Australia's sustainable property portfolios


Monday, 07 September, 2015

Australia and New Zealand are leading the world in sustainable real estate practices, according to the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB).

Having assessed 707 companies and private equity real estate funds globally, representing 61,000 properties, the benchmark found that Australian/NZ property companies had an average GRESB Score of 69. This was significantly higher than the global average of 56.

The news has been welcomed by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). According to the council’s CEO, Romilly Madew, “Investors, governments and consumers are demanding more transparency and accountability — and clearly Australian property and construction companies are responding to this demand by making sustainability front and centre of all that they do.”

GRESB found that 93% of our region’s companies and funds disclose their sustainability performance annually, compared with 85% globally. Across Australia and New Zealand, more than half (54%) of the companies and funds obtained green building certificates like Green Star and 87% have an energy rating, compared with 71% globally.

The GRESB report also found that disclosure, building ratings and best practice lease clauses affect real building performance. Energy consumption dropped by 1.9% over the reporting period, greenhouse gas emissions fell by 4.3% and water consumption by 2.3%. However, the amount of renewable energy generated by Australian commercial property remains very low.

Three Australian companies were identified as regional sector leaders by the report: Stockland for diversified property; The GPT Group for industrial buildings; and Lend Lease for retail and office developments. The latter company was particularly lauded by the GRESB, with Lend Lease-managed Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial (APPF Commercial) recognised as the world’s most sustainable real estate fund; Lend Lease International Towers Sydney Trust named the most sustainable development fund; and Australian Prime Property Fund Retail (APPF Retail) and Asian Retail Investment Fund 1 recognised as regional leaders for private retail in Australia and Asia, respectively.

“Once again, Lend Lease is recognised for its steadfast commitment to sustainability,” said Madew. “With more Green Star ‘firsts’ than any other organisation in Australia, including everything from the first constructed office to the first public library, it’s no surprise that Lend Lease is the global leader in sustainability.

“Stockland deserves applause for achieving the most Green Star ratings for retail centres, for its work on a range of Green Star — Communities projects and for launching Australia’s first green bond. And GPT Group has challenged the industry to upgrade its existing buildings by achieving the first Green Star rating for a building’s operational performance at 800 Bourke Street in Melbourne.”

The full report can be found at https://www.gresb.com/results2015/introduction.

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