UDR, Inc. (the “Company”) (NYSE: UDR), announced today the release of the Company’s annual ESG Report, which can be accessed on the Company’s ESG website at https://www.udr.com/esg/. The report summarizes the Company’s ESG achievements in calendar year 2020, exhibits the Company’s progress towards its ESG goals, introduces enhanced GHG emissions and energy usage reduction targets after exceeding prior 2025 targets years ahead of schedule, and highlights the Company’s culture as well as support for its associates and residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Concurrently, the Company announced that it earned a 2021 GRESB survey score of 86 (a three point improvement versus the prior year survey) and a GRESB Public Disclosure rating of “A”. With these accomplishments, UDR has been named the GRESB Global and Regional Leader as the #1 ranked listed company in the Residential sector and earned a 4-Star designation for the second consecutive year.
“UDR’s ongoing commitment to enhancing its comprehensive ESG program resulted in an impressive performance in the 2021 GRESB Global Benchmark as the #1 performer and GRESB Global Sector Leader across all listed Residential companies,” remarked Dan Winters GRESB Head of Americas, “With the GRESB benchmark now surpassing 1,500 institutional-quality real estate portfolios worldwide, UDR’s GRESB 4 Star designation places it firmly amongst the global leaders.”
The GRESB survey evaluates real estate companies in areas such as management, governance, sustainability, environmental and social programs and policies. UDR scored well above the GRESB average in each of the survey’s three main categories which are environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and corporate governance. The Company attained a maximum score in social responsibility, a near-maximum score in corporate governance, and its overall score of 86 is well above the 2021 GRESB average score of 72 for listed companies.
The GRESB Public Disclosure survey measures material sustainability disclosures of companies. UDR achieved an “A” rating for the third consecutive year and had the highest score, 96, within its GRESB-determined comparison group.
“I am pleased to report another successful year of ESG accomplishments that further substantiate UDR as a sustainability leader in our industry. Our ongoing investment in ESG initiatives, updating and enhancing certain emissions and energy reduction targets, and the transparent reporting of our progress remain critical to our long-term success as these pay economic, environmental, and social dividends that benefit all stakeholders,” said Tom Toomey, UDR’s Chairman and CEO. “Over the course of the pandemic, ESG initiatives and being a good corporate citizen were perhaps of more importance than ever before to UDR, our associates, our residents, and our stakeholders. UDR remains committed to operating in a sustainable manner across all facets of our business, and we are humbled to be recognized by GRESB as a Global Leader in ESG performance. Our business and the ESG landscape will continue to evolve, but our innovative and adaptive culture, driven by our diverse group of associates, will propel UDR to further success as we remain steadfast in our commitment to being a strong corporate citizen.”
Based on continual feedback from our associates and over 500 virtual meetings conducted in 2020 and early 2021 with a variety of stakeholders including stewardship and investment teams at large and small investment firms, governance groups, and ESG monitoring services, UDR has implemented a variety of enhancements to its ESG initiatives, disclosures, and processes. A sample of the Company’s numerous 2020 ESG achievements are as follows:
- Prepared and presented ESG disclosures in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (“GRI”) standards (core), the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”) standards (Real Estate), and the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (“TCFD”) framework. These internationally recognized ESG frameworks and standards outline the most material and comprehensive ESG disclosures for the real estate industry.
- Regarding Environmental:
- Enhanced common area GHG emissions and energy reduction targets after exceeding prior 2025 targets five years ahead of schedule.
- Aligned current ESG goals with nine United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
- Committed to setting a science-based emissions reduction target through the Science-Based Targets Initiative (“SBTi”), thereby paving the way for the future reporting of Scope 3 emissions.
- Obtained independent, third-party assurance for a variety of environmental initiatives, including progress towards long-term emissions reductions. For the second consecutive year, this assurance affirms our energy, GHG, and water data is accurate, reliable, and in compliance with standards set forth by the World Resource Institute / World Business Council for Sustainable Development Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
- Created a long-term plan to pursue additional Green Building Certifications for existing assets.
- Regarding Social:
- Expanded the scope of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (“DEI”) initiatives.
- Included unconscious bias training for all UDR associates as part of our Diversity and Inclusion training.
- Supported our associates in a variety of ways throughout COVID, including but not limited to one-time bonuses, additional paid time-off, vacation buyouts, more flexible work schedules, and the establishment of new wellness benefits such as physical and mental health programs.
- Launched a culture website where current and prospective associates can learn about the Company’s values.
- Expanded the scope of responsibilities of our Government Affairs team to help secure rental assistance for our residents impacted by COVID. Since this expansion, UDR has sourced approximately $14 million in rental assistance funds (through the end of August 2021) which has helped impacted residents in more than 1,400 of our apartment homes become current on their rent due.
- Regarding Governance:
About UDR, Inc.
UDR, Inc. (NYSE: UDR), an S&P 500 company, is a leading multifamily real estate investment trust with a demonstrated performance history of delivering superior and dependable returns by successfully managing, buying, selling, developing and redeveloping attractive real estate communities in targeted U.S. markets. As of June 30, 2021, UDR owned or had an ownership position in 54,667 apartment homes including 1,417 homes under development. For over 49 years, UDR has delivered long-term value to shareholders, the best standard of service to residents and the highest quality experience for associates.