Governance and compliance
Our Sustainable Property Committee meets once a quarter to discuss our public targets and performance. This committee is overseeon by the Group Corporate Responsibility and Ethics Committee. We actively contribute to group-wide targets on environment and social impact.
every Transaction matters
When buying, selling or refurbishing or regenerating commercial property there are a number of practical ways that sustainability sits at the heart of those decisions. Here are a few examples:
Minimising risks – risk assessment
Every asset under management has an sustainability risk assessment which is part of our asset sustainability plans.
This system has been developed by using specialist support from external consultants Upstream to develop us a full universe of sustainability risks applicable at both portfolio and asset level. This framework is applied to identify and monitor sustainability risks within the fund portfolio. The criteria are highly advanced, examining issues from multiple angles and this property-by-property insight on sustainability risks enables the fund manager to benchmark the portfolio against likely future standards.
Energy performance certificates (EPCs)
In the Energy Act 2011 the UK committed to introducing minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) by the 1 April 2018. This may result in buildings with an EPC rating of an F or G not being able to be sold or let until they are upgraded to an E rating or above. We have an active programme to minimise the effect of this legislation.
Prior to acquisition all assets undergo a thorough sustainability assessment. We believe our current specification is amongst the most stringent in the industry.
Sustainable property investment framework
This framework sits alongside our ISO 14001 environmental management system and looks at how we manage sustainably across our platform. The framework consists of seven key elements:
- Policies and objectives – set at platform, fund and asset level
- Annual target setting – set at both asset and fund level for all quantifiable data including energy, water, waste and carbon emissions. Asset sustainability plans (ASP) are developed for each asset linking any further improvements and environmental impact reduction measures to planned maintenance and the long term asset strategy.
- Monitoring – quarterly reports on each asset covering performance against targets in all areas of sustainably.
- Capital works – ensuring our sustainability briefs and requirements are applied to all new build and refurbishment projects.
- Training and industry participation
- Reporting and communication – delivering quarterly fund reports based on summaries of our quarterly sustainability report on each asset and an annual fund report showing performance against set objectives and targets in addition to a house sustainability report on performance against targets and Group CSR report
Implementing Green leases
Our green lease clauses follow the UK better building partnership (BBP) guidance. We’re also currently working with major tenants to develop mutually acceptable green lease clauses on memorandums of understanding (MOU) across our portfolios.
Our service providers and supply chain
Our advisers and agents play a key role in helping us both develop and implement our sustainably policies, strategies, processes and targets. With the help of our key service providers, we set standards and monitor the supply chains associated with our management of existing buildings and new build or refurbishments projects.
New build and major refurbishment
We focus on delivering the dual priorities of maximising return to investors and the improvement in sustainability credentials. In 2006 we overhauled our investment process to assess all properties against a set of stringent sustainability criteria, cementing the role such factors play in determining stock selection and shaping recommendations on improvements. Each planned development or refurbishment project is undertaken with a view to achieving the best sustainability outcomes. We have set guidance to direct project delivery teams to consider more sustainable design, including the selection of materials, which can significantly improve the sustainable performance of assets. All of our contractors are required to build sustainability considerations into all proposals.
Renewables and FITs
We actively seek opportunities to include renewable technologies in our existing sites and new developments. This not only provides low carbon energy for our tenants but can also improve returns due to the UK government-backed feed in tariffs (FITs).