GLOBAL - APG, PGGM, the Universities Superannuation Scheme and ATP Real Estate have launched a sustainable real estate benchmark in an effort to better assess the sustainability of fund managers in the property industry.

The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), which currently represents $1.4trn (€1trn) in assets, aims to "simultaneously create shareholder value" and "reduce the sector's substantial carbon footprint".

It said this would be achieved by creating more transparency in the area of environmental sustainability of real estate investment managers.

The initiative forms the genesis of a project between APG, PGGM, USS and Maastricht University to measure the energy efficiency of its real estate holdings.

As part of GRESB, fund managers will be asked to take part in an annual survey to establish sustainability.

Other members include Dutch fiduciary management provider Mn Services, as well as Hermes Real Estate and one of Canada's largest pension funds, the CAD$96.4bn (€73bn) Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.

In a statement, GRESB said: "By using information collected by GRESB, institutional investors will be able to compare the environmental performance of individual property investments with their environmental real estate targets.

"The intention is that this benchmarking will serve as a catalyst for environmental engagement in real estate investments."

GRESB - which is also backed by Australia's AUS$6bn (€4.3bn) Local Government Super, the AUS$34bn Victorian Funds Management Corporation, the Dutch retail sector scheme Pensioenfonds voor de Detailhandel, Aviva Investors and Paramount Group - intends to publish results of the survey in September.