EUROPE - Occupiers rather than pension fund investors will drive demand for sustainable buildings, according to John Pike, secretary general of the International Sustainability Alliance (ISA).

Launching its first benchmarking report yesterday, Pike told IP Real Estate the alliance, whose membership includes two major pension fund managers - APG and PGGM - had to be "careful to be a broad church", rather than a vehicle for end-investors.

"Occupiers will be at the heart of sustainability because they'll be on the receiving end of demands from shareholders and employees," he said. "They're just as important as pension funds."

The report is the alliance's initial attempt to address what Pike described in the introduction as "the fundamental issue of meaningful metrics".

The metrics are the same as those used by GRI and EPRA - a move designed to make them recognisable to existing investors. 

"What's different is that we've taken the information and created a benchmark," said Pike.

"There are a lot of people out there pushing metrics, but not many of them are based on data.

"It's about knowing what you don't know. If you're not collecting data, you can't possibly know if you're doing the right things."

He cited the example of an ISA member and listed property investor using the benchmark as the standard property companies need to meet to qualify as potential investments.

The ISA's data currently cover five European markets and two asset classes: retail and office.

But Pike said discussions with potential members since the launch at Expo yesterday had revealed demand for logistics and warehousing benchmarks.

Eventually, he said, the benchmark will cover multiple asset categories and markets across Europe and the world.

In the meantime, the ISA plans to focus on data collection for its sustainability performance index and reporting capability.