Duke Realty’s annual Corporate Responsibility Report highlights our commitment to corporate responsibility in environmental, social, and governance matters. Each year, Duke Realty takes stock of its sustainability goals and accomplishments.
“There’s no doubt that having these sustainability goals makes Duke Realty a better company for all of its stakeholders,” said Chris Whalen, Vice President, Financial Analysis, who chairs Duke Realty’s Sustainability Council. “And we define stakeholders as including our associates, customers, partners, investors, and the communities where we do business.”
The environmental progress detailed in the 2017 report includes a major step in managing energy use across the Duke Realty portfolio. By partnering with Goby Inc., Duke Realty property managers and tenants will be better able to understand energy usage in our properties and gather data to support meaningful sustainability planning.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” said Whalen, “but over the long term, this makes us more efficient, enables us to be more transparent in our efforts to continue improving energy performance, and allows us to properly benchmark our performance.” Added Whalen: “It also advances our goal of submitting a Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, or GRESB, survey, which is an industry standard survey for sustainable real estate companies.”
On the social side, the 2017 report highlights the professional development of female associates at Duke Realty. In 2017, the Women’s Network was launched to support the development and growth of women at the company. Female associates learn more about the business and receive advice and best practices from other women in the industry, including those on the board of directors.
“If we look at women in the company,” Whalen said, “we see that 19 percent of our upper management are women and 22 percent of our leasing force on our business side includes women. In our Executive Mentoring Program, 67 percent of the participants to date have been women.”
On the governance side, the report highlights the efforts Duke Realty made in 2017 to strengthen our information and cybersecurity. The company instituted a program, based on a National Institute of Standards and Technology framework, to identify vulnerabilities and take the steps necessary to correct them. Duke Realty also achieved a Governance Quality Score of 2, a measurement of low governance risk for existing and potential investors, from ISS, the leading proxy advisory firm. The score puts the company in the top 20 percent of firms in the S&P 500.
“They base their score on board structure, shareholder rights, compensation, audit, and risk oversight. That’s a strong indicator of our corporate governance because it entails several public company best practices that need to be followed,” said Whalen.
Whalen is pleased with the progress overseen by the Sustainability Council, and says one of the most important outcomes is the message it sends about the company as a whole. “We are transparent about our ESG practices, and we see the importance of focusing our efforts on being a sustainable company. The goals we set push us to improve year over year and continue to strive to do even better.”
For 2018, Whalen says Duke Realty’s main corporate sustainability goal is to extend support for sustainability efforts to tenants through a tenant engagement program. “We can share our ESG initiatives with them and partner with them to meet any sustainability objectives they may have as a company. We want to be able to support our customers with reliable answers—to save money and improve their comfort in the asset, as well as reduce their environmental impact. We seek to be responsible, respectful, and resourceful in everything that we do.”