Last week my little son was born -- welcome Jonah! I have to admit that this is (already) the most amazing experience that I've ever had. Wow! The good news is that with his rhythm, even my nights will become productive...!
The commercial real estate sector is responsible for a large share of a city’s overall carbon footprint. An ongoing trend in this sector has been the entry of big-box stores such as Wal-Mart. Using a unique monthly panel data set for every Wal-Mart store in California from 2006 through 2011, we document three main findings about the environmental performance of big-box retailers. First, Wal-Mart’s stores exhibit very little store-to-store variation in electricity consumption relative to a control group of similar size and vintage retail stores. Second, Wal-Mart’s store’s electricity consumption is lower in higher priced utilities and is independent of the store’s ownership versus leased status. Third, unlike other commercial businesses, Wal-Mart’s newer buildings consume less electricity. Together, these results highlight the key roles that corporate size and centralization of management play in determining a key indicator of a firm’s overall environmental performance.
This paper investigates how political preferences of real estate investors affect their investment decision-making. Specifically, we address the relationship between the political color of CEOs and the corporate sustainability of U.S. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). We hypothesize that REITs with Republican-oriented CEOs are less likely to own “green” buildings as compared to REITs with Democrat-leaning CEOs. For each REIT CEO, we determine the ratio of contributions to Democrats compared to total political contributions during federal elections, and analyze whether this ratio is related to REIT holdings of “green” buildings, measured by Energy Star and LEED certification. We find that the Democrat ratio is positively related to the likelihood and intensity of green property investment of a REIT when we use the Energy Star label as a proxy for portfolio greenness. We do not find a significant relationship between political preference and ownership of LEED-labeled buildings. Additionally, we document that REITs with less experienced CEOs and larger firm size, as well as REITs operating in greener locations, are more likely to invest in green buildings.