Sustainability is one of Bentall Kennedy’s core values, and its REME Award-winning ForeverGreen Strategy demonstrates exemplary practices in sustainability, such as seeking out innovative solutions for managing waste streams. Bentall Kennedy’s sustainability initiatives also enhance the reputation of the real estate industry. One way it does this is by raising the bar on data reporting from waste service providers. Since 2010, waste to landfill has decreased by 7 percent, while waste diversion rates have increased.
“When it comes to waste management, our main focus is on reducing the amount that is sent to landfills while driving improvements in our waste diversion numbers. As part of our ForeverGreen strategy, we seek innovative solutions to drive improvements across our portfolio. To the teams at Bentall Kennedy, sustainability is simply better business,” said senior vice president Cheryl Gray, CPM®. “Our environmental, social and governance practices enhance long-term value for investors by reducing risks, reducing operating costs and increasing tenant loyalty.”
Repurposing Infected Trees: Bentall Kennedy discovered that the emerald ash borer—a beetle hazardous to ash trees—had moved onto several of its properties. An innovative solution was offered by a waste service provider that enabled the organization to reduce its environmental impact, while also contributing to the community. The solution was to repurpose trees into valuable wood products on-site, then deliver the products to suppliers for distribution to the local marketplace. As a result, more than 95 percent of damaged trees onsite were diverted from the landfill, and other Bentall Kennedy properties have since considered this alternative, creating almost 6,000 pounds of lumber. Since milling is done onsite, there are also no transportation costs or emissions.
Engaging Shoppers – E-Waste Retail Challenge: Bentall Kennedy retail teams across Canada launched the National E-Waste Challenge during Earth Week. Twenty-one shopping centers across Canada participated to keep landfills free of computers, televisions and other electronic devices. In one day, 182,084 pounds of e-waste was diverted from reaching landfills and carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 253,805 pounds.
Reducing Its Coffee Footprint: Two of Bentall Kennedy’s Ontario malls were the first shopping centers in Canada to launch the Grounds to Garden program, designed to erase the properties’ “coffee footprint” by repurposing used coffee grounds into a sustainable potting soil.
Recycling Cigarette Butts: At a single-tenant suburban office property in Mississauga, the property management team began recycling cigarette butts. When cigarette collection bins are emptied, the contents are shipped to a processing company and recycled into a variety of industrial products, such as plastic pallets, and any remaining tobacco is reworked into tobacco composting. After only six months, the property is now shipping out a box of butts every three weeks, and has sent 195 pounds, or an eye-opening 266,000 butts, to be recycled.
Keeping an Eye on Future Sustainability Opportunities
There are still many opportunities for growth as it relates to waste reduction across our portfolio,” said Gray. “We will continue to work with our waste service providers to refine processes and get better data. We will continue to engage tenants in waste reduction initiatives and expand our offering of zero waste services. We will continue to take lessons learned from pilot projects such as cigarette butt recycling and share those lessons and best practices across the organization to encourage uptake at other properties.”
A video about Bentall Kennedy’s ForeverGreen Strategy is available at www.irem.org/remewinners.
The IREM® REME Awards recognize real estate management companies and individual practitioners for innovative, leading-edge, business practices and initiatives. For more information about the 2016 IREM® REME Awards, visit www.irem.org/REME.