Sustainable investing creates value and has a positive long-term effect on performance. Social, economic and ecological criteria should therefore also be considered when making decisions about real estate investments. These include, for example, the reduction of CO2 emissions, the development of renewable energies, the promotion of energy efficiency, tenant satisfaction and the optimization of properties’ life cycle costs.
The growing importance given by society to sustainability topics is also very noticeable in the real estate sector. In addition to the growing stringency of statutory requirements, this topic is also becoming more important for investors and clients. Since 2012, we have been consistently pursuing our sustainability strategy, which is equally applied to all products. Using a fully integrated approach which is constantly developed further, we not only measure our ecological footprint, but we also want to make a positive contribution to the environment and society (“positive impact”) through our actions. This holistic approach goes hand-in-hand with the UN’s goals for sustainable development. The 17 goals entered into force in 2016 and have been designed to contribute to the positive transformation of society and the environment over their 15-year term until 2030. With our responsible real estate management, we can make a direct contribution to eight of these 17 goals.
One of these goals is “Affordable and clean energy”: we are implementing energy efficiency measures to reduce energy consumption, thereby also reducing the ancillary costs for our tenants. We are increasing the percentage of renewable energy through photovoltaic projects and plan to install more than 100 power-generating plants with an output of some 15 MWp by 2021. More than 20 such plants have already been installed.
Another goal is ‘Climate action’: here, we are reducing the CO2 emissions of our properties. Only renewable energies are used in new buildings. Fossil-fuel plants in existing buildings are successively being replaced by renewable energies.
Measurability of our sustainability goals
We not only measure our performance internally, but also constantly compare ourselves to the market. We take part in the annual GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark). GRESB, a global sustainability platform dedicated to real estate, validates and compares the ESG performance (environmental, social, governance) of real estate vehicles every year. Among other things, GRESB examines the energy and resource efficiency of participants as well as their sustainability strategies and monitoring measures. The topics are constantly expanding in order to also make the integrative approach measurable.
Since 2017, the Swiss real estate business of UBS Asset Management has also been publishing a comprehensive sustainability report once a year, which meets the transparency standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). This year, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) evaluation platform has paid recognition to the sustainability strategy of Real Estate Switzerland several times.
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