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A word from Rom - A springboard to sustainable success

For the fifth year in a row, Australia is the world’s leading sustainable real estate industry.

That’s the headline finding from the latest GRESB survey, which scored the Australian and New Zealand property market 69 out of 100 for its sustainability efforts – significantly more than the global average of 56.

This result recognises how far our industry has come. But it also serves as a reminder that we can’t afford complacency.

GRESB, the global real estate sustainability benchmark, reveals some exceptional achievements. Ninety three per cent of our region’s companies and funds now disclose their sustainability performance annually, compared with 85 per cent globally.

Three Australian companies – Stockland, The GPT Group and Lendlease – were named ‘regional sector leaders’.

Lendlease was also named ‘global sector leader’, ranking top of the table of 707 property companies and private equity real estate funds representing 61,000 assets and AUD$3.2 trillion in asset value.

Hot on the heels of the GRESB announcement came the latest Dow Jones Sustainability Index which also ranked Stockland (for real estate) and Westpac (for banking) among its 24 leaders. Also noted were GPT, Lendlease, Dexus and Mirvac.

The GRESB report, however, also sounds some alarm bells. Renewable energy generation in our commercial buildings remains perilously low when compared with other regions, and despite our best efforts, energy consumption has still increased by 1.9 per cent over the last year.

And while our top end commercial companies are leading, we must not forget they represent a small proportion of the total real estate market – with much work to be done on the overall building performance of our existing building stock.

As we gear up for World Green Building Week next week, which will bring 100 GBCs and hundreds of thousands of people together to ‘power positive change’, we must see the GRESB results as a springboard to larger-scale action.

While we’re heading in the right direction, we must continue to share with the broader industry and community the opportunities that sustainability presents – to create brand value, encourage innovation, create new revenue streams, secure stakeholder confidence and, above all, mitigate risk.