GRESB introduced a new award during Greenbuild 2016 to honor leaders in the real estate investment industry, marking a growing interest and commitment in sustainability as a way to increase performance and value of institutional real estate portfolios. Jennifer Young Stevens, principal at the Townsend Group, is the inaugural GRESB Investor Leadership awardee. The Townsend Group provides advisory services to clients such as pension funds that have real estate/real asset allocations exceeding $179.3 billion.
Stevens is an Advisory Board member for GRESB and serves as Townsend’s signatory representative for the United Nations Principals of Responsible Investment (UN PRI). For Stevens, the key to helping clients form smart investment strategy is good, accurate data; the Townsend Group’s partnership with GRESB has allowed them to provide their clients a way to monitor sustainability activity within their real estate portfolios.
“The topic of ESG and sustainability are still fairly new to the real estate investment industry,” says Nils Kok, CEO of GRESB. “We need mainstream investment professionals that bring in that knowledge of sustainability and that’s what Jennifer embodies.”
The GRESB Investor Leadership Award recognizes institutional property investors that demonstrate excellence in engaged, responsible investing. Key qualities GRESB seeks in awardees include a strong track record of attention to the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance of their investments, a demonstrated commitment to requesting ESG disclosure, and a commitment to ongoing engagement with investment managers.
The Townsend Group demonstrates its commitment to ESG through its GRESB membership for both real estate and infrastructure, through its leadership in seeking out GRESB training for analysts throughout the organization, and through the extensive use of the GRESB Portal for investment access requests.