Australia continues to lead following 2019 GRESB results

24 Sep 2019

Australian property companies have notched up an unprecedented run as world leaders in sustainability.

The leading global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) benchmark for real estate and infrastructure investments - the GRESB Real Estate Assessment – this month reported Australian companies were ranked number one in the world for the ninth consecutive year.

Australian entities recorded a five-point improvement on last year, and they are nine points higher than the international average.

At the Green Building Council of Australia, we salute these world-leading companies that have helped make Australia’s built environment more sustainable.

This year GRESB assessed more than 1,000 property companies, REITS, funds and developers, representing more than 100,000 assets worth over $6 trillion.

Global results improved from 68.4 points in 2018 to 72.0 this year, continuing the trend of growing environmental, social and governance outcomes in real estate and development.

GRESB declared it was connecting companies and funds at the start of their sustainability journey with leaders and helping to close the performance gap.

They noted over the last six years ESG data in the real estate industry has transformed with external benchmarking and independent assessments.

“While submitting ESG data for third-party review was still limited in 2014, it is now considered to be common practice when it comes to energy and water data,” GRESB said.

“In 2019, only 15 per cent of reported energy data and 23 per cent of water data is not externally reviewed, a notable improvement in just six years.”

In one year in the reported buildings and precincts, there was a 0.12 per cent decrease in the volume of water used, a 2.66 per cent decline in greenhouse gases emitted and the diversion of 38.95 per cent of the overall waste. Energy consumption was up 0.2 per cent.

On the release of these outstanding results, GBCA Chief Executive Officer Davina Rooney pointed to Australian companies’ global leadership in the field of sustainability.

“Australian property companies have set a new benchmark in this year’s GRESB results for outstanding sustainability performance,” Ms Rooney said.

“Having provided global leadership from their position at the top of the international rankings for nine years now, these companies have continued to innovate, to work even harder and to achieve even better results.

“This helps drive improvements in performance not only here in Australia but right around the world and we commend their efforts, which are critically important to shaping our collective future.”

The GBCA is helping facilitate the sustainability drive through its industry-led initiatives, such as the Carbon Positive Roadmap and our independent Green Star certification and applauds the world-leading efforts of Australian developers, REITs and funds.

Australian entities were awarded Overall Global Sector Leaders in recognition of their achievement of the world’s highest score in five different sectors.

There were Lendlease’s Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial in the Office - Private sector; Lendlease’s Australian Prime Property Fund Retail for the Retail – Private; Dexus Property Group’s Dexus Wholesale Property Fund for Diversified - Office/Retail – Private; Frasers Property Australia Pty Ltd Development Assets in the Developer – Residential sector; and Goodman Group in Developer – Industrial.

Another four groups achieved the highest score for the combination of ownership and sector to be named Global Sector Leaders: Dexus Property Group’s Dexus Office Trust for Listed Office; Frasers Logistics & Industrial Asset Management Pte Ltd’s Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust for Listed Industrial;  Frasers Property Australia Pty Ltd Frasers Property Australia Pty Ltd - Investment Properties for Diversified - Office/Industrial – Private; and Stockland’s Listed Diversified Office/Retail.

While acknowledging the achievements made to date, GRESB noted there was a slowdown in the rate of like-for-like greenhouse gas emissions.

On the current trajectory it said energy efficiency had to improve 2.6 per cent annually to 2030 to meet the Sustainability Development Goals (SDG).

“The aggregated energy efficiency targets for 2019-2030 are not ambitious enough to meet the SDG Target,” GRESB said.

“We see a great opportunity for the real estate sector to leverage these transparency efforts and take bolder actions to improve energy efficiency profiles ensuring alignment with national and global goals.”

But industry remains optimistic, given the speed of sustainability improvements over the last decade.

“It has been a remarkable decade of movement building that has laid the groundwork for exponential progress to be made in 2020-2050,” Director Real Estate at GRESB Roxana Isaiu said.

At GBCA we continue to aim higher, with comprehensive tools and practices. Our Green Star - Future Focus will help raise the bar and set even higher goals for our outstanding companies to reach.

Together with industry we are helping to create more sustainable built environments across Australia.

For more details of our members’ impressive achievements  through GRESB see our media release and comments from our leading members here.