Veris Residential is the result of a new way of thinking about business, multifamily real estate and sustainability. In 2021 the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation rebranded to Veris Residential, Inc. (Veris) reflecting the company's new strategic direction and corporate values as a purely multifamily real estate investment trust (REIT). The rebrand is driven in many ways by a new commitment to sustainability. According to Mahbod Nia, Chief Executive Officer, said, "Since the establishment of our ESG committee in July 2020, the Board of Directors and management team have worked tirelessly to intricately weave environmental and social considerations into the fabric of the company, serving as a compass to inform our current and future decision-making. Our new brand, Veris Residential, encapsulates our responsible, transparent, and forward-thinking approach, underpinned by a unified culture grounded in equality and meritocratic empowerment."
Veris’ sole focus now is to be a forward-thinking, environmentally- and socially-conscious REIT that primarily owns, operates, acquires, and develops holistically-inspired, Class A multifamily properties that meet the sustainability-conscious lifestyle needs of today's residents while seeking to positively impact the communities it serves and the planet at large.
This change has set Veris on an ambitious and aggressive trajectory to achieve lofty sustainability goals. They include commitment to measure and disclose their progress, reduce and manage their energy consumption, and procure renewable energy and offset their carbon footprint according to their 2022 ESG Report. Veris’ thinking here is driven by environmentally friendly decisions allowing them to make significant progress in an extremely short amount of time.
Progress Based on Thoughtful Pressure
With respect to the environment, Veris set a target to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by 2030 (compared to 2019). They increased the number of Green Certified (LEED® or equivalent) to nearly 60% of the managed multifamily portfolio by the end of 2022, a significant increase from the 42% achieved at the end of 2021. The company has also committed to procuring 100% of the electricity for its wholly-owned residential portfolio from renewable sources. This was achieved by procuring renewable energy certificates (RECs) to mitigate 19,850 MWh of electricity consumption in 2022, Green-e RECs were also purchased for energy consumption in their corporate office, mitigating 350 MWh of electricity consumption. Looking forward, the company plans to explore other avenues for both onsite and offsite renewable energy generation to further mitigate scope 2 emissions.
With the efforts being led by Karen Cusmano, Senior Vice President and Head of Sustainability and ESG, Veris Residential has been recognized for its commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives. As she stated after the release of Veris’ 2021 ESG Report, this reflects the work our team has undertaken to advance our mission to become a purpose-driven business to the benefit of all of our stakeholders, while protecting and improving our value creation. We remain unwavering in our commitment to build upon our ESG accomplishments to date.”
Recognizing the purpose driven approach Nia recently added that “we recognize that the built sector has an outsized impact on global carbon emissions and as such, have taken meaningful steps to further mitigate our carbon footprint and combat climate change for the well-being of our residents, employees, suppliers and communities. These accomplishments underscore Veris’ dedication to responsibly owning and operating its properties, while remaining an industry leader in ESG. Looking ahead, we will continue to evaluate opportunities to enhance our properties to meet residents' sustainability-conscious lifestyle preferences, empower our employees with the tools they require to succeed, and reduce our energy consumption in support of our communities and the planet—all while creating value for our shareholders."
Future Goals and Commitments
As Veris continues to be dedicated to responsibly owning and operating its properties while remaining an industry leader in ESG, opportunities for further progress remain. Knowing that they’ll continue to use RECs in their renewable energy procurement strategy, as well as look for other onsite and offsite generation methods, they could consider an approach with more impact and scalability. That’s where RECs with Additonality come would come in and add a great deal of value. RECs with additionality could have improve Veris Residential's progress in several ways:
Increasing the speed of grid transition to renewable energy: RECs with additionality support the development of new renewable energy projects, accelerating the transition to a cleaner energy grid.
Mitigating costs over time: By using RECs with additionality, Veris Residential could potentially mitigate the costs associated with continued renewable energy procurement.
Enhancing marketing claims for sustainability: RECs with additionality allow companies to make more impactful marketing claims, showcasing their commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
Providing scale to emission reduction strategies: As Veris Residential's business continues to grow, RECs with additionality can help scale their emission reduction strategies to cover increased electricity consumption.
In conclusion, Veris has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by using RECs to source 100% renewable electricity for its office headquarters and communal areas within its multifamily properties. But, by considering the use of RECs with additionality, the company could further enhance its sustainability efforts, accelerate the transition to renewable energy, and make a more significant positive impact on the environment and society. Notwithstanding, Veris’ present dedication to ESG initiatives and its recognition in the industry demonstrates its determination to create a more sustainable, responsible, and inclusive future for all stakeholders.