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Communicating environmental sustainability initiatives virtually: Taking stock of the apartment property management industry in the United States

Erin Hopkins (Department of Apparel, Housing and Resource Management, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA)

Property Management

ISSN: 0263-7472

Article publication date: 30 May 2019

Issue publication date: 7 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to uncover the extent to which firms in the apartment property management industry in the USA are promoting green property management services via communication on their websites.

Design/methodology/approach

A content analysis is the main research method for this study. Once all qualifying terms listed on the company website were recorded based on LEED credit and category, the data were synthesized to create a sustainability continuum organizing the firms based on the extent to which they communicate sustainability initiatives on their respective websites.

Findings

The results demonstrate that the majority of the largest 50 apartment management firms in the USA are not communicating any sustainability initiatives on their website. In all, 52 percent of companies have no acknowledgment of sustainability initiatives on their website; 16 percent of companies provide some cursory reference to sustainability initiatives; 16 percent offer some detail on their website; 6 percent contain in-depth detail plus metrics. The remaining 10 percent of firms are providing comprehensive sustainability reporting on their websites.

Practical implications

Property management companies have an immense opportunity to capitalize on showcasing their green building features via company websites. Not only does incorporating environmental sustainability practices support a climate mitigation strategy, marketing these practices can foster consumer satisfaction and a willingness to pay more. With the awareness that opportunity abounds both to mitigate negative environmental externalities and complement financial goals of apartment property management companies, this research sheds light for property management companies and related parties of missed opportunities in the environmental sustainability space.

Originality/value

The analysis presented in this paper is one of the first to the author’s knowledge to explore the degree which property management companies are promoting green real estate management services through website communication.

Keywords

Citation

Hopkins, E. (2019), "Communicating environmental sustainability initiatives virtually: Taking stock of the apartment property management industry in the United States", Property Management, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 547-561. https://doi.org/10.1108/PM-07-2018-0045

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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