By Marinus Dijkman, President and CEO of REP (Real Estate Publishers)
At the BEX summit 'Where Property Meets the Green Built Environment', Hamburg, June 8-10 2009
"Despite the global economic downturn, regeneration, innovation, collaboration and sustainability continue to flourish."
This year's fifth annual Building Exchange (BEX) conference, held at the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg in Hamburg from June 8-10, 2009, attracted high level participants including business leaders from across the global property, construction and infrastructure sectors in spite of the tough economic climate.
Over three days, a variety of renowned speakers shared their thoughts with an enthusiastic attendees on topics including sustainability, regeneration and valuation.
Steve Williams, past president of RICS. Photo: www.van-kann.de
Turning green into gold
The sustainability panel held at 10am on Tuesday June 9, chaired by Steve Williams, past president of RICS, was an interactive session that examined where the investment industry is coming from in terms of sustainability. Sponsored by Real Estate Publishers, the session was presented as an opportunity for the audience to quiz the three investors on the panel, which were: Sander Paul van Tongeren, Senior Sustainability Specialist Global Real Estate, APG Investments; Reinhardt Kutscher, Chairman, Union Investment, and Hans op 't Veld, Head of Listed Real Estate, PGGM.
The panel discussed the themes of who drives sustainability (regulation, governments, tenants or investors?), how to define and measure sustainability as an investor, and the need to engage the largest investors in educating the market to improve sustainability in real estate. The discussion then broadened into a wider debate about the role of sustainability in valuation, and how to convince investors of the value of investing in sustainable real estate.The notion that tenant behavior can impact the 'green value' of a building was also discussed with the panelists stressing that social as well as environmental issues must be addressed in sustainable real estate.