Sustainability Priorities

Creating sustainable impacts, bringing positive change.

What sustainability means to us

As a leading real estate advisor, we are focused on:

  • Evolving our sustainability platform to meet the demand for smarter, climate-resilient, more sustainable and healthier buildings for our tenants and residents
  • Actively engaging our suppliers to encourage the use of sustainable products and services in the operation and development of our assets under management
  • Reducing the energy and carbon footprint of our clients’ portfolios to support the transition towards a low-carbon economy

Adapting to New Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic had significant but varying impacts on buildings’ utility consumption, waste production, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout 2020.

As our office properties adapted to lower occupancies and new operating practices, we witnessed larger-than-average decreases in energy and water use, waste production and GHG emissions. Managing through this difficult operating environment, our teams continued to take the opportunity to reduce utility consumption and decrease operating costs.

Meanwhile, our multi-residential properties accommodated residents who were required to work from home and spend more time indoors, putting pressure on water usage and waste production.

Despite the challenges, our property teams continued to pursue initiatives to limit our managed assets’ impact on the environment. Learn more about what we’re doing to Minimize our environmental footprint.

Performance Highlights


decrease in GHG emissions intensity (2013–2020)


decrease in water use intensity (2013–2020)


green building certification coverage (by floor area for eligible buildings, as at year-end 2020)


decrease in energy use intensity (2013–2020)


decrease in waste to landfill (2013–2020)


in training funding awarded to employees (2020 CY)

Sustainable Development Goals

Aligning our business with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is an important part of our commitment to being a responsible, values-based business that creates positive impacts in society. Three SDGs were identified during our most recent materiality assessment as areas where we can make the greatest contribution:

SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

We continue to develop our clients’ buildings in a way that supports safe, inclusive and sustainable communities, while respecting their cultural and natural heritage.

SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

We play an important role in encouraging the use of sustainable materials through our procurement processes with third parties.

SDG 13 - Climate Action

SDG 13: Climate Action

We are reducing the carbon impact of our clients’ properties and working to ensure their assets are resilient and adaptive to climate-related risks and natural hazards.

Strategic Sustainability Priorities

Our collective focus on four priorities related to our environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance positions us to deliver strong, long-term returns for our clients and contribute to local and global goals for a better and more sustainable future.

Minimize our environmental footprint

Contribute to stronger, livable communities

Attract and retain top talent

Operate with integrity and trust

Minimize our environmental footprint

Responsible investing—which integrates the consideration of ESG issues into the investment process, alongside traditional financial analysis—is an important practice at GWLRA.

Learn more

Materiality Assessment

Each year, we ask individuals from key functions within our organization to help us define high-priority sustainability issues that could have a significant impact on our business and are of greatest interest to our stakeholders.

Insights are derived from ongoing stakeholder engagement as well as reviews of peer sustainability reports, our own business performance and general and sector-specific sustainability standards. GWLRA’s 2020 Annual Review references the GRI Standards (2016) and the GRI-G4 Construction and Real Estate Sector Supplement (CRESS).

Priority topics inform our strategic business objectives and are discussed in our public performance reporting.

Materiality Matrix

GWLRA’s Strategic Business Objectives


Achieve Operational Excellence

Deliver Strong, Long-Term Returns

Attract and Retain Top Talent

Minimize Our Environmental Footprint

Contribute to Stronger, Livable Communities

Operate with Integrity and Trust

Stakeholder Interest
Low Medium High
Low Medium High
Impact on GWLRA’s Business
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Green Buildings
  • Ethics and Integrity
  • Compliance and Risk Management
  • Responsible Investments
  • Tenant Satisfaction
  • Community Development
  • Environmental Management
  • Corporate Governance
  • Safety and Security
  • Talent Diversity and Development

Case Studies

Vancouver Centre Vancouver Centre (Vancouver)
840 Howe St. 840 Howe Street (Vancouver)
The Livmore The Livmore (Toronto)
CHLO London CLHO (London)