Sustainability For Your Investment Portfolio

Submitted by Brian Thomas on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 14:41.

For those of you with an investment portfolio (what a year, huh?), I'd like to suggest Liberty Property Trust as a potential investment (NYSE: LRY). I work in the Infrastructure and Commercial Real Estate investment space and for those interested in aligning your investment portfolio with your environmental passions, this is a company that is on the leading edge of sustainability in commercial real estate. In 2008, my industry saw a break-out year in green real estate investment and I anticipate more money flowing into the space going forward. Although only 21 of 700 of Liberty's properties are LEED certified, that is a considerable amount for a commercial real estate entity and is far more than most companies I interview; most of whom's management teams aren't committed to green real estate as a movement.

REIT's have faced considerable pressure this year considering the global credit crisis and shortage of debt available for refinancing properties, however, I believe a long-term 5% allocation of your investment portfolio to a group like Liberty Property Trust is a positive step towards a greener future. If you're concious about where you investment money is going, consider companies like Liberty which align investment with sustainability.

Below is a mission statement from the company, I've interviewed this group and can attest that their management is focused on sustainability as a business model:

Liberty is the nation's leading developer of high-performance green office and industrial buildings. For 35 years, Liberty has provided our tenants with cutting-edge real estate solutions that are comfortable, efficient and inspiring. Today we continue that promise with over 6 million square feet of LEED™ registered green space completed or under construction nationwide. We develop green office, industrial and warehouse facilities, retrofit existing buildings and even clean our properties in an environmentally sensitive way. We believe that high-performance green buildings are not only good for the planet, they also create economic value for our tenants, shareholders and employees.

Liberty currently has 36 LEED projects completed or under construction nationwide, more than any other commercial developer in the U.S. In recognition of our commitment to sustainable design, Liberty was awarded the

U.S. Green Building Council’s 2006 National LEED Award for Corporate Leadership, the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties 2007 Green Development Award and CoreNet Global's 2008 Sustainability Leadership Award for Design & Development and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties 2008 Developer of the Year Award.

For more reading check out http://www.zeroenergycbi.org/

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Sustainable Commercial Real Estate?

 ..." this is a company that is on the leading edge of sustainability in commercial real estate."  

I am intrigued, but will have to see more to believe it.  Your posts bear watching.  Thanks for joining RealNEO.  And, may I say, I am jealous that you live close to Mama Santa's and all the food worth remembering in Little Italy.

Welcome

Hello Brian - and good to meet you the other day. It can certainly help many of those I know or am related to with significant (and significantly shrinking) investment portfolios, not me personally (lol). As I mentioned a year ago I researched many of these cutting-edge alternative energy companies and sketched out a design for an alternative energy fund that you or your colleagues in green investments might find interest in, and its a fun process to compile this and track the possibilities.

As your firm is specifically in green real estate(infrastructure)it only makes sense to promote great companies for your investors' portfolios. I certainly didn't have Liberty on my radar, but as I mentioned in conversation, its only logical to sweep the gamut of sustainability oriented, socially responsible enterprises - somewhat like a next-gen Calvert - and accurately identify companies that are the most promising in their respective sectors (Solar, Wind, Biofuel, Fuel Cells, etc) in performance not only due to strong past financial returns and fiscal solvency but whilst maintaining the proper corporate/cooperative philosophy and mindset.  

This helps ensure ethical integrity that inherently includes significant risk management potential and greatly helps long-term success potential, mitigates attrition, etc. I'm sure your research ensures fiscal solvency and hope your interview process covers the rest. The greatest excitement of large portfolio shifts in this green direction is the fiscal support and enrichment that will come to every one of these companies that are long on creativity and innovation potential but short on resources. It can also facilitate key strategic partnerships between organizations within and across green sectors which creates added value.  On the whole the whole system (globe) wins.  And economies thrive.

 Investors clearly want all their investments to do well but as you know, with a Fisher MBA - that never happens - so diversity within alternative energy and social enterprises across a multitude of sectors is the best play again, to spread risk. But the important point is looking beyond bottom-line profit and embracing the proper value systems like the right organizations do, smart strategic partnerships that mitigate risk and ensure win-win outcomes.

As Carly Fiorina put it while CEO of HP:  'Doing Good and Doing Well need not be mutually exclusive outcomes'. As I said, the interview you talked about makes sense and is good to hear, if you screened for all of those key qualities that next generation companies need to embrace. This is drastically different from ethically unsound, non-transparent companies that harbor information-assymetries that result in scandals like with Enron, Tyco, etc that are jumping on 'bandwagon' style and spinning off 'green' ventures with the wrong approaches and mindset, because they aren't truly socially responsible and taking the right approach with the right values.

If you haven't already, take another look at that paper I sent you (re: ring cone) for those value systems and forward thinking design, and look forward to connecting with you soon.  Perhaps Liberty will play a role in redeveloping much needed portions of our own region , or be inspired by some of our efforts in the green development world here and work to make a difference. 

Welcome to realneo!