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Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship Banner; Image of Rooftop Solar Panels at Chimney Rock, Bridgewater NJ; Picture of Tesla Charging Stations at Cochran Commons, Charlotte, NC

Chimney Rock  |  Bridgewater, NJ  |  Rooftop Solar Panels (Left) and Cochran Commons | Charlotte, NC | Tesla Charging Stations

 

Sustainable Operations and Resource Use

To strive to "do what is right and be responsible" are core values that have guided us from our foundation. In the environmental space, this means being a good steward and leader in sustainability. To achieve this, we aim for sustainable operations and responsible resource use, and gauge our success through six strategic priorities:

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions
  • Water Conservation
  • Waste Management
  • Green Building
  • Climate-Change Resilience

Regency was one of the first in our industry to begin environmentally-focused initiatives on a national level, and we have been building on that momentum ever since. We were the first US REIT and second US corporation to issue a Green Bond when our $250 million Green Bond for financing environmentally sustainable projects transacted in 2014. In 2017, we developed our Green Building Standard, which aligns with leading third-party certification standards and has since been applied to all of our developments and redevelopments. We set initial 10-year environmental targets, which were achieved in half the time, and in 2018 we re-baselined with our current goals. In 2019, we developed and implemented a Tenant Sustainability Guide and enhanced our Green Leases. In 2020, we incorporated a sustainability metric into our credit facility related to targets for reduction in Scope 1 and 2 Greenhouse Gas emissions. These, and our other efforts, have been recognized over the years by organizations such as GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark), which has awarded us a Green Star for the past six consecutive years, and the Institute for Market Transformation which certified us as a Green Lease Leader in 2020.

However, we are always striving for continuous improvement, and while we have existing long-term sustainability goals we are planning for an even greater impact. In 2021, we will be identifying a target year for net-zero Scope 1 and 2 Greenhouse Gas emissions from operations within our operational control, and an interim science-based target. We also plan to build a strategy for achieving both targets that aligns with our corporate strategic plan and business objectives.

 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 2019, we refined our reporting boundary for Greenhouse Gas emissions and expanded our data inventory, including adding an estimate for Scope 3 emissions. In 2020, we further improved our dataset and increased our visibility of actual Scope 3 emissions data by accessing aggregated data outside our operational control for approximately half of our portfolio. This visibility will enable us to better understand the emissions footprint of our properties and use that knowledge to work with our tenants for their benefit and that of the communities they serve.

Despite the pandemic-related challenges in 2020, we have also continued to focus on the emissions within our operational control. We have a 10-year goal to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by an average of 5% each year from 2018 to 2028. The annual focus of this long-term goal ensures that we maintain momentum.

Our emissions footprint was impacted by increased numbers of vacant spaces at our centers in 2020, as when a unit becomes vacant we take on responsibility for the utilities required to maintain the space for the next tenant. Despite this, we are pleased to report that in 2020 we reduced our Scope 1 and 2 like-for-like emissions by 9%, exceeding our long-term target, with an average annual reduction of 9% since 2018. We will continue our efforts in 2021 while we work on developing enhanced targets to have science-based reductions and ultimately net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions, together with a strategy to achieve both targets.

 

 

    2021 Goals

  • Annually reduce like-for-like Scope 1 and 2 Greenhouse Gas emissions by an average of 5% from 2018 until 2028
Graphic that reads: Exceeding Our Goals; 9% Average annual reduction in like-for-like Scope 1 and 2 Greenhouse Gas emissions since 2018
ES-Loft-offices
 

The Loft Office Clarendon

Regency’s Loft Office at The Crossing recently received a LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). USGBC’s mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life. Regency is committed to continuing its sustainable building efforts in future phases of the project at The Crossing, including the renovation of the central green at The Loop, which includes a shift toward biophilic design, with less paving and more planters. Additional updates include converting an existing drive aisle into a pedestrian-only piazza featuring outdoor seating, more greenery, innovative play structures and more.

Portrait of Mark Peternell
"As our sustainability efforts grow, we are slowly blurring the lines between what is a ‘green’ initiative and what is routine business practice in many areas. Not only are there obvious benefits to everyone from us being good environmental stewards, but the efficiencies of resources and cost savings become more apparent every day. We have approached a point when sustainability initiatives will be integrated into everything we do."

Mark Peternell, Regional Property Manager and Vice President, Sustainability

 
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Energy Efficiency

Lighting in the shared areas of our shopping centers continues to be the main source of energy consumption across our portfolio. Lighting is important for security and safety reasons and we are making best efforts to ensure we are providing this in the most efficient manner. We have a program to upgrade lighting at centers to energy-efficient LED fixtures and to install lighting controls. These conversions can reduce energy use by nearly 60% once they are implemented while improving safety for our tenants and visitors.

Lighting is an area in which we can make the biggest impact on our energy use. However, we also take advantage of opportunities to use cool-roofing technology and improve glazing and insulation at our properties, wherever possible. Where HVAC is within our operational control, we ensure there is regular maintenance and replacement of units.

The impact of these efforts was reduced in 2020 when we took on operational control of additional spaces due to higher than average vacancies. Despite this, we have been successful in achieving our long-term goal, as our 2020 reduction was almost 1%, giving us an average annual reduction in energy use since 2018 of over 3%.

 

 

    2021 Goals

  • Annually reduce like-for-like energy consumption by an average of 2.5% from 2018 until 2028
Graphic that reads: Exceeding Our Goals; 3.5% Average annual reduction in like-for-like energy consumption since 2018
 
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Pictures of two LEED Certified Properties: The Field at Commonwealth, Chantilly, VA and Market at Springwoods Village, Houston, TX

The Field at Commonwealth  |  Chantilly, VA  |  LEED Silver Certified (Left) and Market at Springwoods Village | Houston, TX | LEED Certified (Right)

 

Renewable Energy

We have long acknowledged the benefits of renewable energy including contributing to a low-carbon environment, lowering operating costs, addressing certain air pollution, diversifying energy supply, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Where possible, we work with tenants to provide affordable renewable energy at our properties and have recently become a signatory to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance’s Commercial Real Estate Principles. The Principles codify many of the initiatives we have had in place for some time. This includes collaborating with tenants to provide access to renewable energy options and engaging in public disclosure and benchmarking of our properties’ energy use and environmental footprint.

Regency commenced installing renewable energy systems at our properties in 2011, and in 2020 had 16 solar energy arrays at 11 of our centers producing approximately 4,000 megawatt hours of clean power. Almost doubling production from the approximate 2,400 megawatt hours our solar systems produced in 2019. In addition, in 2020, we again purchased renewable energy credits to partially offset emissions generated by the common areas at our properties.

Many of our tenants are also committed to advancing renewable energy and have installed arrays at some of our properties. We are supportive of our tenants continuing to enhance our portfolio’s energy footprint and adding to the total renewable energy sources available with the benefits that provides.

In 2021, we will be working with experienced environmental consultants to develop a science-based Scope 1 and 2 emissions target as well as a net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions target with a strategy to achieve both. We anticipate that strategy will involve additional renewable energy projects and introduce more renewable energy sources at our properties to benefit the environment.

 

 

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Pictures showing vehicle charging stations at Serramonte Center, San Francisco, CA (Tesla) and Point Loma Plaza, San Diego, CA (Volta)

Serramonte Center | San Francisco, CA | Tesla Charging Station (Left) and Point Loma Plaza | San Diego, CA | Volta Charging Station (Right)


Electric Vehicle Charging

The number of electric vehicles (EVs) in our communities is increasing and more is being done to phase out traditional fossil-fueled vehicles than ever before. We have been working since 2012 to contribute to a national network of EV charging stations. EV stations provide visitors to our centers a modern convenience to facilitate their environmentally-friendly transportation, all while taking advantage of the high-quality merchants and spaces at our centers.

In 2019, we provided 314 stations at 59 of our properties with an estimated 600,000 charging sessions over the year. We now have 491 active stations across 82 Regency properties and the majority of our stations are fast chargers. Despite the impact of the pandemic, we estimate that the EV chargers at our properties provided approximately 650,000 charging sessions in 2020.

Regency has plans to provide further stations and will continue to roll them out at an ambitious rate as part of our strategic and Corporate Responsibility plans.

 

    2021 Goals

  • Maintain sustainable water and advance our renewable energy and electric vehicle programs
Graphic showing Number of Electric Charging Stations 314 in 2018 up to 491 in 2019
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Waste Management

We promote best practice waste management. Through our Tenant Sustainability Guide, we have advised our tenants on how recycling can be maximized and the benefits it provides to the environment and their businesses. We also aim to provide our tenants and center visitors with the means to recycle and compost their waste. These programs vary by location. However in 2020, we are pleased that we increased like-for-like composting as a percentage of total like-for-like waste by over 4% and the like-for-like amount of waste diverted from landfill by over 4% from 2019, as well.

Regency also seeks effective waste management programs for our corporate offices and encourages employees to participate in recycling and other diversion measures. In 2020, our paper recycling program achieved the following: preserved 237 trees1, saved the equivalent of 84 years of energy demand for a laptop2 and conserved the equivalent of 42 pools of water3.

 

1Assumes that, for each short ton of paper recycled, 17 trees are preserved (USEPA 2013a. Communicating the Benefits of Recycling. http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/tools/localgov/benefits/).
2
Assumes a notebook laptop computer is rated 120 watts, used eight hours a day, 365 days per year (estimation).

3
Assumes a household in-ground pool volume of 12’ x 24’ x 5’ (estimation).

 

 

Graphic that reads: Exceeding Our Goals; 3.7% Average annual increase in like-for-like waste diversion since 2018

    2021 Goals

  • Annually reduce like-for-like waste diversion by an average of 1% from 2018 until 2028
 

Water Conservation

We strive to implement best practice in water management at our properties in an effort to preserve this important resource. The majority of our water use is to irrigate our properties. This is influenced by factors such as weather patterns and water restrictions. However, we seek to minimize these impacts and balance our use of water to provide pleasant and inviting natural spaces at our centers with an aim to advance water conservation.

We do this through smart irrigation systems that adjust schedules to optimize their operations based on local weather conditions. We also, where possible, use reclaimed water from our local utility providers. Other measures in place include permeable paving, water-efficient plantings such as native and drought-tolerant plants, rainwater retention cisterns, and storm water management systems.

In 2020, we reduced our like-for-like water use by approximately 1% when compared to 2019, making an average annual reduction of around 3.5% since 2018.


 

Graphic showing: Like-for-like Water Use; 3.5% Average annual reduction in like-for-like water use from 2018
 
 
Portrait of Gary Fields
"Regency has devoted the resources required to do our part as responsible corporate citizens. We have deployed capital wisely through numerous programs from water saving irrigation technology, to the hundreds of EV charging stations in the portfolio, to our solar installations at various centers. These will provide a return on investment, help the environment, and are increasingly part of the normal course of business. I am proud of the progress we have made over the past several years and excited for what the future holds."

Gary Fields, Vice President, Property Operations

 
Image of The Market at Springwoods Village; Houston, TX; LEED Certified and Logo of TCFD

The Market at Springwoods Village | Houston, TX | LEED Certified


Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

This is Regency’s 2020 report addressing recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Regency recognizes that climate change is one of the most significant issues facing our society today, and that its potential impacts on our business need to be analyzed and incorporated into our strategic planning. To do so we have addressed the recommendations of the TCFD and undertaken a climate change scenario analysis and risk and opportunities assessment. Climate scenario analysis and reporting is a new area for many companies, including Regency, and we expect our methodologies, tools and analyses to evolve and change over time as we improve our understanding of climate-related risks, challenges and opportunities. We also expect to build upon and revise the results of this analysis on an ongoing basis, as part of our strategic planning.

 

Governance

Regency’s Board of Directors sets the direction of our Corporate Responsibility strategy and business alignment, and has delegated to its Nominating and Governance Committee oversight of Regency’s Corporate Responsibility program and assessment of its success in meeting our objectives. Our President and CEO, Lisa Palmer, is on our Board and has ultimate senior management responsibility for the program. Our Corporate Responsibility Committee, which is comprised of senior leaders from key areas of our business, is tasked with working with management’s Executive Committee to ensure that our Corporate Responsibility strategy and objectives are embedded throughout Regency’s business decisions, processes and activities. These Committees also ensure that climate change, and the risks and opportunities it may present, are considered in our strategic planning process. The Corporate Responsibility Committee meets at least quarterly, and its Chair reports regularly to our President and CEO and periodically to the Board’s Nominating and Governance Committee.

 

Strategy

Regency is committed to doing what is right for our people, our communities, our stakeholders and the environment. This includes implementing environmentally responsible and sustainable practices, irrespective of legislative mandates, that we believe are right for society, our business and our stakeholders.

At the management level, our Executive Committee is responsible for implementing and incorporating the Company’s Corporate Responsibility strategy throughout our operations and business decision-making.

In 2018, we began our TCFD journey by conducting an analysis of our properties in Florida, where a significant portion of our portfolio is located in an area projected to be at risk of sea level rise. We based our analysis on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sea level rise projections in coastal areas, and identified certain assets that would be most at risk in that market.

During 2020, we further built on that work, and expanded our review to our entire portfolio and business over the medium to long term (2030-2100), including a robust assessment of a comprehensive range of climate-related risks and opportunities. Our analysis looked at two scenarios: One assuming low levels of greenhouse gas emissions that will limit average temperature increases to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius (a ‘sustainable growth’ scenario) and another where Greenhouse Gas emissions continue to rise (a ‘current trends’ scenario).

 

We took the following steps, guided by consultants expert in the impacts of
climate change and its potential effect on properties like ours:

 

1. Indicator identification: where we looked at factors such as the cost of fossil fuels, changes to energy policy and electricity sources and pricing; 2. Scenario review: analysis of the indicators in each scenario and their potential impact on Regency.; 3. Risks and opportunities development.; 4. Vulnerability score development: based on exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity.; 5. Vulnerability scores workshop: key internal stakeholders reviewed and discussed the relative rankings of the risks and opportunities.; 6. Final score development: impact and likelihood were assessed, informing the final score and ranking for identified risks and opportunities.
 

We now have a comprehensive report on the risks and opportunities at both the portfolio and geographic market levels, under the two different climate scenarios and over the medium and long term. This work will be used for strategic and property-level planning by our Executive Committee, and the analysis will be revisited periodically as changes in circumstances and information warrant.

 

Persimmon Place | San Francisco, CA | LEED Gold Certified

Persimmon Place | San Francisco, CA | LEED Gold Certified


Risk Management

Risk management is integrated into all that we do and our risk management practices are set out in our Corporate Responsibility Policies and Practices.

Our 2019 sea level rise analysis has informed how we manage risks to our Florida properties, while the results from our 2020 work will similarly inform risk management across our entire portfolio and will be integrated into strategic planning. Risks considered to have high impact and likelihood may be managed through specific risk action plans.

 

Climate Change Related Risks and Opportunities

Our 2020 analysis leveraged globally recognized sources for building the sustainable growth and current trends scenario models. The IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2018 was the main reference for transitional changes and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA) were foundational references for physical risks. Additionally, climate data and projections from open governmental and academic sources such as Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness data, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Explorer, and World Resources Institute Aqueduct, as well as widely cited studies referenced by the IPCC and NCA provided useful visualization tools and guidance.

Transitional risks, such as policy and legal risks, market risks, and reputational risks were analyzed, as well as physical risks such as severe storms and sea levels rising, in accordance with TCFD recommendations. Both risks that directly impact Regency, for example through damage to properties and indirect risks, such as impaired tenant operations were factored into our analysis.

 

Key RiskDescriptionApproach

Severe Storms

Increased risk of damage to buildings from extreme winds, hailstorms, tornadoes and other severe storms may result in larger capital costs to either rebuild damaged buildings or retrofit existing buildings to be more resilient, and larger insurance premiums. The more significant risk is to our properties in Texas, Florida, and Georgia.

Regency is focused on ensuring resilience at our properties and in our business. We implement leading construction and operational practices as well as robust planning for swift recovery from any incident. We also procure appropriate insurance to protect our assets and business.

The geographic spread of the properties in Regency’s portfolio means individual natural events such as a severe storm, which potentially impact one or a small number of properties, should not have a significant financial impact on the business in the aggregate. However, we will continue to monitor any increases in incidents and ensure our strategic plan provides resilience on a portfolio-wide basis.

Wildfires

Increased risk of wildfire damage to buildings could result in larger capital costs to either rebuild damaged buildings or retrofit existing buildings to be more resilient, as well as increased insurance premiums over time. The most significant risk is to our properties in California.

Regency is focused on ensuring resilience at our properties and in our business. We implement leading construction and operational practices as well as robust planning for swift recovery from incidents. We also ensure appropriate insurance coverage is in place.

The geographic spread and primarily suburban siting of Regency’s portfolio means individual events such as a wildfire should not have a significant financial impact on the business. However, we will continue to monitor any increases in incidents and ensure our strategic plan provides resilience on a portfolio-wide basis.

Flooding

Increased risk of damage to structure and roads due to flooding  during heavy rainfall events, and larger insurance premiums. Greatest exposure is to our properties in Georgia, California and the Eastern Seaboard.

Regency is focused on ensuring resilience at our properties and in our business. We implement leading construction and operational practices as well as robust planning for swift recovery from incidents. We also ensure appropriate insurance policies are in place.

The geographic spread and primarily suburban siting of Regency’s portfolio means individual events such as a flood do not have a significant financial impact on the business. However, we will continue to monitor any increases in incidents and ensure our strategic plan provides resilience against this.

 

We also analyzed the opportunities available in each of the sustainable growth and current trends scenarios. The key opportunities identified in both are summarized below.

 

Key OpportunityDescriptionApproach

External stakeholder awareness

Meeting tenant and investor demand for sustainable operations may offer a competitive advantage.

Regency Centers is, and has been, focused on sustainable operations for many years. We implement green building practices and sustainability initiatives that we believe will create resource-efficient operations, as evidenced by our achievement of a Green Star from GRESB, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark for six consecutive years.

We are committed to achieving our goals to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions, energy use and waste, and will continue to be transparent and ensure tenants and investors are aware of our sustainability initiatives.

Internal stakeholder awareness

Best-in-class sustainability credentials may reduce turnover and increase talent acquisition, which leads to reduced recruitment and training costs and increased employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity.

Regency Centers has been committed to doing what is right since our foundation, it is one of our guiding values. Not only are we focused on sustainability and achieving our environmental goals, but we are determined to do what is right for our people.
Our efforts in both the social and environmental arenas will continue to make us a leader in providing a safe, inclusive and productive workplace, recognized by our employees and attractive to candidates.

Overall and local economic growth

Reducing climate-related risk in the portfolio by siting new developments in geographies most resilient to, or benefiting from, climate migration, may make Regency Centers’ portfolio  more attractive.

Regency Centers is committed to understanding and addressing climate change-related risks, and the results of our TCFD-aligned scenario analysis is being incorporated into our strategic plan. This will help us reduce risk to our business and remain the preeminent owner, operator and developer of neighborhood shopping centers.