A Leadership Message from David LaRue
Welcome to Forest City’s sixth annual corporate responsibility report, which primarily reflects our efforts and accomplishments for 2017.
Our CR performance remains an important part of our overall strategy and aligns with our vision to realize the power of place and create sustainable value by envisioning, owning and operating places where people, businesses and communities thrive. We continue to take major steps forward as we work to drive greater profitability, enhance corporate governance and increase total stockholder returns.
At the end of 2016, our Board of Directors announced an agreement to eliminate the company’s dual-class share structure, and also reaffirmed its commitment to ongoing board refreshment. In June, at the company’s 2017 annual meeting, stockholders approved the reclassification, creating a single class of stock with equal, “one share, one vote” rights.
Diversity & Inclusion
Enhancing the diversity of thought and background at all levels of the company is a cornerstone of our CR agenda, and a key strategy for attracting the best possible talent to Forest City. This commitment to diverse perspectives and experience extends to our Board of Directors as well.
Following the completion of a thorough review of strategic alternatives to enhance stockholder value in March of 2018, the Board acted on its commitment to refreshment by identifying and selecting eight new, diverse, independent and highly qualified Directors to replace each of our outgoing Board members. I am pleased to report that our Board is now comprised of more than 83 percent independent Directors. In addition, 25 percent of our Directors are women, and 16 percent represent minority groups.
We continue to reap the benefits of diversity, both internally and externally, and gain greater recognition for our commitment to continue to improve. For example, in 2017, Forest City was named in Equileap’s Gender Equality Global Report and Ranking as one of the top-performing companies in the world for demonstrating progress in gender equality. We were also recognized by 2020 Women on Boards for our commitment to female representation at the Board level.
We remain committed to improving our environmental footprint as we prepare our portfolio for a low carbon economy. In 2017, we invested $2.4 million in capital improvement projects aimed at energy efficiency, bringing our total investment since 2011 in this area to $34 million.
In early 2018, Forest City was named an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year, the EPA’s highest honor for organizations that protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.
This year, we became just the second U.S. REIT to establish a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. Under the new goal, Forest City will reduce directly managed emissions related to our operating portfolio (scope 1 and 2) by 27.5 percent by 2025 from a 2016 baseline, as well as 33 percent of emissions from sources such as tenant and resident spaces and construction activity (scope 3).
This new science-based target aligns with our existing energy strategy and ensures that our development projects and operating properties will continue to support the long-term sustainability goals and climate strategies of our core market cities. Because we generally expect to own and operate our properties for the long term, the sustainable practices we incorporate now will provide long-term value for Forest City and its stockholders.
We see our new GHG reduction target as a culmination of our sustainability efforts over the last several years. We are excited to deliver on this bold goal and we look forward to seeing our real estate peers join us in this commitment to reducing our collective impact on the environment.
We thank our investors and stakeholders for your continued support. We invite you to read more about our accomplishments—both across our portfolio and within our communities.
President and Chief Executive Officer