Leading global real estate companies launch major sustainability partnership (EU)

Friday March 25 saw the launch of a partnership of leading global real estate companies dedicated to assessing and improving the environmental performance of existing buildings. These companies include AEW Europe, Allianz Real Estate, AXA Real Estate, GE Capital Real Estate Europe, ING Real Estate Investment Management, KanAm Grund and LaSalle Investment Management, together with international service providers such as Bureau Veritas, Socotec, WSP Environmental, Drees & Sommer AG, Deloitte Real Estate Advisory and Schneider.

The Green Rating Alliance is a not-for-profit association with a tool and benchmarking platform designed to assess and improve the environmental performance of existing buildings. Having been developed and trialed for several years by several members in multiple European countries, the aim of the Alliance is to bring Green Rating ™ to the wider property industry, as well as exchanging best practice and continuously enhancing the methodology, tools and indicators.

Designed by property practitioners for the property sector, Green Rating ™ is a decision-making tool which offers a new approach to assessing and improving the environmental performance of existing buildings across borders, allowing investors and portfolio managers to enhance the value of their assets and to initiate constructive dialogue with tenants for improvement actions, on a factual basis.

The Green Rating ™ assessments are carried out by carefully selected, accredited and trained consultants from reputed audit firms who perform an efficient third party evaluation of the building.

The methodology assesses the environmental performance of buildings at two separate levels, Intrinsic and Actual. The Intrinsic assessment evaluates the building design and equipment and the Actual assessment evaluates the building according to current activities and operations.

The Intrinsic and Actual performance of a building is assessed against six key environmental criteria. These are: Energy, Carbon and Water, which are assessed by a quantitative process; and Transport, Wellbeing and Waste, which are assessed by a qualitative process.

A key distinctive element of the Green Rating ™ is that assessments also result in practical recommendations for improving the performance of buildings and portfolios through improvement of occupier behavior and management of operations, as well as investments for technical enhancement.

To date the environmental performance of over 4 million m² of European property space in more than 60 cities across 12 countries has already been measured by the Green Rating ™. With a platform to provide a consistent benchmark on environmental performance of buildings now firmly established, the assessment scheme is available to property owners, occupiers as well as consultants or valuers. Whilst initially, it will work through its existing European network, the Green Rating Alliance will look to expand in the future to other regions such as Asia-Pacific and America.

The management of the Green Rating Alliance is governed by a board of directors comprising the current members of the organization, and chaired by Pierre Vaquier, CEO of AXA Real Estate. Combined, current members of the Alliance manage in excess of €200 billion of real estate across Europe and this number is expected to continue to grow significantly over time as other leading property companies join the organization.

With sustainability concerns now at the very heart of the building sector, and with new regulations and a positive willingness to take a responsible approach, Green Rating Alliance aims at helping the construction and real estate industries reduce CO2 emissions, waste and reliance on natural resources, as well as urbanization detrimental to the environment by providing a clear European benchmark.

Pierre Vaquier, Chairman of the Green Rating Alliance and CEO of AXA Real Estate, said: "The founding partners of the Green Rating Alliance recognize that the property industry is at the core of sustainability issues, given th

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