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New EPRA/Jones Lang LaSalle survey uncovers the leading sustainability reporters in Europe

Seven companies win 'Gold' in inaugural Sustainability Awards

Seven European listed property firms received the highest 'Gold' position in the first EPRA Sustainability BPR Awards. The joint EPRA and Jones Lang LaSalle report announced the results at the industry body's Annual Conference in Berlin in early September 2012.

EPRA's Sustainability Best Practices Recommendations (sBPR) and corresponding guidance were released in 2011 to help property companies produce comparable and best-in-class annual sustainability reports. This year a new award scheme has been introduced to raise awareness of the guidelines published in 2011 and to give recognition to companies who have started to adopt them.

Philip Charls, Chief Executive of EPRA said: "Congratulations to all the award winners. We hope their example will inspire many others to review their sustainability reporting for compliance with EPRA's guidelines. With 66% of the Index by market capitalisation already adopting these guidelines, it is clear that the listed property sector is leading a step-change in the quality of sustainability reporting".

Eighty-four companies were reviewed by Jones Lang LaSalle to check compliance with the EPRA Sustainability BPR. Those companies judged to have the best compliance with this standard have been given gold, silver and bronze awards. Fifteen awards were made in total, including seven gold awards to British Land, Citycon, Cofinimmo, Hammerson, Klépierre, Unibail-Rodamco and Shaftesbury. A further four companies received silver, while four others collecting bronze awards.

Gareth Lewis, EPRA's Director of Finance said: "Our thanks to APG for sponsoring these awards, which are key to raising awareness of these important guidelines. We anticipate that over a short period of time, the EPRA Sustainability BPR will become the established reporting standard for property firms and investors, in the same way that EPRA's financial reporting BPRs are used today."

Here are some of the highlights from the report:

  • UK companies dominate the European survey, so it is unsurprising that UK corporates continue to set the standard, with seven out of a total of fifteen awards being given to UK companies – three gold, three silver and one bronze.
  • With the average score of the 84 reviewed companies being only 22%, it is clear that listed companies need to ramp up efforts to further enhance the transparency of the sector.
  • The vast majority (79%) of companies that disclosed some sustainability information claimed to have derived financial value from sustainability initiatives.
  • There are early signs that leading firms will fully integrate sustainability information into their Annual Financial Reports rather than publishing a separate Sustainability Report in future.

The review was performed by sustainability reporting specialists within Jones Lang LaSalle's Sustainability team between June and August 2012. This team has unrivalled knowledge of EPRA's sBPR and were instrumental in helping EPRA develop the guidelines in consultation with its members in 2010/2011 and ensuring consistency with other initiatives.

Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) - European Results

Over 35 major institutional investors are using the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) worldwide to scrutinise the sustainability credentials of their investments and investment managers. The benchmark summarises information from 450 property companies and funds worldwide, making this the largest global sustainability initiative with 36,000 properties covered.

Over 250 European property companies and funds participated in this year's GRESB, representing 65% of the European market by value.

The Benchmark has been developed from an annual online survey of 35 questions relating to company policy, practices and data on environmental impact (e.g. carbon emissions, waste output, energy use, etc.). Companies who complete the survey receive an individual score which is scrutinised by the investment community. GRESB links to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI CRESS), EPRA's Best Practices Recommendations on Sustainability Reporting (see our article on the 2012 EPRA Awards [INSERT LINK]) and the INREV Sustainability Reporting Recommendations.

On the positive side, the results show:

  • 88% have dedicated resources for implementing sustainability strategy;
  • At 81%, energy consumption is the main policy focus;
  • 60% of respondents collect and report data on energy consumption; and
  • 72% of the respondents used nationally-recognised certifications (of which 62% LEED and 28% BREEAM).

However:

  • Only 8% of respondents have information on tenant-obtained energy use;
  • 40% of participants are still considered 'Green Starters', disclosing limited sustainability information to the investment community – suggesting that there is still significant room for improvement across the industry; and
  • The vast majority of participants are still heavily engaged in policy formulation, but lack implementation and measurement.

For additional information visit: www.GRESB.com

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