EPRA: Leading pension funds join forces to green real estate investments

11 of the world's largest pension asset managers, representing US $1.4 trillion in assets under management, have joined forces to create the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB).

The GRESB Foundation will execute an annual survey to scrutinize the sustainability of fund managers in the real estate industry. The goal is to simultaneously create shareholder value and reduce the sector's substantial carbon footprint, by creating more transparency in the environmental sustainability of real estate investment managers. EPRA supports this initiative which is consistent with our developing approach to the EPRA Best Practices Recommendations for Sustainability performance reporting.

The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark follows from a 2009 award-winning initiative by the Founding Members (European pension asset managers APG, PGGM and USS), who cooperated with Maastricht University (Netherlands) to measure the energy efficiency and sustainability of their real estate investments. The Benchmark serves as a starting point for engagement.

Global coverage of private and listed real estate investment managers
The GRESB Foundation launched its first survey on March 28, and the collected data will provide input for the 2011 benchmark. GRESB is unique in scope and coverage, covering both the global property market and the entire universe of private and listed entities. A large group of leading, international pension asset managers has joined the initiative, including ATP (the largest pension fund in Denmark), the Ontario Teachers' Pension Fund (the largest single-employer pension plan in Canada), Local Government Superannuation (the civil service pension fund in Australia), Mn Services (the third largest pension asset manager in the Netherlands), and Hermes Real Estate (one of the largest real estate managers in the UK). Other asset managers that joined the ranks include Aviva Investors (a global asset manager) and the US-based Paramount Group.

Leading real estate industry associations, including the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA), the European Association for Investors in Non-listed Real Estate Vehicles (INREV) and Jones Lang LaSalle are actively supporting the GRESB Foundation.

A catalyst for environmental engagement
By using information collected by GRESB, institutional investors will be able to compare the environmental performance of individual property investments with their environmental real estate targets. The intention is that this benchmarking will serve as a catalyst for environmental engagement in real estate investments. The results of the survey, which are expected in September of this year, will form the basis for a collective effort towards a more resource efficient institutional real estate industry.

More information about the GRESB Foundation and the Benchmark can be found at www.gresb.com.

Source: EPRA

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