First Capital Realty (FCR-T) was selected as the highest-rated Canadian real estate company and sixth overall in Corporate Knights’ inaugural “Future 40 Responsible Corporate Leaders in Canada” rankings.
Being chosen as the top Canadian real estate company was one of the highlights of First Capital Realty Inc.’s recently released “2014 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) Report.”
“First Capital Realty believes that living up to our social and environmental responsibilities simply makes good business sense,” said First Capital Realty vice-president and chief sustainability officer Rosemary Martin.
“It gives us a stronger foundation to prosper, it ensures the long-term viability of the properties we own, it helps us to attract and retain the best tenants, and it defines our presence and reputation as a contributor to the communities in which we live and work.”
Corporate Knights ranking indicators
First Capital Realty was recognized by Corporate Knights in a ranking system that identifies companies performing at the highest levels in striking a balance across 12 indicators: sales; environment (energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, waste, recycling); health and safety; employee turnover; compensation; pay equity; earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization; taxes; innovation capacity; clean capitalism pay link; leadership diversity; and pensions.
First Capital Realty is Canada’s leading owner, developer and manager of grocery-anchored urban properties. It owns interests in 157 properties that total approximately 24.3 million square feet of gross leasable area.
While Martin says the company delivered a one-hour sustainability awareness seminar to employees across the country, the CRS report indicates other organizations have also taken notice of its efforts.
International Council for Shopping Centres awards
The 120 Lynn Williams property, located at Shops at King Liberty in Toronto, was awarded the 2014 International Council for Shopping Centres (ICSC) Silver Maple Leaf Award for New Development Design Excellence. The company’s Yorkville Village property in Toronto was awarded the 2014 ICSC Gold Maple Leaf Award for Cause-Related Marketing for its art festival that partnered with OCAD University.
First Capital Realty’s CRS strategy is driven by five guiding principles that it has combined to form the acronym ANTHEM: Analyze long-term effects; Think globally, act locally; Evolve; Mitigate risk; and Maximize value.
According to the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, First Capital Realty has made its greatest progress with the product and service labeling indicator, which covers sustainability certifications and rating and labeling schemes for new construction, management, occupation and redevelopment.
BOMA BESt and LEED designations
That’s backed up by the fact that 34 First Capital Realty properties, comprising 2.9 million square feet, achieved Building Owners and Managers Association Building Environmental Standards (BOMA BESt) certifications last year while 23 new construction projects comprising 422,000 square feet of gross leasable area were certified to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
In the last five years, First Capital Realty has constructed three developments that use geothermal technology for heating and cooling: Leaside Village and Fuzion Retail in Toronto; and Broadmoor Shopping Centre in Richmond, B.C.
The company’s total 2014 greenhouse gas emissions decreased by three per cent from 2013 levels, notwithstanding a three per cent increase in gross leasable area. The goal is to decrease its energy and greenhouse gas emissions by five per cent by the end of this year, based on a like-to-like portfolio using 2012 as the baseline.
The results to date look promising, according to Martin.
Energy and cost savings
First Capital Realty completed recommissioning investigations at 11 properties, identifying more than six million equivalent kilowatt hours of annual savings last year. As a result of implementing many findings from these investigations, the company expects to realize annual cost savings of $375,000.
“The company’s urban intensification focus supports mixed-use projects with more asset types co-existing, more amenities and more assets per acre of land,” said Martin.
“Consuming fewer resources to achieve our goals increases our efficiency, profitability and, ultimately, sustainability.”