Australia continues sustainability world leadership

Australia continues sustainability world leadership

13 September 2019

Australia’s property industry has strengthened its position as a world-leader on environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.

The Australian and NZ real estate sector has again outperformed other regions in the world’s most trusted sustainability benchmark, the Global ESG Benchmark for real estate assets (GRESB).

The Oceania region has topped the global rankings for the ninth successive year.

Australia and New Zealand achieved an average GRESB Score of 81, up from 76 last year, and well ahead of the global average of 72 (which also improved from 68 the previous year.) The second-highest GRESB score was for Asia (72.67) followed by the Americas (72.05) and Europe (70.68).

“These results show that our industry is taking the initiative on ESG in ways that lead the world and not merely sitting back waiting for government action,” said the Property Council of Australia’s chief executive, Ken Morrison.

“The investments that Australian property companies are making in sustainability is supporting the global transition to a low-carbon, more sustainable and more resilient future which is delivering value for investors and meeting the needs of a growing population and economy.

“However, we know there is more to be done and no room for complacency,” Mr Morrison said.

GRESB’s results are used by more than 100 institutional investors around the world representing US$22 trillion in assets under management. More than 1,000 property companies, REITs, funds and developers participated in the 2019 assessment.

The assessment scored and benchmarked the ESG performance of 80 real estate funds, companies and developers from Australia and New Zealand with assets valued at US$242 billion.

Lendlease’s Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial led the way, ranking first out of 964 property companies, REITS, funds and developers. Cbus Property has finished in second place.

Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust was the global sector leader for Industrial – Listed. Frasers Property Australia Ltd – Investment Properties was the sector leader for Diversified – Office/Industrial – Private.

Frasers Property Australia Pty Ltd – Development Assets was the global sector leader for Developer – Residential.

Dexus Office Trust was the global sector leader for Office – Listed, while Dexus Wholesale Property Fund was the global leader for the Diversified – Office/Retail – Private sector.

Dexus CEO, Darren Steinberg said: “It’s rewarding to be recognised for our continued leadership in sustainability, reinforcing our commitment to deliver world-class, sustainable properties.”

Stockland was once again named the global sector leader for Diversified – Office/Retail – Listed.

Goodman was the global sector leader for Developer – Industrial.

“The strong performance by Australian property assets in an growing pool of participants is testament to our industry’s commitment to ESG principles and their leadership on energy efficiency, emissions reduction, inclusion and health and wellness which are all increasingly important factors for the global investment marketplace,” Mr Morrison said.

GRESB’s trend analysis shows the growing importance of these issues for the property industry.

98 per cent of participants collected data on energy in 2019, compared to just 19 per cent a decade ago. 61 per cent of participants now use renewable energy compared to 13 per cent in 2009. In 2012, 26 per cent of participants had sustainability clauses in their contracts, which increased to 86 per cent in 2019.