Property companies can now report their sustainability and corporate performance in a standardised format

5 August 2009 – The Property Council of Australia has released for public consultation a new do-it-yourself guide to sustainability and corporate responsibility for property companies.

Launched by Assistant Treasurer Senator Nick Sherry, A Guide to Corporate Responsibility Reporting in the Property Sector, will standardise the metrics the industry uses to report corporate responsibility, according to Property Council chief executive officer, Peter Verwer.

“It provides a simple, voluntary, entry level template for property companies that can be easily customised to the needs of individual corporations,” Mr Verwer said.

“While the rules for financial accounting are (relatively) well accepted, there is no cut-out-and-keep guide to reporting for the property sector.

“This guide will revolutionise corporate responsibility (CR) reporting in our industry, and ensure non-financial performance is transparent, meaningful and comparable,” Mr Verwer said.

The move comes ahead of an announcement, reported by The Fifth Estate on 3 July, by the Global Reporting Initiative to develop global guidelines to harmonise corporate reporting on sustainability issues for the construction and real estate sector, expected to be a two year process.

Mr Verwer said: “The global GRI is only getting under way. It will be two years before it becomes part of the G3 suite of reporting standards.”

The PCA had a model ready now. It had worked with leading Australian property companies and listed entities as well as liaising with the PCA’s British, US, Japanese and Canadian counterparts to create the framework for the initiative, Mr Verwer said.

“It draws on the thinking contained in many global standards, including the Global Reporting Initiative and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes.

Investa’s General Manager, Sustainability, Safety & Environment, Craig Roussac who was part of the PCA’s sustainability round table that developed the project, said the Global Reporting Initiative would be welcome but there were significant difficulties that could delay the product because of the complexities of geographical differences and the differences between for profit and not for profit organisations.

A Guide to Corporate Responsibility Reporting in the Property Sector is out for public consultation for 12 months. See: www.propertyoz.com.au/cr

tperinotto@thefifthestate.com.au