The built environment consumes around 40% of the world’s energy and accounts for up to 30% of the world’s annual GHG emissions. Additionally, the building industry is a large user of raw materials. As a global real estate investor, we feel it is part of our responsibility to contribute to a CO2-neutral, sustainable, circular, resilient and healthy living environment, and to enhance stakeholder value by investing in sustainable real estate. We are convinced that our approach reduces risk, increases client returns and makes our real estate assets and portfolios more attractive.
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors will continue to play a major role in our investment strategy. We are targeting a zero carbon, nearly energy neutral and resilient portfolio before 2045 (approx. 40 kWh/m2 GLA per year). This will include an analysis of asset-level climate risks, including a plan of how to mitigate these risks. We have set out clear targets for the reduction of our environmental footprint and improving our positive social impact.
To make a start, we have formulated the following ‘Paris-proof’ objectives for the mid-term:
2021-2030: A year-on-year 5% reduction in GHG emissions for the total portfolio (general and tenant consumption)
2030: Our portfolio has an average energy label A (energy index <1.0)
2030: 50% of our homes are natural gas-free
Highly sustainable Fund
To continue to improve the Fund’s sustainability performance and obtain the highest GRESB star rating (5-star), we have set out a sustainability strategy that focuses on: sustainable buildings, energy reduction, renewable energy sources on location, rental contracts with a sustainability clause, tenant satisfaction, health & safety on construction sites, tenant engagement on sustainability and acquisition of mid-rental properties. We also plan to make an active contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including Sustainable cities and communities (UN SDG 11), Affordable and clean energy (UN SDG 7) and Decent work and economic growth
(UN SDG 8).
Invest in sustainable buildings
Sustainable building certificates enable us to show where we are in terms of sustainability at asset level and how far we still have to go. Certificates such as GPR Building measure criteria that go beyond legislative requirements and provide us with instruments to encourage more responsible tenant behaviour, such as cutting waste and reducing energy consumption. Our goal for 2019 was to have 100% of the Fund's portfolio certified with the GPR Building certificate and all acquisitions of new developments to have a GPR Building score of at least 7.5. In addition, benchmarks help us to make informed business decisions to mitigate environmental, social and governance risks and enhance our long-term returns.
Reduction of environmental impact
We are committed to making environmental stewardship an integral part of our daily operations and strive to reduce both our direct and indirect environmental footprint. Data measurement and consistent reporting via certification schemes help us to increase our buildings’ energy efficiency and reduce the associated costs, in cooperation with our tenants. We have adopted maintenance strategies that include modern, energy-efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems.
Energy efficiency is the most cost effective way for the Fund to reduce carbon emissions but we also encourage the use of renewable energy sources. We buy certified green electricity and are boosting alternative energy use. Our goal is to have 65% of the Fund's portfolio with an energy label A or better (energy index <1.2) by end 2021.
The Residential Fund’s sustainability strategy is focused on reducing the environmental impact of its properties while enhancing comfort, in cooperation with our tenants and other stakeholders. Our standard programme of requirements for acquisitions and renovations focuses on structural quality, energy-efficient installations, water-saving fittings and maintenance-friendly and recycled materials. Our initial focus is on data collection related to sustainability indicators in areas that we can control. We will then use this data to work with tenants on initiatives to reduce energy consumption and overall environmental impact. By 2021, our annual reduction of environmental impact should be increased from 2% in 2019 to 5%.
Being a responsible organisation
We believe that integrity, honesty and corporate responsibility are essential to ensuring we do our job properly and will, in turn, enable us to optimise returns for our clients. We are committed to upholding the highest ethical standards and compliance stewardship in all our business dealings and we avoid conflicting interests. To ensure accountability and transparency, we set targets, based on international sustainability standards, which allow us to monitor our progress.