California-based real estate investment trust company, Macerich, is a leading owner, operator, and developer of retail and mixed-use real estate. An industry leader in sustainability, Macerich prioritizes its ambitious environmental goals and strong dedication to climate action and carbon neutrality. At the same time, Macerich tenants—who have largely also integrated sustainability and climate action into their core values—have also begun to push for sustainable, green spaces.
With a portfolio of over fifty properties across the US, consistently tracking and managing ESG data is no easy feat. Retail and mixed-use spaces are large and complex with many moving parts, so measuring and managing the environmental impacts of properties, tenants, visitors, and supply chain members is often complex.
As an ESG leader, Macerich and its team work continuously to broaden the scope of the company’s sustainability practices, policies, and objectives. In 2015, Macerich submitted its first CDP disclosure and enlisted ADEC ESG Solutions for support. Together, we have worked to help improve Macerich’s CDP performance, manage the company’s overall sustainability data, and encourage its continued growth as a sustainability leader.
CDP support and development
2015 was a monumental year for Macerich’s sustainability initiatives. In 2015, the company submitted its first disclosure to both CDP and GRESB, and it set baselines for energy, waste, and water goals. For support on CDP, the Macerich team reached out to ADEC ESG for a Gap Analysis for their 2015 Climate Change disclosure to help pinpoint potential areas for improvement. This was expanded to a Scoring Assessment for their 2016 Climate Change disclosure, which included a full evaluation of the company’s draft response and specific suggestions on how to achieve greater performance.
From 2017 onwards, the Macerich and ADEC ESG teams have worked together on the company’s Full Disclosure Completion for CDP Climate Change disclosures. Here, we work side-by-side with Macerich during the entire CDP process—from start to finish. Through work sessions and response development, we walk through and draft responses for all categories in the questionnaire to make the CDP questionnaire and the submission process itself more manageable and streamlined.
Macerich has maintained CDP Leadership levels since its first response in 2015 and has made CDP’s prestigious A List in 2015, 2016, and every year since 2018.
GHG Inventory and data management partners
To support Macerich’s CDP disclosure and other reporting initiatives, ADEC ESG was also contracted to develop the company’s GHG Inventory and support long-term data management systems. This included calculating Macerich’s scopes 1, 2, and 3 emissions as well as energy, waste, and water-use data. After developing a familiarity with Macerich’s utility billing and data processing systems, we helped automate some of those processes using MetricsTrac™, an ADEC Innovation. The inventory consistently and reliably passes third-party verification, with the ADEC ESG team acting as the main point-of-contact with the verifier, streamlining the process for Macerich. This data also helps inform the company’s science-based targets work, corporate responsibility report, and other ESG efforts.
Strategic planning and scenario analysis
As a part of a push to align the company’s goals with TCFD recommendations, we are also working with Macerich on a climate scenario analysis. As a first step, we dove deep into a risk assessment process, which included considerable research into potential physical risks like extreme weather events, that could impact Macerich facilities, as well as transitional risks like market changes and policy shifts.
So far, this scenario analysis exercise has helped to inform decision-making and reporting at Macerich, including CDP and GRESB disclosure, overall business strategy, and ESG strategic planning. Data from this analysis has also given the Macerich team the tools they need to make decisions surrounding allocation of resources, property-specific focuses, and financial planning and risk management at the enterprise level. For example, the scenario analysis found that due to long-term physical risks at one of Macerich’s sites, previously established onsite power generation was not only a solid investment but one that called for continued investment into system upgrades and an extended partnership with a local energy provider.
The road to a science-based target (SBT)
It was important to the Macerich team that the company’s targets were aligned with the latest climate science, providing a solid scientific backing to their goals, progress, and methods. They reached out to us for our expertise on setting science-based targets and submitting to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) for official validation.
The process began with an evaluation of possible SBT development methods, putting our heads together to decide what targets were most appropriate for Macerich to submit. Already armed with in-depth knowledge of Macerich’s GHG data, we then supported the company with additional Scope 3 evaluation and other work to meet SBTi’s strict criteria. This involved multiple levels of review, lightning-fast turnaround times, and a high level of communication and coordination between Macerich, ADEC ESG, and SBTi contacts. The ADEC ESG team also assisted with the formal submission and approval process and worked with the Macerich team to ensure that the company’s Score 3 target covered factors that were most impactful to Macerich.
The company’s target submission—a goal of reducing scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions by 46.2% from a 2019 base year—was approved in July of 2021, and Macerich joined the list of companies committed to Business Ambition for 1.5°C.
Continued data improvements and ripple effects
As a sustainability leader, Macerich is constantly pushing for improvement. Over the years, we’ve worked with them to further develop their GHG Inventory, which has captured more sources over time and improved in accuracy. Our team’s growing familiarity with Macerich’s data systems has also enabled us to help them automate some of these processes, such as calculation processes and emissions factor tracking.
These robust data systems and consistent tracking over time have helped to provide Macerich with trustworthy data that supports informed decision-making. In turn, the data gives the Macerich team the information they need to streamline disclosure to ESG reporting organizations such as CDP, GRESB, and the EPA’s Green Power Partnership program. Good, reliable data has also supported the company’s CRR by providing emissions metrics as well as deeper insights from our TCFD scenario analysis and the science-based targets submission process.
ADEC ESG is proud to work with the Macerich team and support the company’s ambitious ESG goals and commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility.
Jeff Bedell, VP of Sustainability, Macerich
Results and Deliverables
- Gap Analysis and Scoring Assessments for 2015-2016 CDP Climate Change disclosures
- Full Disclosure Completion for 2017-2021 CDP Climate Change questionnaires
- Consistent achievement of CDP Leadership levels since 2015
- Third-party verified GHG Inventory for Scopes 1, 2, and 3
- Third-party verified data for energy, waste, and water
- Robust data management development that supports further decision-making and reporting
- Scopes 1, 2, and 3 targets fully approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative