GE Real Estate announced a new green initiative at the 2007 Greenbuild conference in Chicago last week. The investment giant will embed sustainability into its existing practices, from origination of investments to underwriting, due diligence and asset management.

Conference keynote speaker former President Bill Clinton also announced a partnership between GE Real Estate and the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), which will allow GE to access CCI programs to improve environmental performance of its properties. The Climate Initiative works with major cities and business leaders in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“We recognize that the building sector is one of the largest contributors to [greenhouse gas] emissions, with commercial buildings producing between 30% to 40% of these emissions annually,” said Ron Pressman, president & CEO of GE Real Estate. “We believe GE Real Estate is in a position to reduce those numbers. As one of the world’s largest owners of commercial properties with thousands of buildings in our portfolio, and more added each year, we believe we can make a significant, positive impact on the environment and benefit our business.”

GE Real Estate controls more than $72 billion in assets and generates more than $30 billion in annual transaction volume across 28 countries.

GE Real Estate’s commitment to sustainability includes:

  • Evaluation of acquired properties for environmental improvement retrofits using energy and environmental auditsTracking energy and environmental metrics on GE assets
  • Benchmarking the company’s portfolio through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system and international equivalents
  • Sharing best practices with customers and business partners
  • Engaging partners, customers and vendors across GE’s global network of more than 5,000 relationships on green issues.

Clinton praised GE Real Estate for its commitment. “When it comes to climate change, the hurdles we face aren’t technological, they’re organizational,” he said, “which is why my foundation is partnering with cities, businesses, nonprofits and schools alike to design systems and programs that reduce energy consumption.”