Growthpoint leads the African real estate sector in Carbon Disclosure

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Estienne de Klerk, Executive Director Growthpoint Properties. Estienne de Klerk, Executive Director Growthpoint Properties.

Boosting its carbon disclosure score from 46% in 2010 to 83% in 2011, South Africa’s largest JSE listed property company, Growthpoint Properties, has taken the lead in Carbon Disclosure for the real estate sector on the African continent.

The carbon disclosure project (CDP) was released by the National Business Initiative (NBI) yesterday and revealed that Growthpoint scored highest in the property sector. CDP rates companies in two core areas – the disclosure of emissions and activities, and response to climate change.

Growthpoint Properties’ continued inclusion in the JSE’s Socially Responsible Investment Index (SRI Index) was also announced earlier this week, based on our positive environmental, social and economic sustainability practices and corporate governance.

This is the third successive year in which Growthpoint Properties has been included in the JSE SRI Index, and participated in the CDP.

“As a property investment company our business is long term. Sustainability is vital to our success,” says Growthpoint Properties Executive Director Estienne de Klerk, who notes that maintaining and improving its sustainability performance will continue to be an important goal for the JSE Top 40 company.

Valerie Geen, the Director of the Climate & Energy Unit at the National Business Initiative, notes that Growthpoint’s substantial improvement, boosting its carbon disclosure score from below 50% to over 80% in a single year, is particularly pleasing, especially in context of the overall poor performance and participation of the property sector in the CDP.

“Over the past five years, we have been repeatedly frustrated by the lack of CDP input from the listed property sector which plays such a crucial role in the entire value chain of the built environment through its ability to influence tenants and the construction industry,” says Geen. “This makes Growthpoint Properties performance even more noteworthy”.

CDP provides investors with an in-depth analysis of a business’s climate change and sustainability governance, strategy and communications as well as its approach to related risks and opportunities, its carbon emissions footprint and associated mitigation targets and initiatives.

Head of Utilities Management at Growthpoint Properties Essop Basha notes that while Carbon Disclosure is tricky for property owners, as the landlord is not the main consumer or emitter, it is a business imperative for Growthpoint to address energy consumption, efficiency and savings to assist clients reduce their costs and impacts, also support the profitability of clients’ businesses.

“We actively dedicated resources and time to substantially improving the accuracy and scope of the data Growthpoint submitted to the CDP and we are extremely pleased with the significant improvement in results,” says Basha.

The SRI Index identifies JSE-listed companies that integrate the principles of the triple bottom-line and good governance into their business. It is a global and local benchmark of corporate responsibility standards and a vehicle for responsible investment. It also contributes to the development of responsible business practice.

Corli le Roux, head of the SRI Index for the JSE, says: “We are delighted with the strides companies are making in integrating sustainability concerns into their businesses. The property sector faces particularly complex challenges and the leadership shown by companies like Growthpoint will undoubtedly benefit the company and the sector as a whole.”

Growthpoint achieved the maximum number of core indicators for governance and related sustainability concerns as well as the newly-introduced best practice level in relation to the environmental policy, systems and reporting criteria for companies with low environmental impact.

Underpinning its positive CDP and SRI Index performance is Growthpoint Properties’ push in energy-efficiency, green building and enterprise development.

To this end it has racked up an impressive number of achievements in the last month alone.

Its office development ‘Mayfair on the Lake’ in Umhlanga Ridge was awarded a GBCSA 4-Star Green Star SA - Office Design v1 in November 2011.

In a groundbreaking energy-saving pilot project which also launched last month - ‘Lincoln on the Lake’ Rooftop Solar Project - Growthpoint Properties has provided its own regional office building to the study in the interests of clean energy and reducing demand on the energy grid in partnership with Eskom, Suntech (PV panel manufacturer) and power solutions company Hudu.

Growthpoint Properties has also put its substantial weight behind enterprise development with its Property Point initiative which assists small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) working within the property sector by providing skills training and development to grow entrepreneurs into fully independent, competitive companies – directly creating over 210 jobs to date.

In addition to its social and economic benefits, Property Point is also having a valuable environmental impact through its involvement in Isimosezulu (climate) COP17 Place in Cato Manor, where 30 homes were green retrofitted by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) to showcase at the current climate change negotiations.

Property Point is providing entrepreneurial development training and support to local Cato Manor business to service the ongoing operation of the ‘green street’ by applying their respective trades in an environmentally positive manner. These businesses are set to be sustainable and at the forefront of energy-efficient operations in SA.

“The SA property industry is moving towards green. Training small businesses to operate in this new context provides valuable support to entrepreneurs within green space, creating valuable expertise for property owners to achieve greater levels of energy efficiency and sustainability. Although we have progressed in leaps and bounds, there is still a long way to go.” says Shawn Theunissen, head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Growthpoint Properties.

Growthpoint’s recent achievements have all emerged from its commitment to sustainability which has been expressed in a growing number of industry-leading projects over recent years.

“Sustainability and the ability to continue to deliver performance to our investors over the long term are business imperatives for Growthpoint, and this is reflected in our positive CDP and JSE SRI Index scores,” says de Klerk.

Read more on:

Listed Property Sector  |  Company News  |  Environmental  |  Green Buildings in South Africa  |  Growthpoint Properties  |  Estienne de Klerk
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