Environmental, Social and Governance
Rockefeller Group seeks to develop, own, and operate projects that improve people’s lives at home and work, while making a positive impact in the larger community. In recent years, ESG, or environmental, social, and governance policies, have continued to gain in importance throughout all aspects of real estate and the built environment. Rockefeller Group makes ESG a key component of its business operations, its new developments, as well as its owned-and-operated portfolio, through participation in a wide variety of benchmark initiatives, from LEED certification, to Energy Star participation, as well as GRESB, among others. We’re proud to recognize the contributions of our people and share their commitment to the highest standards of integrity. We empower each of our employees to bring diverse perspectives, to drive innovation, and to continue to help Rockefeller Group be good stewards of the environment, a great place to work, and an important contributor to our communities.
Rockefeller Group manages our operational assets on the basis of continuous improvement in environmental stewardship. Within our Core Holdings portfolio, 1221 Avenue of the Americas is rated LEED Silver for Existing Buildings and 1271 Avenue of the Americas is rated LEED Gold. Together, these properties make up approximately five million square feet of office space developed in the modern expansion of Rockefeller Center. Both buildings participate in the New York City Carbon Challenge, which is a public commitment for companies to reduce by 30% greenhouse gas emissions (normalized by square footage) by the year 2025.
We work with third-party energy management consultants to reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the environment, and have posted Energy Star grades above the New York City average. In addition to energy efficiency, we focus on active waste management, water efficiency and supply, indoor environmental quality, and wellness. In 2020, two of Rockefeller Group’s new developments received certifications for achieving WELL Building standards, including a logistics development in New Jersey, and the newly redeveloped office property 1901 L Street in Washington, D.C.
Our employees define our competitive advantage, and we’re proud to be recognized as a great place to work. In 2020, we were recognized by Crain’s New York Business as one of the 100 Best Places to Work in New York City, citing our programs and benefits, transparent communications, and corporate culture as positive factors in the designation. Through our guiding principles, we are committed to values such as integrity and fairness, transparency and collaboration, and a diverse, equitable work environment.
In addition to projects that influence lives and work in the cities and neighborhoods where we develop, own, and operate real estate, we are committed to giving back, through projects that benefit the larger community, as well charitable giving to deserving causes. In 2020, following mandatory remote-work directives, we reallocated savings from reduced operating expenses to more than 40 charities to help offset funding challenges introduced by the pandemic. We have participated in multi-year fundraising campaigns for organizations including Make-A-Wish, which raised over $300,000 from our employees, to the United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Urban Pathways, Elizabeth Seton Children’s, Nazareth Housing, and Phipps Houses, among others.
Moreover, our projects have the potential to impact lives directly, as with Independence Way, which was completed in Florham Park, N.J. in 2020. The project, developed by Rockefeller Group, delivered 62-affordable units for 102 adults with developmental disabilities on land donated by the company, to be owned and operated by Bergen County’s United Way and Madeline Corporation. Our executives and employees are encouraged to give back, and many have led initiatives with education programs such as the ACE Mentorship program for underprivileged high-school students to gain exposure to architecture, construction, and engineering, as well as programs with local municipalities to arrange learning opportunities and tours.
The company has developed and long-maintained strong corporate governance controls. The company is steered by its values, its commitment to fairness and integrity, ethical business practices, as well as in-place policies such as its Guidelines for Business Conduct. The company offers mandatory annual training on a variety of matters surrounding a safe and ethical workplace.