Advancing ESG Performance in the Built Environment

Originally published on October 19, 2023, by Brielle Scott for NAIOP.

There are myriad key considerations involved in developing a successful, comprehensive ESG strategy, including meeting evolving investor and tenant demands, global drivers for ESG performance and expectations, the most pressing climate risks and their financial implications, emerging regulatory guidelines, green financing options, and more.

A panel at CRE.Converge this week moderated by Breana Wheeler, director of operations – U.S., BREEAM USA, discussed overarching ESG trends that are increasingly impacting building operations and development. Panelists included Heidi Creighton, FAIA, vice president, sustainability, Skanska USA Commercial Development; Anita Jeerage, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, vice president, sustainability and ESG, Unico Properties LLC; Daren Moss, principal, ESG – real estate lead, Ares Management; and Katie Zilka Hanson, vice president, client success, RE Tech Advisors.

Wheeler kicked off the conversation with a question to the panelists: What are the key drivers behind ESG initiatives today?

“Our tenants have their own ESG goals,” Jeerage said, “so it is important to have a program that will help your tenants make progress on their goals.” She also named climate risk as a driving factor; both physical risk from wildfire, flood, etc., and transition risk, looking at how energy usage will change in the future.

Her firm conducts climate risk analysis as part of their due diligence phase, layering in climate models that show what risks they might be facing in a 1.5-2-degree Fahrenheit warming climate scenario.

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