The case for incorporating environmental and ethical criteria into investment research in mainstream equity and bond investing is well established, but the role of 'green' factors in the real estate sector is perhaps less discussed.
The Hamburg-based real estate management arm of Union Investment aims to change that with a new knowledge portal on sustainable real estate investment. Launched on Friday, the new web portal will provide detailed information about green buildings as an emerging asset class.
“Knowledge is the basis of successful investment,” says Fabian Hellbusch, head of marketing and communication at Union Investment Real Estate GmbH. “The aim of the new online platform is to create awareness of both the need to embrace sustainability and the associated property investment opportunities, and also to contribute to a shared understanding of this complex area.”
Sixty per cent of respondents to a recent Europe-wide survey of property professionals carried out by Union Investment said that sustainability criteria are already embedded in their investment strategy. However, the proliferation of structural and climate control innovations, as well as new laws and certification schemes, can make it difficult to keep up with developments.
The new sustainable real estate investment portal focuses on commercial properties, looking at the development, construction and refurbishment of sustainable buildings, as well as their certification and operation. Using sustainable office and retail properties from Union Investment’s own real estate portfolio as examples, It considers what makes a successful green building.
The portal also features a 360° 3D panorama of an office building which demonstrates the different aspects that go to make up a truly sustainable building. The panorama provides best practice examples from around the world for each aspect.
Union Investment Real Estate GmbH currently has €18bn under management in open-ended real estate funds. These funds have long been an important feature of the German retail investment market. Overall assets under management in open-ended real estate funds in Germany totalled almost €90bn at 31 May 2010.
In 2009, Union Investment developed the Sustainable Investment Check to review the sustainable quality of its property holdings. Over the past year, it has invested €470m in certified green buildings, and its real estate portfolio currently includes 15 properties and projects that have been awarded national or international certification for their sustainable construction.
Fiona Rintoul, editorial director
©2010 funds europe