To make its commitment to sustainability accountable to members and the public, the National Association of REALTORS® released its first report to show its progress on multiple fronts. Its ESG+R Report highlights four categories where NAR has committed to making a difference: environment, social, governance, and resilience.
“Leading by example, NAR is driving the real estate industry toward a more efficient and sustainable future,” says NAR CEO Bob Goldberg. “As part of this responsibility, we are strengthening the association’s support of sustainability efforts and increasing engagement on policies and programs that prioritize viability, resiliency, and adaptability. We are working to generate meaningful, lasting change that will benefit both current and future generations.”
By category, NAR’s major sustainability achievements in 2021 include:
Environment: These actionable items had specific and positive impacts, including a reduced energy use and environmental footprint, and helped raise awareness through reports and educational opportunities.
- The Chicago headquarters’ Master Vision Project: Started in 2018, this project has been the first major update to NAR’s building in 60 years. Under normal operations, these changes are expected to bring up to 25% in energy savings from the installation of new mechanical systems and a 75% reduction in energy consumption from the new elevator system. Materials, resources, and waste tracking all aim to meet LEED standards.
- The incorporation of sustainability into C2EX: NAR members earning their C2EX endorsement will now have opportunities to learn about sustainability concepts and how they relate to real estate.
Social: The association led or participated in activities, initiatives, and events to engage employees and communities that promote sustainability and offer opportunities for health, equity, and well-being.
- NAR’s new core value for all employees—advance diversity and inclusion: This new core value established for all NAR employees solidifies the association’s commitment to respecting diversity throughout the organization. It also supports the commitment to an inclusive workplace environment where everyone feels safe to express their authentic self.
- NAR partnership with the Food Recovery Network: In 2021, NAR continued its partnership with FRN to donate unused food portions from major meetings to those most in need. To date, NAR has provided more than 4,170 pounds of unserved meals to local organizations. NAR is asking state and local REALTOR® associations to join this effort by pledging to donate unserved meals at events in their local communities.
- The Home Performance Counts joint initiative with NAR and the National Association of Home Builders: This initiative unites REALTORS® and builders to collaborate with clients on high-performance homes.
Governance: This reflects the introduction of sustainability concepts to members and to state and local associations, using an approach that integrates sustainability into all areas of the hierarchy.
- Partnership with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: NAR and NOAA developed a partnership that keeps members informed on how weather events affect housing and markets.
- 2021 Sustainability Summit: This event, hosted virtually in 2021, included members, industry affiliates, and external partners. Select sessions were streamed to make content more available to the membership.
- Changes to NAR’s Sustainability Advisory Group: This group now includes all chairs who sit on the Public Policy Coordinating Committee and NAR’s vice presidents of advocacy and association affairs.
Resilience: This reflects short- and long-term actions that help REALTORS® and communities respond to and prepare for extreme weather and a changing climate.
- Flood Factor data on realtor.com®: Realtor.com® now includes flood risk data from Flood Factor on each listing to help assess flood risk on individual properties, allowing property owners to accurately evaluate the risk on their properties and prepare for future flooding events.
- NAR’s Smart Growth grants and Placemaking program: This program supported state and local associations in the creation of parks, trails, and community gardens. The natural surfaces of these projects enhance stormwater absorption, and gardens can provide a source of food to help to improve a community’s resiliency.
- NAR support for FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0: On Oct. 1, the Federal Emergency Management Agency began phasing in a new flood insurance pricing system called “Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action.” NAR supports this new system that prices flood insurance for each home individually rather than by flood zone. The adoption of more modern insurance industry technologies, standards, and practices will allow FEMA to rate more precisely and accurately by using more flood risk factors and property-specific characteristics, NAR says. This could allow consumers to make more informed decisions about the risks and costs of insuring a property. Read more: What You Should Know About FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0
For a complete list of 2021 NAR sustainability achievements, view the ESG+R Report.