Representatives of Narrate Leader in the Light Award recipients reviewed key management and sustainability topics for the coming year during a webinar on January 30.
The webinar focused on exploring ways to integrate sustainability initiatives throughout business operations, and how REITs’ sustainability strategies align with company goals and objectives. Other issues include strategies that support carbon footprint reduction and enhance company culture, and how REITs support local communities and their workforce through inclusive growth and giving back.
Jessica Long, Nareite’s senior vice president for environmental stewardship and sustainability, introduced the webinar, which was co-moderated by Michael Chang, vice president of energy and sustainability. host hotel and Resorts, Inc., (Nasdaq: HST), and 2023 Leadership Personified Winner, and Carol Samman, Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Healthpeak Properties, Inc., (NYSE: PEAK) and 2024 RESC Chairman.
Webinar participants discussed actions being taken by their companies in the areas of transparency, climate action, customers and community, governance and leadership, and stakeholder engagement.
During the webinar:
- Aaron Binkley, Vice President of Sustainability digital realty (NYSE: DLR) highlighted “a fundamental shift in how the REIT industry and real estate in general is approaching sustainability reporting.” He said this is a move from a system of voluntary reporting to regulatory obligations.
- Tamara Chernomordyk, Vice President of ESG Kimco Realty Corp., (NYSE: KIM) said Kimco’s governance structure touches every aspect of the organization. He also said Kymco’s leadership takes pride in its culture, which has resulted in the creation of employee-focused community councils and employee resource groups.
- Ethan Gilbert, Director of ESG Prologis, Inc., (NYSE:PLD) touched on the REIT’s customer-centric focus, which also includes the electrification of their industrial tenants’ fleet vehicles. “How can we be part of that turnkey solution and help solve the problem of costs associated with both transportation and labor.” He also discussed the REIT’s Community Workforce Initiative to help source and train employees to join the logistics workforce.
- Jordan Evans, Director of Sustainability Physician Realty Trust (NYSE:DOC) talked about the company’s work in green leasing. Since 2019, more than 99% of its new leases and renewals include comprehensive green lease provisions. This allows for ESG discussions with tenants even before they move in, he said.
- Lauren Moss, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO) shared how the data assurance process “can be an additional layer in the work [sustainability teams are] “But it allows us, as people working toward those goals, to really make sure that we’re meeting them.”
- Kim Paxton, Senior Vice President, Sustainability JBG Smith (NYSE:JBGS) commented on the REIT’s housing affordability efforts and its presence in the social investment sector. The REIT is part of the Washington Housing Conservancy, a nonprofit that works to preserve workforce housing, serving individuals who earn too much to qualify for traditional housing assistance but face rising rents. Not enough to live with. “They face very stark choices,” he said.
- Natalie Teare, Senior Vice President of Innovation, Sustainability and Social Impact Hudson Pacific Properties, Inc., (NYSE:HPP) commented on Scope 3 emissions and embodied carbon, which is “where the vast majority of carbon impacts occur.” He said embodied carbon is “hugely impactful from a lifecycle perspective as developers, and also a really difficult area to make progress on.”
- Kenny Thomas, Senior Director, Engineering, at Park Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE: PK) said that early on, when Park was developing its environmental program, the REIT found that there was not a single company that could do everything to support its sustainability goals. In response, Parks created its own program known as Green Parks.
- Nathaniel Wittan, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer public storage (NYSE:PSA) discussed the REIT’s onsite renewables program. The company is set to install more than 80 MW by 2025 and has also launched a community solar program that allows homes near its facilities to subscribe to receive discounted clean electricity.