GRESB, a global benchmarking organization portfolio-level sustainability assessment in the real estate sector, based its 2015 data and industry report on an assessment of 707 property companies and private equity real estate funds, representing 61,000 assets and $2.3 trillion in asset value.
The latest report documents a 3 percent reduction in greenhouse emissions in 2014, a 50 percent increase in on-site renewable energy generation, and a 19 percent improvement in overall ESG performance. It also finds more property companies and funds are reporting on sustainability: 707 companies and funds, representing $2.3 trillion and 61,000 assets.
North American real estate investment trusts (REITs) and private equity funds slightly trailed the global market, with an average sustainability score of 44 compared to the global GRESB average of 46. Still, the 2015 GRESB results indicate that the North American companies and funds are taking action to address climate risk and resilience: 88 percent of participants reported having sustainability policies and a growing fraction of these policies include specific provisions addressing climate risk (36 percent) and resilience (26 percent).
Severe and prolonged drought across western North America has also brought attention to the importance of water conservation and sustainable water supply management. Eighty-six percent of North American property companies and funds implemented water efficiency improvements for standing investments within the last four years.