The Australian property industry has vowed to double down on sustainability, as companies such as Lendlease and Frasers dominate the world’s leading environmental, social, and governance benchmark.
The Australia and New Zealand property sector topped the GRESB global rankings for the ninth consecutive year, improving its score by five points to 81 and comfortably beating the next-highest region, which was Asia at 73.
Lendlease’s Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial led the way, ranking first out of 964 property companies, REITS, funds and developers. The fund has taken out top place in five of the last six years, over which it increased its net lettable area by 23 per cent and reduced its carbon footprint by 39 per cent.
Frasers Property Australia was named the overall global sector leader among developers, ranking first out of 41 entrants. The two companies received additional commendations across the retail, office and diversified portfolio categories.
The Property Council of Australia praised the result, which it said was the result of investments “supporting the global transition to a low-carbon, more sustainable and more resilient future”.
But the industry body added that there was more work ahead on the sustainability front, which encompasses energy efficiency, emissions reduction, inclusion and health and wellness.
“We know there is more to be done and no room for complacency,” chief executive Ken Morrison said.
Frasers general manager for innovation, communication and sustainability Lisa McCutchion said the property industry had a “vital role in increasing the pace of change needed for our nation to meet its climate obligations”.
“We’re not resting on our laurels. Our ambition to be zero carbon in development and operation by 2028 requires ongoing commitment, innovation and powerful partnerships,” she said.
GRESB’s trend analysis reflected the growing importance of environmental and social issues for the property industry.
In 2009, some 19 per cent of participants collected data on energy and 13 per cent used renewable energy. These proportions were 98 and 61 per cent in 2019, respectively.
Lendlease Funds Management Australia managing director Scott Mosely said these concerns were reflected in the behaviour of clients.
“Tenants are actively seeking out workplaces that are aligned with their sustainability credentials, which in turn helps them attract and retain the best people,” he said.
Other GRESB global sector leaders included: Dexus (office -listed and diversified – office/retail – private), Stockland (diversified office/retail – listed), Goodman (developer – industrial).
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