I am pleased and honored to begin my term as Nareit’s 2022 Chair. I’m fortunate to be following so many other Nareit Chairs who have made important contributions to Nareit and our industry, especially my immediate predecessor, Jim Risoleo. Jim provided strong leadership for Nareit’s programs and outreach efforts over the course of a year in which the REIT industry faced the challenges of an ongoing pandemic and its impacts on our marketplace. Those challenges will still be with us in the year ahead.
At the beginning of November, Nareit held its second virtual REITworld, our industry’s annual convention. And, while we had excellent participation in the event, we are optimistic about once again bringing our industry together for in-person conferences in 2022.
The past few years have been a period of significant legislative and regulatory activity, and we expect that activity to extend into 2022. Nareit will continue to represent our industry on Capitol Hill, advocating with policymakers for appropriate tax treatment for REIT-based real estate investment with the aim of increasing the breadth and depth of income producing real estate investment in the U.S. and empowering everyday investors to invest in America’s future.
Companies across the globe have placed ESG matters high on their priority lists in recent years. The REIT industry in particular has made important strides in sustainability, as the net zero article in this issue illustrates. In the year ahead, Nareit will continue its efforts to help REITs and the broader real estate community integrate sustainable business practices into their operations.
ESG, importantly, includes a focus on diversity and inclusion in business practices. Over the past two years, Nareit and the REIT industry have made significant progress in promoting diversity and inclusion, at the policy level through the activities of councils like the Nareit Diversity, Equity and Inclusion CEO Council, and through hands-on programs like the Foundations: REIT and Commercial Real Estate internship program. This program will place college students from diverse backgrounds into internships at more than two dozen Nareit corporate member companies in 2022—an important step in helping shape the character of our industry to better reflect the tenants and communities it serves.
Of course, in the coming year, we also will be actively reaching out to investors of all types to communicate the value of the REIT investment proposition. Our investor outreach will continue to include a strong emphasis on direct interaction with the decision makers who steer the investment strategies of the funds responsible for the retirement security of millions of Americans.
2022 promises to be a year of challenges, but also opportunities for the REIT industry. As Nareit’s Chair, I look forward to helping our REIT community manage both in the year ahead.
2022 Nareit Chair
President & CEO
Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc.