Office Trust now has 87 Green Star ratings, and has delivered some of the nation’s most iconic green buildings, such as 1 Bligh Street and 5 Martin Place in Sydney.
“We applaud these three companies – all of them dedicated members of the GBCA – for stellar sustainability leadership,” Ms Madew adds.
GRESB also found that the Australia/NZ region decreased its energy consumption by two per cent over the reporting period. This decrease is the equivalent to the energy required to power 3,037 homes for a year.
The region’s four per cent reduction in carbon emissions equates to saving almost 1.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gases – the same amount generated by almost 286,000 passenger vehicles over an entire year.
“While we can be proud of our achievement, we can’t rest on our laurels. Our challenge is to keep raising the bar as we work towards a zero carbon industry,” Ms Madew concludes.