2020 was a year unlike any other. COVID-19 caused global devastation, with more than 25 million cases reported in the United States and more than 92 million cases worldwide. Natural disasters—from forest fires to
Category 4 hurricanes—battered our nation’s coasts. And, in the wake of several high-profile cases of abuse from those in authority against individuals and communities of color, people across the country took to the streets in protest and public denunciation of systemic racism, shining a light on how members of the communities our industry serves have suffered and struggled to fight for racial and social justice.For many, 2020 inspired a re-assessment of how our industry applies and promotes issues related to the health, both physical and mental, of our tenants and communities.
Nareit member companies are creating programs to address specific health issues in their communities. As you can read about in the current issue, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE: ARE) recently launched OneFifteen Living, a residential housing element of the OneFifteen opioid treatment and recovery campus in Dayton, Ohio.
Alexandria led the design and development of the 4.3-acre campus in partnership with Verily, the life sciences division of Google parent company Alphabet Inc. This program is a perfect example of how REITs have their fingers on the pulse of the needs of their communities and step up to serve them in tangible, effective ways.
Meanwhile, Nareit continued the advancement of ESG in our industry with the celebration of the 15th annual Leader in the Light Awards. These awards recognize REIT member companies that have demonstrated superior and sustained sustainability practices, and you can read what REIT executives see as key ESG trends and topics in this issue. I am excited to see what our industry will bring to sustainability in the next 15 years.
I wish you all a happy and fruitful 2021 and look forward to working to promote Nareit’s efforts to support ESG in the REIT industry in the new year and beyond.
James F. Risoleo
2021 Nareit Chair
President, CEO & Director,
Host Hotels & Resorts