Australian developers top global sustainability index for 10th year

Lendlease, Dexus and Frasers Property Australia have once again topped the world’s leading environmental, social, and governance index. The Australia and New Zealand property sector topped the GRESB global rankings for the tenth consecutive year, with a score of 77, four points shy of last year’s total, and comfortably beating the next-highest region, which was Asia at 72.

The GRESB sector leader awards program recognises real estate and infrastructure companies, funds and assets that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in sustainability.

With the use of asset-level data reporting, more than 96,000 assets across 64 countries were scored for energy, greenhouse gas emissions and water use intensities by entity and property type.

Lendlease’s Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial led the way, ranking first out of 1,229 property companies, REITS, funds and developers, worth more than $6.5 trillion in assets under management. The fund, which has taken out top place in six of the last seven years, was also joined by its Australian Prime Property Funds for Retail and Retirement Living, which were both also recognised as global leaders. The company’s International Towers Sydney Trust was also recognised in a global leader in the standing investments category.

For a second consecutive year Frasers Property Australia was named the overall global sector leader among developers, scoring 96 out of a possible 100 compared to a peer average score of 79.

Frasers Property Australia chief executive Anthony Boyd said sustainability remained a central focus across all operational and management facets of its business.

“Our future plans include targeting carbon neutral for the commercial elements of Central Place Sydney and aspiring to deliver the world’s most sustainable shopping centre at Burwood Brickworks in Melbourne. “These examples are not isolated; more and more, these ambitions are part of our broader business strategy at Frasers Property Australia.”

Dexus’s Healthcare Wholesale Property Fund, which participated for the first time, was also recognised as a global leader for healthcare entities. Dexus chief executive Darren Steinberg said the sustainability result would build on our the company’s recent recognition as the global real estate leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The company’s Wholesale Property Fund was also named as the regional leader in the standing investments category for diversified office and retail entities in Oceania.

Goodman Group was recognised for its Industrial Partnership, also topping the standing investments category for industrial entities in Oceania.

GRESB real estate director Roxana Isaiu said after last year’s increase in like-for-like energy consumption, this year result saw a global reduction of 2%: “this decrease can be seen across all regions, with Europe having the largest reduction of 3.2%. Global green house gas emissions and water consumption also fell by 3% and 1.5%, respectively,” Isaiu said.

Listed property companies continued to outperform the private sector, but saw their lead shrink when compared with previous years, with the average score for standing investments is 71 for listed and 70 for private.

By sector, average scores for offices outperformed other property types, but the other sectors are bridging the gap.

These wins are incredibly important for the Australian property industry. It represents another way the country is moving toward a greener future; something that, as the home to the largest reef in the world and numerous flora and fauna species not seen anywhere else on the planet, we need to do. It also highlights the focus on innovation and good design that is increasingly becoming a hallmark of Australian property – and hopefully will for many years to come.

Written: 18 December 2020, Updated: 26 November 2020

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