Getting to the top is one thing, staying there is another
Back in 2009, GPT won the Banksia Large Business Sustainability Award and topped the DJSI real estate global rankings for the first time. Five years later and GPT again won the Banksia award and regained the DJSI global real estate top position (for the fourth time).
So what has it taken for GPT to get on top and maintain an unprecedented period of leadership?
The values instilled in the organisation from inception by founder Dick Dusseldorp no doubt provided the foundation, with a focus on maximizing value for all stakeholders, a long term perspective and simply doing the right thing. Combined with strong risk management, the Dusseldorp ethos is aligned with the fundamental sustainability objective of passing on a world to future generations that is at least as good as the one we have the privilege of inhabiting. It has attracted a succession of like-minded people and enabled them to conquer the inertia of the status quo in seeking better and more sustainable ways of doing things.
Image: The GPT Team accepting the Banksia Award 2014.
GPT has always had many fine examples to draw upon in pressing its claim to leadership, with the following being some factors that have helped to cement it at the global pinnacle of sustainability performance:
|•||Clearly communicated flags on the hill. All eleven aspects of sustainability have publicly available policies with clear aspirations such as carbon neutrality and zero harm. As impressive as the awards may be, much remains to be done before GPT’s policy ambitions are realised. Until then, the best it can hope to be is merely the least unsustainable real estate business in the world.|
|•||Well measured = well managed. Clearly defined KPIs, combined with stringent target setting, data collection, rigorous monitoring and an ISO-based systematic approach have all contributed to dramatic improvements. By way of example, public liability claims have reduced from over 10 per month to less than a handful and carbon emissions are down by ~35% over the last five years alone.|
|•||Governance, accountability and independence. Board committee reviews, Leadership Team reporting, key metrics included in line management Performance Agreements and independent assurance mean that performance is accurately and routinely assessed and made available to all stakeholders via the company website.|
|•||Integration. It is said that good sustainability performance is a proxy for good management, and is why relevant roles are held to account in achieving results. Sustainability needs to be embedded.|
|•||Actual performance must always be the highest priority, but thorough analysis and completion of the various industry measures, submissions and benchmarks are also fundamental to achieving global success. To this end, GPT provides extensive public reporting on all material items. Transparency in reporting, with the offer for others to hold us to account, accentuates the incentive to excel.|
It is terrific that there is close competition at the top and I expect that continued focus on striving to meet its policy objectives will help to ensure that GPT remains a global leader.