France in top tier in transparency in reporting environmental performance of real estate

Jocelyn Timperley writes a good article on the BusinessGreen website about a recent survey of environmental performance transparency for the real estate sector. France headed the top tier that also included Australia, Japan and the UK.


France tops sustainable real estate ranking

UK also scores well in JLL environmental transparency ranking, listed alongside France, Australia and Japan in “highly transparent” tier

France’s real estate sector is the most transparent in its reporting of environmental performance and issues, according to new global rankings released this week.

The French real estate industry narrowly beat the UK, Australia and Japan to the top spot, although all four countries were listed in the top “highly transparent” tier.

The biennial index, released by Chicago-based real estate giant JLL, measures the availability of a range of key environmental transparency tools, including carbon reporting, green building certification and minimum energy standards.

Altogether the survey analysed 37 countries, which together attracted 97 per cent of the world’s direct commercial real estate investment in 2015.


France achieved a perfect score on all seven environmental transparency questions, which JLL said was largely thanks its consistent roll-out of legislated low carbon mandates across the property sector.

Although the UK remained in the top tier of the ranking, its score decreased compared to the last league table in 2014 due to a lower availability of financial performance indicators for ‘green’ real estate.

Sixteen countries including the US, Germany, Italy and Hong Kong fared relatively well in the second “transparent” tier, while Dubai moved into the “semi-transparent” group for the first time alongside Brazil, China, Russia and India due to its introduction of mandatory green building specifications for new constructions.

However, four countries – Mexico, Malaysia, Taiwan and Turkey – remained in the bottom “low transparency” tier.

Overall, 17 countries improved their scores since the last survey in 2014, including Slovakia, Romania and South Korea moving from the “low transparency” to “semi-transparent” tiers.

Half of all these improved scores were linked to the introduction of voluntary minimum energy efficiency standards for existing buildings, JLL said.

Minimum energy standards for new buildings were found to be the most common environmental transparency instruments used by policymakers, with 87 per cent of the countries surveyed boasting mandatory standards.

Market-specific green building certification schemes are also common, with around two thirds of the countries surveyed supporting such initiatives.

Commenting on the ranking, Franz Jenowein, director and head of global sustainability research at JLL, said that despite some progress, clearly defined carbon reporting frameworks and obligations for companies are still absent in too many countries.

“Environmental performance considerations are becoming more widely established across global markets, but the pace of progress in creating new tools and regulations is slow,” he said in a statement. “It can only be hoped that the success of the Paris Agreement on climate change in December 2015, will stimulate a wider introduction of standardised carbon reporting instruments.”

The environmental sustainability index is part of JLL’s larger 2016 Global Real Estate Transparency Index, which covers 109 markets and ranked the UK in top spot overall, followed by Australia, Canada, the US and France.

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