Environmental

VEREIT’s portfolio consists primarily of single-tenant triple-net lease commercial real estate. A triple-net lease is an agreement in which the tenant occupies the property as if they are the owner and is responsible for all obligations related to the property, including maintenance, taxes, insurance, improvement costs and utilities. Because of the inherent structure of the leases included in VEREIT’s portfolio, the tenant is generally responsible for any environmental practices and conditions related to the leased property, such as energy usage or other environmental sustainability practices. Although VEREIT tenants manage sustainability standards for the net lease properties the Company owns, VEREIT facilitates and encourages tenant improvements when possible.

 

While VEREIT’s ability to manage the environmental practices of the properties included in the Company’s portfolio is limited, VEREIT remains committed to influencing positive environmentally-focused change where possible. As part of our environmental practices, we are driven to assist our tenants, stakeholders and employees and strive to: 

 

» Encourage awareness and engage with our tenants on sustainability practices and solutions

» Continue to evaluate and understand risks and opportunities as they arise within the business

» Promote environmental mindfulness with our employees and processes

 

Activities at our Corporate Headquarters

VEREIT’s corporate office, located in Phoenix, AZ, has been certified as a platinum LEED green building by the U.S. Green Building Council. The following components have been applied to VEREIT and the vendors that service VEREIT’s headquarters to receive this designation:

 

» Trash and recycling audits to ensure a single-stream recycling process is utilized

» Use of environmentally friendly cleaning products

» Electronic recycling and donations

» Utilization of energy efficient LED lighting

» Properly disposing of hazardous materials such as batteries, electronics, toner and ink

» Office furnishings are made of low-Volatile Organic Compounds

 

In VEREIT’s other offices, these practices are utilized where applicable. VEREIT employees have also reduced paper consumption through the implementation of approval software and digital signature policies. In 2019, VEREIT saved more than 360 trees from destruction through the Shred-It™ shredding and recycling initiative. Through this program, VEREIT demonstrates not only a dedication to security, but also a commitment to reducing carbon emissions, water use and energy waste. VEREIT recycled more than 600 pieces of IT equipment and facility appliances in 2019. Plastic waste has decreased through providing employees reusable drink containers and purified water dispensers in lieu of single-use plastic water bottles. VEREIT purchases ENERGY STAR certified computers, monitors and printers for its offices and remote locations. The Company’s energy conservation program includes constant monitoring of the corporate office temperature and established practices regarding air conditioning and heating. Window blinds are actively managed during the summer months to conserve energy and costs. The Company has established these standards to ensure our business is environmentally sustainable.

 

 

Properties

Trip Reduction Program 

VEREIT participates in the Phoenix Valley Metro’s Clean Air Campaign Trip Reduction Program. Employees are rewarded for their use of alternative transit options including, walking, taking the bus and carpooling to work. VEREIT employees can utilize facilities for bike-riders and electric car charging stations in support of this initiative. VEREIT has received numerous awards for the Trip Reduction Program including Outstanding Leadership and Outstanding Transportation Coordinator. These awards are presented by the Phoenix Valley Metro Clean Air Campaign for the Company’s efforts in reducing transportation-based emissions. VEREIT also encourages employees to stay on site for lunch by subsidizing a portion of the meals that are delivered in bulk by select providers which decreases lunch-time driving.

 

Activities in Connection with our Portfolio Investments

Within our acquisition process, our commitment to environmental sustainability and the mitigation of environmental risks begins before we buy a property and continues throughout the process.

 

Pre-Acquisition Due Diligence: 

 

» VEREIT requires that an independent environmental engineering consultant firm deliver a Phase I environmental assessment identifying any recognized environmental conditions affecting the property. This evaluation identifies the potential environmental risks and liabilities that might arise from the ownership or operation of the property based upon environmental laws and regulations. The independent assessment includes analyzing the physical setting of the asset, the structure of the property, and any historic data that exists that provides insight regarding the environmental components necessary to examine.

» In addition to this third-party assessment, VEREIT’s Underwriting team visits each property being considered for acquisition, interviews on-site personnel, takes photos of the building and surrounding area, and performs industry-standard due diligence. This on-site visit focuses on the property and surrounding trade area and factors such as climate events and climate preparedness are also considered. Additionally, the Underwriting team analyzes Property Condition Reports and a potential tenant’s insurance requirements when completing the Due Diligence process. When evaluating potential real estate property acquisitions, VEREIT’s Construction team considers these same factors when completing build-to-suit and forward take-out projects.

» When environmental conditions are identified in connection with potential acquisitions, VEREIT, in partnership with the seller, may have additional environmental screenings performed, develop improvement plans with resolution goals or purchase additional environmental coverage insurance.

 

Once VEREIT’s pre-acquisition due diligence has been completed, and the Company is satisfied with the environmental results, an agreement is reached to acquire the property. Generally, lease agreements executed by VEREIT include a component which requires for the tenant to abide by all local and national laws, which would include any applicable environmental laws. 

 

Activities Within our Portfolio

VEREIT strives to encourage the sustainability initiatives of our tenants. VEREIT’s Property Management team engages with tenants to participate in their environmental programs, such as LEED certification, GHG reporting, carbon intensity testing, water efficiency and FSC certification to maintain environmental standards. 

 

VEREIT’s business model is to provide equity capital to creditworthy corporations in return for long-term leases on their properties.  Typically, these tenants are large public companies or consumer-recognized private companies that share our values in sustainability practices.  Notable tenant accomplishments include:

 

 

Tenant

Environmental Achievements (based on public disclosure of tenant)

% of VEREIT Portfolio Based on Annualized Rental Income (as of 12.31.19)

Has been certified by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI), Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), and engaged in Aquaculture Improvement Projects (AIPs).

4.7%

Serves on the Sustainability Program Steering Committee for the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).

3.5%

Participates in the SmartWay Shipper Performance Program to reduce the environmental footprint associated with shipping logistics.

3.1%

Has partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge by committing to reduce energy use by 20% by 2020 across 100 million square feet of real estate.

3.1%

Is a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and received a B+ rating from the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition. 30% of paper used in the retailer’s circulars is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.  

2.7%

 

 

In addition to monitoring the environmental achievements of the Company’s tenants, VEREIT has also facilitated the implementation of the following environmental improvements in select properties included in the portfolio:

 

» Installed energy-saving technology such as sensors and measurement tools to track usage and identify inefficiencies.

» Made improvements to property insulation to ensure energy is not wasted because of unnecessary heating or cooling practices.

» Evaluated existing building equipment, such as air conditioners, heaters, hot water tanks, and thermostats to confirm that the most energy efficient materials are being utilized; and

» Sourced qualified vendors, when applicable, to assess or install energy-saving appliances and other environmental materials.

 

VEREIT is partnering with The Hartford’s Internet of Things Innovation Lab in a pilot program aimed at adopting tech-connected devices to predict and prevent loss while leveraging data to provide unique value to property owners. This program utilizes wearable technology, water flow monitors and infrared cameras to provide insights into operational efficiencies, energy consumption and water usage. The program enables an owner to gain insight into foot traffic patterns, space utilization, overall building health, occupant safety, energy consumption and water usage in the pursuit of creating more efficient properties.

 

VEREIT utilizes green building criteria in capital expense projects when possible, such as the use of recycled material in parking lot remediation work, and the use of membranes in roof replacement projects that deliver high solar reflectance.

 

In addition to utilizing environmental best practices to guide portfolio management, VEREIT also contributes to steering the REIT industry on ESG issues through participation in Nareit’s Real Estate Sustainability Council. This group helps shape the REIT industry on ESG topics and is made up of corporate member thought leaders.

 

Climate Risk

The properties included in VEREIT’s portfolio are located across the United States and Puerto Rico. As earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters occur, the Company monitors the impact to VEREIT properties and the affected communities. VEREIT manages environmental impact by monitoring vulnerabilities and developing emergency response plans, in addition to carrying all-risk property, rental value and environmental pollution insurance on its properties.

Corporate Responsibility 2

At VEREIT, we are committed to serving our tenants, stakeholders, and employees through our business approach which is disciplined, transparent, and consistent.  This model permeates into every part of our business, including company culture, environmental initiatives, and our community involvement. Learn more about VEREIT's Corporate Responsibility: