Oceania maintains top rank in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark for 2019

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Oceania maintains top rank in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark for 2019
Oceania maintains top rank in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark for 2019

Australia’s property development industry has a lot to celebrate recently after the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) announced Oceania’s world-leading real asset performance rank for the ninth year running.

The GRESB benchmark takes into account the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of real assets and infrastructure investments from across the globe – with Oceania reaching a new world record GRESB Score of 81, up from 72 the previous year. 

This year, the GRESB assessed 1,005 property companies, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), funds and developers, with a combined asset count of 100,000 properties valued at over $6 trillion.

On a global scale, the current GRESB Score has climbed from 68 to 72 over the past year. However, despite the upward growth trajectory, the assessment also found a subsiding greenhouse gas reduction of only 2.66% this year, compared to 4.91% in 2018 – which is not enough to meet the Paris Climate Agreement target.

Despite the disappointing greenhouse gas emission results, GRESB’s Director of Real Estate, Roxana Isaiu expressed confidence that the overall success since the GRESB Benchmark was established in 2009 shows a tenacity that will hopefully set us in good stead to reach the goal.  

“Even in the face of present challenges, we remain optimistic because of the breadth and depth of the sustainability ecosystem that has grown up since the inaugural Real Estate Assessment in 2009. Looking back, it has been a remarkable decade of movement building that has laid the groundwork for exponential progress to be made in 2020-2050.”

Roxana Isaiu, GRESB’s Director of Real Estate

The GRESB is supported by a body of environmental consultancy and certification firms, including Australia's NatHERS and Green Building Council Australia.

“The voluntary industry-led tools and initiatives we deploy in partnership with our members, like the Carbon Positive Road map and independent Green Star certification, support Australia’s property companies in their pursuit of new levels of sustainability excellence. That’s why we continue to evolve our rating tools, as we are currently doing through Green Star - Future Focus, to ensure they keep pace with the new heights industry is scaling, while also broadening accessibility so more companies can realise the benefits strong ESG performance delivers.”

Davina Rooney, Green Building Council of Australia CEO 

Which Australian companies were included in the assessment?

Australian Prime Property Fund (Commercial, Industrial and Retail), Lendlease, Dexus Wholesale Property Fund, Dexus Property Group, Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust, Frasers Logistics & Industrial Asset Mangement.

Oceania maintains top rank in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark for 2019
Credit: Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark

How can Australia maintain this ranking for years to come?

It is clear Australia is on the right path towards leading global environmental, social and governance performance standards, however, in order to continue breaking Oceania's GRESB record, Australia needs to build on the framework we already have in place. This could include investing in greater analysis as to what is driving the most carbon emission and focus on ways to mitigate this; relook at policy and raise minimum environmental standards; retrofit and/or upcycle existing buildings; and engage in more detailed, holistic town master-planning to create cohesive communities which are energy-efficient, future-proofed and environmentally sustainable. Ultimately, a change in perception that it’s time to place sustainability ahead of financial gain would be the desired outcome – but whether or not that's viable will become evident over the next few decades. 

Lead image credit: Trip Savvy

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