NEW YORK, May 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In a contested vote, more than 47.5 percent of the shareholders of AvalonBay Communities Inc. (NYSE: AVB) supported more rigorous sustainability reporting practices. The investors' interest in the "green reporting" proposal may be interpreted as a sign of increasing support for measures that help address the economic effects of carbon emissions.
"AvalonBay would be well-served by fully disclosing measures it is taking to mitigate rising energy costs and deal with social and economic risks," said Ahmer Qadeer, Director of Strategic Research at 32BJ SEIU.
While the proposal for "greener" reporting was not initiated by 32BJ SEIU, the union wrote and called shareholders urging them to vote for the proposal. 32BJ asked investors to require AvalonBay to compile an environmental sustainability report based on Global Reporting Initiative standards, and to ensure that AvalonBay takes further steps to protect shareholder value by adhering to a critical set of standards for reporting to investors on the social and environmental impacts of its business.
Buildings in the United States consume more energy (41 percent of the total for the entire economy) and generate more greenhouse gas pollution (40 percent of the total) than any other sector, including transportation and industry. Energy use also counts as one of the fastest-rising costs in residential real estate.
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the interests of efficient and sustainable management are well-aligned with increasing shareholder value. For example, a 2008 Incisive Media survey found that, "Nearly 65 percent of building owners who have implemented green building measures say their investments have already resulted in a positive return." Additionally, 84 percent of the green building owners who responded to Turner Construction Company's "Green Building Barometer" indicated that their "green buildings have resulted in lower energy costs, with 68 percent reporting lower overall operating costs."
With more than 120,000 members in eight states, 32BJ is the largest property service workers union in the country. SEIU Local 32BJ represents employees who work at five AvalonBay properties in New York City. We seek to become the collective bargaining representative of additional workers employed at AvalonBay buildings. Many of 32BJ members' pensions are provided by employee benefit trusts that have interests in AvalonBay Communities.
For more information or a copy of the letter go to: www.troublingdevelopments.org
SOURCE SEIU Local 32BJ