Veris Residential Inc. is based at the company’s flagship Harborside campus in Jersey City — Courtesy: Veris Residential
By Joshua Burd
Veris Residential Inc. has named a new senior vice president and head of sustainability and environmental, social and governance, as it unveils a report detailing its progress in those areas since the real estate investment trust rebranded and revamped its platform.
In the newly created role, Karen Cusmano will oversee a dedicated team for the Jersey City-based company focused on growing its Embrace by Veris Residential program, which is centered on properties, people and the planet. The platform establishes the REIT’s approach to ESG initiatives and is designed to advance actions and reporting along those lines, executives said, while ensuring it continues to meet its goals to reduce its carbon footprint, increase employee diversity and inclusion and support resident wellbeing.
The company’s new report, meantime, highlights the steps it has taken toward becoming a more responsible, sustainable and inclusive owner, operator and developer, while continuing its pursuit of long-term value creation for shareholders, the REIT said.
“We have worked hard over the past 18 months to redefine our properties to prioritize residents’ sustainability values, foster an even more equitable and diverse workplace and mitigate our carbon footprint,” Veris Residential CEO Mahbod Nia. “As a result of these efforts and others, we received Logical Buildings’ 2021 Climate Community Leadership Award — a significant recognition from the sustainability and smart building technology space leader. We look forward to building on these achievements under Karen’s leadership and challenging ourselves to reach new heights as we seek to maximize our overall impact, while creating value for our shareholders.”
The company, formerly known as Mack-Cali Realty Corp., said the report highlights its push to create more sustainable living environments for its residents, reducing emissions and energy consumption and installing additional on-property electric vehicle charging stations. It’s also touting steps to advance its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and attract, retain and engage with employee talent, while prioritizing resident health, safety and wellness and integrating with its communities through national and local philanthropic partnerships.
The REIT added that it was moving toward a more diverse workforce and board and implementing so-called unconscious bias training at both levels, while taking a similar approach toward its supply chain.
“After 21 years with Veris Residential, I am honored to now lead the company’s sustainability and ESG initiatives,” said Cusmano, who previously held leadership roles in asset management, operations and accounting within the company. “Our 2021 ESG report reflects the work our team has undertaken to advance our mission to become a purpose-driven business to the benefit of all of our stakeholders, while protecting and improving our value creation. We remain unwavering in our commitment to build upon our ESG accomplishments to date.”