Australia a leader in sustainability
Australia and New Zealand have, as expected, topped the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) for the seventh year running, but improvements on energy and water have stalled and the gap between other territories is narrowing.
The Australia/NZ region came in with a score of 73, compared with a global average of 63. This was a drop of one point from 2016, while the global competition moved up from 60, reports the Fifth Estate.
Energy use was up 0.2 percent, where worldwide there was a reduction of 1.1 percent. Similarly, water use went up 0.7 percent, though dropped 0.5 percent globally.
Lendlease, whose Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial fund topped the global charts for private office sustainability, told The Australian Financial Review its small energy reduction of 1 percent on 2016 levels was due to hotter weather, causing more air conditioning use.
The managing director of Lendlease’s Australian Investment Management business, Josh McHutchison, said the reduction was also smaller than in previous years because the low-hanging fruit had already been targeted.
The number of property companies reporting in the region grew 27 percent on 2016 (up 11 to 66), making it the fastest-growing region for GRESB participation, with $205 billion in assets represented. The performance of newcomers (17 of the total 66) to GRESB might explain, in part, why Australia hasn’t continued to improve overall.
“Although further improvements can, and must, be made, many buildings within the top segment of the commercial sector are already performing at a high level,” officials said. “As such, improvements within this segment are expected to be incremental.”
One area where Australian buildings outperformed their global peers was on carbon emissions, which dropped 4.7 percent compared with a global average reduction of 2.2 percent.
Officials said increased investor demand for transparency would further enhance how risks are managed, empowering companies and fund managers to adopt “leading sustainability practices.”
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