Active readers of the Kimco blog have seen a steady stream of posts related to our corporate responsibility efforts over the past three years. We’ve shared some of the details behind individual initiatives, discussed industry-wide sustainability trends, and celebrated key program milestones.

Our blog is one of several vehicles Kimco uses to share information and engage stakeholders in our corporate responsibility program. Although this has proven to be an effective means of communication, we’ve always felt that this type of ad-hoc information sharing should be paired with more formalized reporting.

Several years ago, we began responding to the CDP and Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) surveys as a means of providing formalized progress reporting on our program to a key stakeholder audience – investors. But beyond these surveys, which provide insight into a company’s performance through the unique lens of the surveyor, we felt the need to tell our own story to a broader audience of stakeholders through a self-authored report.

Today we are pleased to announce the release of Kimco’s inaugural Corporate Responsibility Report. Over a year in the making, this publication provides the first comprehensive accounting of Kimco’s performance on a range of social, environmental, and governance aspects while also articulating in more detail the company’s strategic approach to these issues.

A standardized approach to producing the report

Historically, companies choosing to report on corporate responsibility and sustainability blazed their own trails in terms of report content and structure. No formal guidance existed that was analogous to financial reporting standards, and so the quality and comparability of results were highly variable.

In 1997, a group of concerned stakeholders interested in improving organizational reporting assembled to create the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). GRI has since evolved into the premier global not-for-profit organization focused on creating a standardized framework for organizational reporting of sustainability impacts. The latest version of its framework, the G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, represents the international gold standard for corporate reporting.

Kimco’s Corporate Responsibility Report is based on the G4 framework, and includes all of the GRI-required elements for producing an “in accordance level - Core” report. This report type includes elements such as a management overview from our senior executive team, a focus on content that is deemed most relevant by both the company and our key organizational stakeholders, and the inclusion of data associated with over 70 standardized GRI indicators.

In producing the report, we made it a primary goal to strike a balance between detail and readability – focusing on providing the necessary information in a format that is as brief and digestible as possible for key audiences. We steered clear of the voluminous 100+ page reports produced by some organizations in favor of a main document and supporting appendix that clocks in around 30 pages and includes a vibrant mix of copy and functional graphics.

In addition to including standardized GRI indicator data, we’ve also at times included non-standard metrics that Kimco deems more relevant for our industry and stakeholders. It is difficult for GRI to develop indicators that are relevant for all industries, or even industry-specific indicators that are relevant across a broad real-estate sector that includes widely differing asset categories and organizational roles in the financing/development/ownership cycle. For example, we’ve used a same-site indicator to better represent the trending of energy use at our sites when understood in the context of site dispositions and acquisitions.

Key highlights from the report

Our report is divided into two sections – the summary report and an accompanying report appendix. The summary report is intended for most audiences and covers the most relevant content for our stakeholders. The report appendix is designed as optional supplemental reading for those interested in more detailed GRI indicator data on Kimco’s performance.

Since this is our first report, in addition to providing the quantitative results for calendar year 2013, we have attempted to provide context behind our strategic motivations and approach to corporate responsibility. On page 2 of the report, our CEO David Henry and COO Conor Flynn provide a narrative overview of our efforts. Pages 4 through 9 provide additional details on our approach – including articulating five key priority areas that have and will continue to guide our program:

1) Openly engage our key stakeholders

2) Lead by example in our operations

3) Positively influence tenants & partners

4) Enhance our communities

5) Build & retain a quality team

Moving through the remainder of the report, our focus shifts to highlighting performance results across a range of categories. Two of the headline results we’re most proud of are a 9 percent absolute reduction in same-site direct and energy consumption from 2012 to 2013, which was largely driven as a result of Kimco investing approximately $2.1 million in 109 sustainable property improvement projects.

As you move toward the second half of the report, you will see results information organized into four key highlight areas that include operations, tenants, communities, and employees & governance. Here you will find a description of key initiatives falling under each of these areas, as well as quantitative results we are able to share to date.

Next steps

As we look to the future, Kimco is committed to providing annual progress reporting on our program. We look forward to continuing to share relevant highlights through this and other means, and also look forward to engaging with key stakeholders around these topics. By being transparent about our performance, we have a solid foundation for engaging with stakeholders such as investors, tenants, vendors and communities about the positive role Kimco can play in a range of areas. We are proud of the progress we’ve made to date, but recognize that this will be an ongoing focus for many years to come.

As always, we invite feedback on this and other topics. Please take the time to read our report, and should you have feedback leave a comment or email

This has been an installment of StoreFront, an interview series with leaders of successful retail businesses. For more interviews, visit the StoreFront page. To learn how you can be featured, email us. We’d love to hear from you.