First Capital Realty – First GRI Level B+ CRS Report in the Canadian Real Estate Sector

First Capital Realty Inc. issued the first GRI (Global Reporting Initiative)-compliant, level B, externally assured

First Capital Realty Inc. issued the first GRI (Global Reporting Initiative)-compliant, level B+, externally assured CRS report in the Canadian real estate sector in September 2011.  The company established the highest level of CRS reporting in the Canadian real estate sector with this project.  Since then, a number of Canadian real estate companies have released CRS reports.

Writing and publishing a GRI-compliant CRS report for the first time was daunting.   Understanding the GRI requirements, where to access information to support the production of the report, and conveying accurate information in an easy-to-read, clear, concise report were challenges.  Working with the Company’s Sustainability Council, the Chief Sustainability Officer  finalized the list of GRI indicators. Processes to collect and report on sustainability indicators were established. Assigning separate data owners and reviewers for each sustainability indicator ensured quality control.  The EVP and CFO, President, FCR Management Services LP and General Counsel read the entire report before issuance.  As well, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LP provided “limited assurance” on EN3 (direct energy consumption by primary energy source), EN4 (indirect energy consumption by primary energy source), EN16 (total direct and indirect GHG emissions by weight) and LA1 (total workforce by employment type, employment contract and region).  Finally, the company worked with a communication company to design and produce the report.

This project demonstrated leadership on sustainability in the Canadian real estate sector.   First, this accomplishment provided an example to the real estate sector that companies do not have to wait until they have fully developed programs and established targets to enhance formal communication with stakeholders on environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects of their respective companies.  Second, by releasing a CRS report with indicators that were audited by a third party, the company made a statement on the importance of ESG aspects in business.  Third, the company discussed a significant environmental aspect in the real estate sector that is often excluded from CRS reports:  land use, specifically, risk mitigation strategies on the acquisition and management of land, the percentage of the portfolio comprising brownfields and greenfields, a land metric (net operating income per acre),  and finally the company’s intensification strategy of constructing mixed-used retail, residential and commercial developments on selected properties minimizing land consumption and societal GHG emissions.  Metrics on employees, energy, GHG emissions, water, and waste also were disclosed in the report.