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Work Streams





  • New Investor Briefing: Commercial Real Estate – Unlocking the energy efficiency retrofit opportunity
    Energy efficiency retrofits have shown attractive returns on investment, even for short term investors. This is because such measures do not only generate direct cost savings, and they also are showing positive impacts on the overall value of buildings. However, despite evidence of the cost-effectiveness and robustness of the business case for such investments the vast majority of profitable retrofit opportunities remain untapped. The report provides a synthesis of essential information and practices from real estate leaders in the form of a seven step approach and includes examples of how investors can increase the value of their real estate assets through energy efficiency retrofits.


Property investing is a multi-trillion dollar worldwide industry that can have profound positive or negative effects on environmental, social and cultural goals. Issues as diverse as urban poverty, global warming and indigenous people’s rights are affected by decisions about the development, refurbishment, and management of properties. Investors can have a positive influence on these decisions.

"Buildings account for approximately a third of the world’s energy consumption and global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They are considered a high-impact sector for urgent mitigation action on climate change. As building owners and operators, real estate professionals have an opportunity to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions while increasing the value of their real estate assets."

Frank Hovorka
Director, Responsible Property Director, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations
Laurie Weir
Senior Portfolio Manager, CalPERS

Our Work

UNEP FI’s work on property investing is carried out by the Property Working Group (PWG). Its purpose is to encourage property investment and management practices that achieve the best possible environmental, social and financial results.

The Property Working Group strives to encourage sustainability in property finance.

Aims of the Property Working Group

  • Promote and encourage Responsible Property Investment by assembling evidence to show how it can protect or enhance financial returns throughout the lifecycle of buildings while simultaneously reducing negative environmental and social impacts.
  • Demonstrate clearly how best practice in Responsible Property Investment can be applied to property assets, portfolios and financing.
  • Work autonomously or with others to collaborate on initiatives to develop and promote best practice in property investment organizations.
  • Inform and share information with policy-makers on establishing the appropriate policy and regulatory environments for Responsible Property Investment practices to flourish.
  • Be a thought leader and recognised voice on Responsible Property Investment by facilitating access to relevant information, best practice and expertise.

Ongoing work

Assisting property investors and property fund and asset managers in adopting Responsible Property Investment (RPI) practices is an ongoing area of PWG work. PWG has recently an Investor Briefing that outlines why and how asset owners and managers can generate profitable energy efficiency investment opportunities and proactively manage them even in cases where payback is uncertain.

The PWG also enforces the involvement in policy development and explore public and private financing mechanisms for energy efficiency (EE) retrofit market: The UNEP FI PWG collaborates with the European Commission (Directorate-General for Energy), private and public financial institutions to discuss the current market framework, and to bring solutions at the speed and scale necessary. Working sessions since 2013 have led to the creation of the Energy Efficiency Finance Institutions Group (EFFIG) that will contribute to develop the understanding of how finance can support the European targets, in the general framework of the Energy Efficiency Directive.

Going forward the PWG will aim to bring that ongoing work and results with the European Commission to other countries and adapt the model to the regional contexts.

The group continues to focus on the field of sustainability metrics for property ESG performance. The PWG, in collaboration with the PRI, the RICS and the IIGCC will publish a report titles “Sustainability Metrics – Translation and impact on property investment and management” in May 2014. The objective of this report is to improve the industry’s technical ability and sophistication in creating the necessary information links and feedback loops within the property market. The report’s primary audience are commercial property investment and management firms, however, this report is also useful for other property professionals and decision-makers in related sectors such as banking and insurance.


  • Actis, UK
  • Aviva Investors (Aviva plc), UK
  • Allianz Real Estate (Allianz SE), Germany
  • Axa Real Estate Managers (Axa – Group Management Services), France
  • Bentall Kennedy, USA & Canada
  • BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Services (BNP Paribas Fortis), France
  • British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC), Canada
  • Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, France
  • CalPERS, USA
  • Colonial First State Global Asset Management (Commonwealth Bank of Australia), Australia
  • Deutsche Bank, Germany & USA
  • F&C REIT Asset Management, UK
  • Hermes Real Estate, UK
  • Hesse Newman Capital AG, Germany
  • Inflection Point Capital Management (UK) Co., Ltd
  • Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services, India
  • Investa Property Group, Australia
  • Lend Lease, Australia
  • M&G Real Estate, UK
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corporation, Japan
  • Portigon, Germany
  • RobecoSAM, Switzerland
  • The Link REIT, Hong Kong
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Limited
  • Thomas Lloyd, UK
  • Sustainable Development Capital LLP, UK
  • UBS Global Real Estate (UBS AG), Switzerland


  • HBOR
  • PGGM


  • Tatiana Bosteels, Head of Responsible Property Investment, Hermes Real Estate (2014-2015)
  • Frank Hovorka, Head of Real Estate Sustainable Policy, Caisse des Depots et Consignations (2013-2014)

Advisory Group

  • Michael Brooks, CEO of the Real Property Association of Canada (Canada)
  • Maria Atkinson, Director, XO
  • Gary Pivo, Professor of Urban Planning and Professor of Natural Resources, The University of Arizona
  • Sarah Sayce, Head of School of Surveying, Faculty of Art and Design and Architecture, Kingston University
  • Paul McNamara, OBE, Former Director, Head of Research, PRUPIM



Elodie Feller
property [at] unepfi.org


Property Publications
  PDF Energy Efficiency – Final Report covering Buildings, Industry and SMEs
(2.3 MB | 133 pages)
  How to drive new finance for energy efficiency investments  
  PDF Sustainability Metrics: Translation and Impact on Property Investment and Management
(5.5 MB | 111 pages)
  A report on how property managers and investors can use sustainability metrics in their decisions.
Japanese version
Executive Summary
Press Release
Event Page
  PDF Energy Efficiency – the first fuel for the EU Economy
(1.5 MB | 50 pages)
  How to drive new finance for energy efficiency investments  
  PDF Commercial Real Estate: Unlocking the energy efficiency retrofit investment opportunity
(670 KB | 32 pages)
  A briefing on why investors should invest in retrofit opportunities.
Japanese version
Press release
Event page
  PDF Responsible Property Investment – What the leaders are doing 2nd edition
(3.9 MB | 46 pages)
  A collection of case studies of leading property investors applying RPI principles within their decision-making.  
  MoreAll Publications