31 Dec 2012
Growthpoint Properties, South Africa’s largest Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed property company, has become one of only 12 companies included on the JSE 100 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) after boosting its Carbon Disclosure Project score from 83 percent in 2011 to 95 percent in 2012.
Growthpoint ranked 10th on the JSE Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index for 2012 and scored highest for carbon disclosure in the real estate sector in South Africa.
The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is part of an international investor relations sustainability reporting system. Since 2000 the Carbon Disclosure Project has challenged the world’s largest companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, identify the perceived risk and opportunities that climate change present for their business and describe their strategic responses to these risk and opportunities.
With the National Business Initiative (NBI), CDP has engaged South African listed companies since 2007.
“Being a property investment company, our business is long term. Sustainability underpins our success,” says Growthpoint Properties executive director Estienne de Klerk.
He notes that upholding and improving its sustainability performance will continue to be an important goal for the JSE Top 40 company.
To be in the JSE CDLI, which shows a company’s transparency and accountability, companies must provide publicly available responses and achieve a disclosure score within the top 10 percent of companies reporting, he explains.
“Carbon disclosure has been an interesting and exciting journey for Growthpoint,” says head of utilities management at Growthpoint Properties Essop Basha.
Basha says their first efforts in 2010 were disappointing and frustrating, but they learnt from them and nearly doubled their score in 2011.
This inspired them to further integrate sustainability into the core business and focus on even more detailed reporting in 2012.
Growthpoint’s increased CDP score also raised it from B and C to B and B which shows the integration of climate change is recognised as a priority for strategy, while some initiatives are still being full established.
Growthpoint Properties’ continued inclusion in the JSE’s SRI Index was also recently announced, based on its positive environmental, social and economic sustainability practices and corporate governance.
This is the fourth successive year in which Growthpoint Properties has been included in the JSE SRI Index.
“Besides identifying and managing our own impacts on the environment, we hope to stimulate greater participation from our sector,” says Basha.
The real estate sub-sector has been labelled a poor performer in carbon disclosure and continued to show the lowest response rate in 2012.
Given the commercial built environment is responsible for some 42 percent of carbon emissions, the sector can make a significant contribution to managing environmental impact, according to Basha.
He points out that carbon disclosure is tricky for real estate companies as the property owner is not the main consumer or emitter.
“Despite this, Growthpoint is addressing energy consumption, efficiency and savings to help our clients reduce their costs and impacts, and support the profitability of clients’ businesses.”
De Klerk adds that sustainability and the ability to continue to deliver performance to their investors over the long term are business imperatives for Growthpoint and this is reflected in the company’s positive JSE CDLI and SRI Index scores.
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