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.

 

VEREIT’s business model is to provide equity capital to creditworthy corporations in return for long-term leases on their properties. 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 environmental awareness and engage with our tenants on sustainability practices and solutions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and waste

 

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

 

» Promote environmental mindfulness with our employees and processes to use natural resources or energy more efficiently

 

 

Activities at our Corporate Locations

VEREIT’s corporate headquarters, located in Phoenix, AZ, has been certified as a platinum LEED green building by the U.S. Green Building Council. VEREIT’s New York and Illinois corporate offices have also been certified as LEED green buildings. The following requirements are followed by VEREIT and the vendors that service VEREIT’s offices to receive this designation:

 

» 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 2020, the Company saved more than 2,000 pounds of wood through the use of digital signature software and saved more than 17 trees from destruction through the Shred-It™ shredding and recycling initiative. Through these programs, VEREIT demonstrates not only a dedication to security, but also a commitment to reducing carbon emissions, water use and energy waste. Since 2019, VEREIT has recycled more than 600 pieces of IT equipment and facility appliances. 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 temperature at our corporate headquarters 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. As of December 31, 2020, VEREIT owns 25 LEED certified buildings.

 

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 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 relevant environmental components.

 

» 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, led by a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP), 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 insurance coverage.

 

 

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.

 

Leasing

Most properties acquired by VEREIT have long term leases in place at the time of acquisition. Generally, lease agreements executed by VEREIT include a component which requires the tenant to abide by all adopted local and national building and energy codes laws, which would include any applicable environmental laws. 

 

Activities Within our Portfolio

VEREIT strives to encourage the sustainability initiatives of our tenants. VEREIT researches major tenant sustainability initiatives annually and, where possible, partners with tenants to achieve sustainable outcomes, including:

 

» Energy management: Through the installation of LED lighting and the use of Building Automation Systems (BAS), property energy efficiency is increased. With BAS technology and Energy Management Systems (EMS), cooling, heating and lighting is optimized based on the number of occupants in a space.  As an example, at two of our million square foot distribution centers, VEREIT recently replaced existing incandescent fixtures with LED lights. Additionally, the Company also installed large-diameter ceiling fans and rotating fans to increase energy efficiency by improving heat mitigation capabilities. State of the art lighting and ventilation control systems were also installed to optimize energy efficiency.

 

» Cool Roofing: Energy loss prevention is achieved through the installation of cool (reflective) TPO roofing. This technology works through reflecting solar radiation into the atmosphere instead of allowing it to be absorbed into the building structure. The installation of this system reduces cooling costs, especially during midyear peak demand. The white TPO VEREIT utilizes has an initial solar reflective index (SRI) of 95, which is well above the latest minimum USGBC LEED (v4) SRI requirement of 82. Since 2019, VEREIT has completed 65 TPO roof replacement or recover projects which have covered 2.4 million square feet.

 

» Energy Procurement: VEREIT has achieved energy savings and risk mitigation by sourcing renewable energy via power purchase agreements, where feasible, in deregulated states. To date, VEREIT has sourced renewable energy for approximately 16 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of annual electric consumption, offsetting 11,313 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This energy procurement is the equivalent of offsetting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2,444 passenger vehicles driven for one year* or offsetting CO2 emissions from over 12 million pounds of coal burned*. [*Source: EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator]

 

» Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging: In 2020, VEREIT began partnering with tenants and premier providers (Volta Charging, Blink Charging) to install charging stations where feasible in our portfolio.

 

» Waste Diversion: The Company has implemented waste reduction practices at parking refurbishment/replacement projects by recycling 100% of the paving material removed onsite. Through this system, VEREIT uses the highest percentage of recycled base materials allowed per the respective jurisdictional authority standards. Since 2019, VEREIT has completed 53 parking lot projects using recycled material totaling 1.46 million square feet.

 

» Water Conservation: Water conservation is achieved through the installation of water-efficient fixtures (low-flow faucets, urinals and toilets), smart metering, xeriscaping, drip irrigation, and installing tankless water heaters.

 

VEREIT’s construction and property management teams conduct periodic inspections to assess building equipment, roof, HVAC, and all other systems to ensure optimal performance, and when appropriate, source qualified vendors to replace defective parts with sustainable, high-efficiency components.

 

VEREIT’s Operations team, led by a LEED Green Associate (LEED GA), along with the Property Management team, engages with tenants to participate in sustainability programs such as LEED or Energy Star certification, GHG emission reductions, and water efficiency efforts to maintain environmental standards. 

 

While the operations at most of our properties are controlled by our tenants, 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 12.31.20)

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

4.8%

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

3.6%

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

3.2%

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.

3.0%

Has been recognized among the Top 20 commercial solar power users in the U.S. by the Solar Energy Industries Association and has been recognized in the Maplecroft Climate Innovation Leaders’ Index.  

2.7%

 

 

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: