Martin Roy

Survey results: REITs embrace sustainability

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Property managers aligned with real estate investment trusts (REITs) generally place greater precedence on sustainability than other respondents to the Institute of Real Estate Management’s (IREM) recent job analysis survey. Overall, the submissions from more than 1,400 American and Canadian accredited property and asset managers reveal less committed attitudes, with more than 50 per cent of survey participants considering green practices of moderate, low or no importance.

Findings also show a divergence among property sectors and job functions. The majority of office building managers did rank developing and implementing sustainable practices as important or very important job tasks, while far fewer residential managers held that view. Survey interpreters hypothesize that heightened accountability explains why REITs embrace sustainability.

“Many REITs are publicly traded, and even when they are privately traded there may be a greater need to display a higher social conscience for stakeholders and investors,” suggests the executive summary of the results. “As REITs are often larger than other real estate firms, they are also more susceptible to government regulations and policies related to sustainability.”

Meanwhile, survey respondents tended to broadly endorse environmental awareness and tenant education. For example, site managers in multi-residential communities agreed on the importance of promoting energy and water conservation.

“While most real estate managers may not rank sustainability tasks highly, a majority at least agrees that it is important or very important to at least know about sustainability practices,” the executive summary notes.

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