Australia and New Zealand lead sustainability stakes

The Australia and New Zealand GRESB score of 69 was significantly higher than the global average of 56

Australia and New Zealand continue to lead the world in sustainable real estate practices, according to the latest GRESB report.

GRESB, the global real estate sustainability benchmark, assessed 707 property companies and private equity real estate funds globally, representing 61,000 assets and USD $2.3 trillion in asset value.

The Australia and New Zealand GRESB score of 69 was significantly higher than the global average of 56. Meanwhile, 93% of our region’s companies and funds disclose their sustainability performance annually, compared with 85% globally.

Across A/NZ, more than half (54%) of the companies and funds listed obtained green building certificates like Green Star and 87% have an energy rating, compared with 71% globally. Meanwhile, 91% of participants have introduced best practice leases that include sustainability-specific clauses, compared with 60% globally.

Three Australian companies were identified as regional sector leaders: Stockland for diversified property, Lendlease for retail and office developments, and The GPT Group for diversified-retail/office. Lendlease was also named the ‘global sector leader’, coming top of the table of the 707 property companies surveyed.

GRESB’s head of Asia Pacific, Ruben Langbroek, says the use of green building certification programs, such as Green Star, and energy ratings, such as the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) have become standard practice in the Australian property market.

The results are of course welcome news to the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). In a statement, GBCA’s chief executive, Romilly Madew said the results demonstrated that Australian property and construction companies were responding to demand from government and consumers for more transparency and accountability.

“Australia’s property and construction industry has moved well beyond regulation. Increasingly, both small and large companies are reacting to the signals set by the market leaders – and understand if they want to be competitive, they must embrace sustainable business practices,” said Ms Madew.

“These GRESB results once again confirm that the Australian property and construction industry is heading in the right direction.

“What was once seen as a ‘back-of-house’ responsibility for building managers to reduce costs is now understood by the industry as an opportunity to create brand value, encourage innovation, create new revenue streams, secure stakeholder confidence and, above all, mitigate risk.”