Union Investment publishes first comprehensive report into environmental performance of property fund portfolio

Union Investment is one of Germany's first major property portfolio managers to have conducted a comprehensive analysis of its global real estate fund portfolio according to sustainability criteria.

The results were unveiled in Berlin on May 23 at the German Property Federation (Zentraler Immobilien Ausschuss e.V., ZIA) Real Estate Industry Day.

"This analysis gives us the first detailed overview of emissions and resource consumption within a major portfolio. Representative of our wider holdings, we will be making this data available for professional benchmarking purposes," says Dr. Reinhard Kutscher, Chairman of the Management Board of Hamburg-based Union Investment Real Estate GmbH.

Union Investment previously used its Sustainable Investment Check in 2009 and 2010 to qualitatively examine its portfolio and property acquisitions in terms of their economic, ecological and sociocultural sustainability.

In addition, the real estate investment management company has created its own quantitative rating system in order to show emissions and resource consumption stemming from its real estate portfolio based on actual consumption data, enabling regular reporting.

"Embedding the system into our standard asset and property management processes allows ongoing monitoring of building-level consumption data. It also enables us to track and manage the impact of our sustainability upgrades to existing buildings effectively," adds Kutscher.

Sustainable portfolio management the next step
With the aim of further improving the environmental performance of its internationally diversified holdings, in spring 2012 Union Investment assessed a total of 187 office, retail, hotel and logistics properties from its open-ended real estate funds with regard to ecological aspects.

The portfolio selected has a market value of some €14 billion and contains 4,274,253 m² of floor space, equivalent to 78% of total space in the company's portfolio. In terms of composition – uses, property age, regions and fund breakdown – it is representative of the overall Union Investment real estate portfolio (valuation: €18.7 billion; 5,459,181 m²).

The evaluation drew on five key performance indicators (KPIs): final energy consumption, primary energy consumption, CO2 emissions, water consumption, and the volume of waste produced.

Extrapolated for the complete portfolio of 282 properties, this first in-depth audit gives a CO2 footprint of 351,487 tonnes per year. The water footprint is some 2,356,006 cubic meters per year.

"This first in-depth audit of our portfolio underlines its quality from an energy-efficiency and ecological standpoint. Based on extremely detailed data, we will now identify potential for optimization and formulate an action plan by the end of 2012 that will deliver continuous, measurable improvements in the environmental performance of our buildings and portfolio going forward," says Kutscher.

Union Investment intends to publish an annual report on its progress: "We want our reporting to reflect our pioneering role on the sustainability front."

Union Investment is one of the first companies to have submitted a sustainability report that meets the reporting requirements of the German Property Federation's (ZIA) sustainability code for the property industry.

Source: Union Investment Real Estate GmbH

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