Two of Europe’s biggest real estate owners have spoken out at a conference in favour of establishing a single accepted format for reporting social and environmental impact.

At the ULI Europe conference in Amsterdam, Claudia Kruse, managing director global responsible investment and governance at APG Asset Management, said: “We see quite a number of initiatives, and my very strong recommendation would be to align with existing initiatives.

“There should be a unified way of how investors report impact, and to define it in a way that is actually workable. This challenge is not a small one but I think we can get there.”

Rolf Buch, CEO of German residential property company Vonovia, agreed, saying it was a challenge given how many elements needed to be reported.

“It is very important that we get to have a common understanding,” he said. “I completely agree we would do better to come to a common understanding – it doesn’t make sense to have so many different formats.”

Outlining work being done by Vonovia to modernise buildings and reduce carbon emissions, Buch said climate goals were fundamentally changing the way the company worked.

“We are starting to become a research company, which is not normal for a resi company, but we think we have to do it to achieve CO2 neutrality by 2050,” he said.

Buildings in Germany were responsible for 30% of the country’s carbon emissions, he said.

“Now we are saying we should do investments which provide the solution for society,” he said, adding that, if it did nothing, it could come under pressure in the future and have its licence to operate taken away.

“We are not the problem we are the solution,” Buch said.