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Real Estate Companies Saving the Planet


Apr 08, 2021 by Liz Brumer
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Real estate has a tremendous opportunity to do a big part in saving the planet. With continued concerns over the impact corporations have on climate change, there are several real estate companies that are doing their part to save the planet. Reduction in reliance on fossil fuels, utilizing and/or providing renewable energy, and applying sustainable and green building features are just a few of the ways these companies are making a lasting and positive environmental impact. Below are a few of the top real estate investment trusts (REITs) doing their part to save the planet.

While there are several notable REITs making major strides toward saving the planet, two REITs that have consistently been among the top-ranking publicly traded companies in regard to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing are Equinix (NASDAQ: EQIX) and Prologis (NYSE: PLD).

Equinix is a REIT focused on developing and operating data centers globally using some of the top energy-efficiency standards. In 2019, the company achieved 92% of all energy from renewable sources, having net zero carbon emissions for the year. Using some of the latest low-carbon technologies, such as smart chillers, indirect evaporative cooling units (IDECs), and green rooftops, among several others, allows the company to produce electricity, as well as heat, cool, and light its facilities in the most efficient and environmentally impactful manner possible. Equinix definitely takes the lead when it comes to ESG efforts among REITs, ranking No. 5 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Green Power Partnership National Top 100 list.

Prologis is one of the leading industrial REITs specializing in the development and management of warehouse and distribution centers across the globe and has also made great strides to help save the planet over the past decade. In 2019, Prologis produced 212 MW of solar power from the roofs of its facilities, 88% of all facilities operated with efficient LED lighting, and 169 million square feet have received sustainable certifications, such as LEED certification.

While these are two of the leaders in the industry for ESG, many other REITs are doing their part to make social and environmental improvements utilizing things like green leasing, which holds tenants to a standard for environmental impact. Boston Properties (NYSE: BXP), which develops, owns, and leases class A office buildings, was among the top 4% of all real estate companies on the 2019 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark Assessment, in addition to being Energy Star's partner of the year in 2020.

Thankfully, continued attention and focus on the impact we all have on climate change is pushing some of the biggest investors and real estate owners to adjust their business models to improve environmental and social governance. While no one company can save the planet on its own, seeing how big leaders with big footprints are making big impacts is paving the way for others to do the same. The more companies that take part in this endeavor, the greater the positive impact.

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Liz Brumer-Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Equinix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.