A new sustainability framework by six industry groups promises to help real estate investors take a major step forward in cutting carbon emissions.
Drafted by six organisations including UNEP FI, the UK Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and institutional investor groups from North America, Europe and Australasia, it sets out how investors should monitor the carbon footprint of their property holdings, and how the need for such data should be passed on to third-party asset managers.
The report – which draws on previous work by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, RICS, the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment and others – argues that fiduciary duty means property investors should tackle the carbon risks associated with their holdings.
It also says asset owners should begin requesting “accurate, robust, efficient data” from their asset managers, encouraging them to put systems in place able to produce such reports.
“This would reduce quite substantially the level of effort currently expended in reporting to multiple buildings, portfolio and company-level sustainability-related frameworks for commercial property,” the framework said.
Energy, water usage and waste and carbon data have also been highlighted as increasingly important.
Tatiana Bosteels, head of responsible property investments at Hermes Investment Management and lead author of the ‘action framework’, said investors now had no reason to delay “concrete steps to transform their routine business practice”.
Eric Usher, acting head of UNEP FI, said that, in the wake of the Paris climate change agreement, it was important to find affordable ways to curb pollution.
“Public/private collaboration will be essential to finance a low-carbon economy, including in the buildings sector,” he added.
RICS president Martin Brühl praised the framework as a user-friendly tool to implement climate-friendly strategies.