Publications

- March 1, 2020: Vol. 14, Number 3

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Green means growth: Investors and managers have learnt to love sustainability benchmarks

by Bennett Voyles

The commercial real estate industry has known for years that it needs to reduce its environmental impact. Given that, according to the United Nations, buildings generate 36 percent of global energy use and 39 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions annually, the sector was bound to find itself on the front line in the fight to slow down climate change.

In the late 2000s, industry leaders launched a number of green consortiums and benchmarks to make it easier for developers to build and operate cleaner and more efficient property portfolios and for investors to identify them. Since then, the number of tracked assets has grown, the quantity of collected data related to environment, sustainability, and governance (ESG) factors has multiplied, and a historical time series has begun to accumulate. Investors say they now have a more nuanced understanding of the environmental performance of a particular portfolio and operators have clearer guidance about how to improve it

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