GLOBAL - Sarasin has launched what it claims to be the world's first fund to specialise in investing in sustainable real estate companies.

The Swiss private bank has repositioned its former real estate equity vehicle to invest in listed global pioneers in the area of sustainable property.

Sarasin Sustainable Equity - Real Estate Global invests in listed property companies and real estate investment trusts (REITs), taking into consideration environmental and social criteria.

Sarasin contends that the fund's position on sustainability will "make a positive contribution" to its overall performance.

Klaus Kaempf at the sustainablilty research team at Sarasin said: "Of all the sectors, real estate has the biggest potential for reducing energy consumption and preventing greenhouse gas emissions. The property sector therefore has a key role to play in combating climate change."

The fund was originally conceived by Sarasin fund manager Jakes Ferguson. He said: "We have looked at sustainability in global real estate for over 12 months, and find this issue right at the top of the agenda for many Western REITs and property companies. We are sure that sustainability will continue to grow in importance in Asia."