The Paris Climate Agreement sets out a target of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. Global Real Estate wants to achieve this goal with its real estate portfolio by 2040 – ten years earlier than provided for in the agreement. Consequently, taking sustainability aspects into account throughout the value chain is increasingly important. This is a development from which everyone benefits: the environment thanks to a healthier climate, tenants owing to improved spatial quality and lower energy consumption, and investors because of higher return opportunities. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that sustainable investments are currently enjoying strong demand and high double-digit annual growth rates, with real estate investments particularly sought after.
Potential with new-build and existing properties
In a new building, standards are applied as far as possible that guarantee climate-neutral operation, ranging from photovoltaic systems and insulation to the choice of energy source. The energy budget of the building is managed holistically using intelligent sensors, with energy consumption and CO2 emissions being measured, analyzed, and reduced over the long term using systematic measures.
Existing premises also play a major role in climate discussions because they can make a significant contribution to reductions in CO2 through short-term improvements in efficiency and long-term renovations.
Sustainability certificates as an indicator
In addition to focusing systematically on sustainability and optimizing properties, it is essential to create transparency for investors. Recognized building labels, benchmarks, and sustainability reporting are some of the things that help to create clarity. Energy metrics are also helpful, particularly if they cover an extended period. Furthermore, it is standard these days to carry out building due diligence when purchasing a property, which is another way of checking its sustainability.
Global Real Estate also relies on its own greenproperty quality seal, which was launched in 2009. It assesses over 50 ESG criteria1 in an independent, certified audit process. Global Real Estate applies this comprehensive label to new buildings on a mandatory basis for all real estate investments. Greenproperty draws on other labels from the property sector, including Minergie from Switzerland or the widespread LEED standard used in English-speaking countries. The applicable SIA standards have also been incorporated.
Greater transparency thanks to regulation
With its EU Sustainable Finance Action Plan, the EU Commission has established a comprehensive framework with a standardized classification system for sustainable investments. It urges the financial sector to be transparent about identifying climate-related sustainability risks as part of their reporting. For the Swiss financial center, FINMA is making binding transparency and disclosure obligations the norm.
The goal of the growing regulatory requirements is to ensure improved comparability of sustainable financial investments. It is important to provide investors with transparent information by disclosing the sustainable characteristics of investments.