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USS, ABP and PGGM collaborate on real estate

Three of Europe’s largest institutional investors have teamed up to investigate the way environmental issues are assessed and managed by real estate companies.

The UK’s £23 billion ($37.7 billion) Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and the asset management arms of Dutch pension funds ABP and PGGM (APG Group and PGGM Investments) have commissioned Maastricht University in the Netherlands to conduct a global survey of listed
and unlisted real estate companies across Europe.

The Environmental Real Estate Survey covers the main environmental indicators, including energy, CO2, water and waste, and is aiming to provide a baseline assessment of activities in this area.

“If you combine our listed, unlisted and direct exposure to real estate, the combined assets make it one of the most
significant sectors in which the fund invests,” said Peter Moon, outgoing chief investment officer of USS.

“If you also consider that approximately 50 per cent of carbon emissions are related to properties and their occupation, as long term investors we have a duty to assess and manage risks in this sector.”

The survey will be sent out in stages, with the first tranche sent during June to all listed real estate companies across Europe. The results will be presented to the broader investment market during the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA) conference in September.

According to Sander Paul van Tongeren, senior sustainability specialist global real estate at APG, the survey covers the four main real estate sectors – retail, office, residential and industrial and the three main real estate regions of the US, Asia Pacific and Europe.

Its development was aided by feedback from a number of leading European Real Estate companies.

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