At Gladstone Commercial, we invest in single-tenant and anchored multi-tenant net leased industrial and office properties located in primary and secondary growth markets and with strong underlying land value. We have acquired over 17 million square feet of real estate assets, and we aim to evaluate our impact on the environment and ways in which we may increase our value to our shareholders and other stakeholders.
- Formalized our ESG Policy. We believe that doing the right thing for our people, the environment, and our communities leads to better results for all of our stakeholders.
- Introduced the use of the Measurabl platform to collect data, as possible, from our tenants, including energy and water usage, waste, and Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions. In total, 28 of 121 property sites submitted data for the 2022 calendar year on one or more of these categories, which represents 23% of our properties. Additionally, 22 properties also submitted data for 2021. By square footage, an additional 4% of our portfolio reported energy usage in 2022 compared to 2021, and we anticipate further participation in upcoming years given the very recent introduction of the Measurabl platform. This will provide us with a more complete picture of our portfolio’s environmental impacts and benchmark our progress towards owning and managing more efficient buildings.
- Completed our second year as a member of GRESB (formerly the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) in submitting a real estate assessment on their platform. GRESB collects, validates, scores, and independently benchmarks ESG data to provide business intelligence, engagement tools, and regulatory reporting solutions. The results help us to understand our position within the industry and gain actionable insights which we can share with our properties.
Employee Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
We collect diversity data from employees, including age, gender pay gap, gender identity, international background and racial background. Within Gladstone Commercial, as of December 31, 2022, our employee breakdown is 30% women and 70% men. Further, 30% of employees are under age 30, 40% are between 30 and 50 years old, and 30% are over age 50. Each employee is an integral part of our team, and we seek to support the growth of each employee through training and mentorship.
Board of Directors Diversity
We have an Ethics, Nominating, and Corporate Governance Committee Charter that speaks to our hiring practices for board positions, including a focus on diversity. The committee considers in its review of nominees for director multiple factors which are assessed with the perceived needs of the company and the board at that point in time to maintain a diverse group. Upon the occurrence of any vacancy on the board, the committee will actively seek out highly qualified candidates, including female candidates and racially or ethnically diverse candidates, to include as qualified candidates from which an ultimate nominee for director is chosen. Our current Board is 29% female, 14% ethnically diverse, and 57% of directors are military veterans.
Corporate Governance Policies
All new hires are given copies of documents including a Code of Ethics and Business Conduct, which they must review and provide written acknowledgement that they agree to follow the policies and procedures. The Code contains specific policies on bribery and corruption, cybersecurity, data protection and privacy, fiduciary duty, fraud, and political contributions, among others. We have processes in place to implement training, compliance, and disciplinary actions in case of breach.
The David and Lorna Gladstone Foundation
In 2011, our founder and CEO and his wife set up the David and Lorna Gladstone Foundation and since then have regularly given to charities. This foundation seeks to further the advancement of humankind and personal freedom through the charitable relief of the poor, distressed, and underprivileged; the advancement of religious freedom; the advancement of education; the elimination of prejudice and discrimination; and the prevention of cruelty to animals.
Our asset management team and property managers work diligently to improve asset quality and value. While many of the initiatives we undertake are focused on financial and operational improvements, others are related directly to sustainability.
We continue to structure our leases, both new leases and during the lease renewal process, with green initiatives top-of-mind focusing on the ability to implement “green” projects where appropriate. These include items such as solar arrays, enhanced HVAC, and lighting systems, among other projects. Additionally, our green leases contain language regarding the sharing of sustainability information, including energy, water, and waste data, where appropriate.
Energy Efficiency Projects
Many of our properties have undergone energy or building automation system upgrade projects. Recent projects include an interior LED lighting retrofit at 6363 NW 6th Way in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and updated HVAC system controls at 1000 Business Center Drive in Lake Mary, Florida. Additionally, our asset management team partook in an Energy Treasure Hunt at 150 Ridgeview Center Drive in Duncan, South Carolina to assist our tenant AFL’s Sustainability Team in identifying day-to-day operational energy efficiency improvements in the manufacturing process and associated systems.
Certifications and Ratings
- Fishbeck, our tenant in Grand Rapids, Michigan, received their Wildlife Habitat Council Conservation Certification® in 2023. This is the only voluntary sustainability standard designed for broad-based biodiversity enhancement and conservation education activities on corporate landholdings. In order to achieve this status, Fishbeck implemented habitat improvements on the 14 acres surrounding this office, including forested wetlands, to support the ecosystem and communities around it.
- LEED Core & Shell: Two of our properties are LEED Core & Shell certified, which were awarded in 2008 and 2012. This rating system is designed for projects where the developer controls the design and construction of the entire mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection system—called the core and shell—but not the design and construction of the tenant fit-out.
- LEED Interior Design and Construction: One of our buildings, 4343 Easton Commons in Columbus, Ohio, was awarded LEED Interior Design and Construction certification when it was built in 2009. This certification focuses on developing the indoor spaces of a building.
- ENERGY STAR®: Our property at 6363 NW 6th Way in Fort Lauderdale, Florida was awarded an ENERGY STAR® rating of 81/100 in November 2022, which indicates that it is more energy efficient than 81% of similar properties nationwide. In addition, 13 of our properties currently have ENERGY STAR® scores, with two of those properties having scores over 75, indicating they are top performers.
- Our portfolio’s overall energy performance and water performance is average compared to other buildings that use Measurabl, with efficiency percentiles of 45 and 46, respectively, a good result given the industrial nature of the portfolio and the location and ages of our buildings.