Social and environmental metrics for US real estate portfolios: Sources of data and aggregation methods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to assess the availability of information in the USA for measuring the social and environmental performance of real estate portfolios. Design/methodology/approach: A search is conducted for relevant indicator data sources using internet, library and government resources. Priority is placed on information that could be accessed on line, by any user, free of charge, from reputable sources, using available search parameters, for all types of properties and for any properties anywhere in the USA. Useful sources are identified and assessed using data quality indicators. Information gaps are also identified. A previously published method is adapted for comparing the social and environmental performance of properties and portfolios and data collected from identified sources are used to illustrate the construction of indices useful for making comparisons. Findings: Nationwide data sources are available for most important dimensions with greater availability for the most important ones. There are, however, important data gaps related to such issues as water use, day light and ventilation, aesthetics and others. Most sources only require a property address for queries but do not support batch processing. There are no data quality problems for most data sources but a substantial minority of the sources does have at least one data quality issue. Available data can be used to construct indices useful for comparing properties and portfolios. Practical implications: Fund managers can use these results to compile extra-financial information on sustainability and corporate social responsibility and socially responsible investors can use them to evaluate investment opportunities. Originality/value: This is the first effort to identify and assess data sources needed for creating responsible and sustainable metrics and indices and responds to demand for better metrics in the field of sustainable and responsible property investing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-510
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Property Investment and Finance
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 7 2009


  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Investments
  • Property
  • Sustainable development
  • United States of America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Finance


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