Five real estate companies have made Newsweek magazine’s prestigious Green Rankings for 2012, with two of them landing in the top 100. Vornado Realty Trust came in at No. 87 out of 500 U.S. companies while CBRE Group landed in the 96th spot.
Newsweek creates its rankings by comparing companies’ environmental footprints; their management practices including policies, programs and initiatives; and the reporting practices of the firms.
In the real estate category, Newsweek also ranked Simon Property Group at No. 202; Weyerhaeuser, the international pulp and paper company, which has a real estate division, at No. 231; and Public Storage (No. 435.) The magazine creates the ranking along with research partners Trucost and Sustainalytics using data provided by the Carbon Disclosure Project, which collects global greenhouse gas data on more than 3,000 companies worldwide.
Vornado Realty Trust bettered its Newsweek score by 90 slots this year, compared to last year’s rankings.
“As a property owner, our focus on sustainability and energy efficiency is centered around lowering our operating expenses while improving our operating practices,” says Sukanya Paciorek, Vornado’s New York-based vice president, corporate sustainability. “Since 2007, the company has successfully LEED-certified over 30 million sq. ft. of its portfolio and has implemented some of the most innovative energy and data management programs in the U.S.”
Paciorek cites examples including a 6.2-MW co-generation plant in New York and a 980-kW solar system in New Jersey as “highlights of our forward-looking approach to technology and efficiency.”
CBRE moved up from No. 128 on last year’s list.
“We don’t own our sites,” says Dave Pogue, global director of sustainability for the company, noting that the firm manages more than 2 billion sq. ft. globally. “That complicates things, but we’re also recognized because of the influence we can have on the businesses we work for.”
In the U.S. CBRE manages about 200 million sq. ft. of property certified by the LEED Existing Buildings rating system. More than 260 million sq. ft. of space is registered under the EPA Energy Star program. CBRE also launched a four-year $1 million commitment to fund sustainability research and innovation as it relates to commercial real estate—a measure called the Real Green Research Challenge.
“It’s because of our size and scope that we can influence better performance,” Pogue notes.
Pogue says even the firm’s seemingly symbolic measures add up. In 2012 CBRE was able to convince more than 700 million sq. ft. of its managed property to participate in Earth Hour, a movement held at the end of March where participants pledge to turn off all non-essential lights.
“It’s the ability to influence behavior on such a massive scale that can have really good outcomes,” he says.