Guidance developed on an impact-based approach to finance for real estate investors and asset managers

12 February 2019

The UNEP FI Property Working Group, in collaboration with RICS, PRI, and members of the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change, have produced a practical, action-oriented framework to accelerate a new financing paradigm for the delivery of the global SDGs.

The 25 leading institutional investors and asset managers of the UNEP FI Property Working Group – alongside partners RICS, PRI, IIGCC, AIGCC, and IGCC[1] – have published a new guide for developing and executing an impact-based approach in real estate finance and management. The Positive Impact Real Estate Investment Framework responds to finance sector interest in investment outcomes for productive, equitable, healthy, and resilient economies and societies.

Positive Impact posits a holistic approach to finance, requiring an appraisal of both positive and negative impacts; consideration of all three dimensions economy, society and environment; and transparency and assessment of methodologies and impact achieved. The Positive Impact Real Estate Investment Framework offers a process tool for institutions to identify impact ‘areas of influence’ and corresponding investment opportunities, measure ex-ante and ex-post impact, and ultimately re-orient institutional capacities and capital for intentional delivery of outcomes that support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It draws upon the UNEP FI Impact Radar, guidance that translates the SDGs into meaningful terms for businesses and financing impact assessment.

For dissemination and uptake of the Positive Impact Real Estate Investment Framework, UNEP FI and its collaborating partners will run a series of webinars and events targeting real estate investors in several global regions in the first half of 2019. Further activities for 2019 will include a call for case studies for investments that have applied the Positive Impact Real Estate Investment Framework. For more information, please contact Matthew Ulterino, Property Investment Project Coordinator at UNEP Finance Initiative: matthew.ulterino@un.org.

Quotes from investors and collaborators:

“The real estate framework is a must-read for all property lenders and investors looking to increase their impact. It’s also a testament to the power of collaboration between institutions advancing sustainable finance.” Eric Usher, Head, UNEP Finance Initiative

“Through impactful investment frameworks real-estate investors can intentionally deliver social and environment outcomes that support the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals’ target. We do this in Hermes by focusing on selected impactful investment themes – place making, climate and resource efficiency, health & well-being. The Real Estate Impact Framework is a useful tool for investors to map and select the most relevant actions they can take to support the SDGs suiting their specific investment strategies.” Tatiana Bosteels, Director Responsibility, Hermes Investment Management and chair UNEP FI Investment Commission

 “The real estate and built environment sector more broadly can absolutely implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We will only get results on sustainability if we help the sector prioritise looking at investments by both their positive and negative impacts, and initiatives like this framework are a tangible way we are supporting professionals to do so.” Sean Tompkins, CEO Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

“As a long-standing member of the UNEP FI Property Working Group, PRI is pleased to have contributed to the development of this report. It provides a useful guide for any real estate investor looking to implement an impact-based strategy. “ Fiona Reynolds, CEO, Principles for Responsible Investment

“We welcome the publication of this guide, which will be an important tool for investors looking to increase the impact of their real estate investments in supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and in contributing to a low carbon future.” Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC)

“Investors in Asia are increasingly looking to align their portfolios to the SDGs, and this framework is an essential tool helping investors readily identify where they can add impact to their strategies in real estate.” Rebecca Mikula-Wright, Director, Asia Investor Group on Climate Change

“This Framework provides a useful tool for Australian investors looking to better assess the impact of their capital allocation decisions and really drive sustainable outcomes in real estate.  We need new ways of thinking to better tackle the challenges we face. Guides like this will support greater investor action and ambition”, Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) Emma Herd, CEO, Investor Group on Climate Change

Notes to Editors

The Real Estate Investment Framework was published alongside other Model Frameworks from the Positive Impact Initiative, covering financial products for corporates with unspecified use of funds, as well as for project-related finance. For more information about the Positive Impact Initiative please contact, Careen Abb or Jérôme Tagger: careen.abb@un.org / Jerome.tagger@un.org

 

About United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative.

UNEP FI is a partnership between United Nations Environment and the global financial sector created in the wake of the 1992 Earth Summit with a mission to promote sustainable finance. More than 230 financial institutions, including banks, insurers, and investors, work with UN Environment to understand today’s environmental, social and governance challenges, why they matter to finance, and how to actively participate in addressing them.

UNEP FI’s work also includes a strong focus on policy – by facilitating country-level dialogues between finance practitioners, supervisors, regulators and policy-makers, and, at the international level, by promoting financial sector involvement in processes such as the global climate negotiations. For more information, see https://www.unepfi.org/

About the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change.

AIGCC is an initiative to create awareness among Asia’s asset owners and financial institutions about the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and low carbon investing. AIGCC provides capacity for investors to share best practice and to collaborate on investment activity, credit analysis, risk management, engagement and policy. For more information, see http://aigcc.net/

About the Investor Group on Climate Change.

IGCC is a collaboration of 60 institutional investors and advisors, managing over $1 trillion and focusing on the impact that climate change has on the financial value of investments in Australasia. The IGCC aims to encourage government policies and investment practices that address the risks and opportunities of climate change, for the ultimate benefit of superannuate and unit holders. One of IGCC’s streams of work is focussed on climate change risk and opportunities in the built environment, as well as considerations around climate change adaptation and resilience. For more information, see www.igcc.org.au

About the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change.

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), is the pre-eminent European forum for investor collaboration on climate action and the voice of investors taking action for a prosperous, low carbon, future. It has 153 mainly mainstream investors across 12 countries with over €21 trillion assets under management (including nine of the top ten largest European pension funds or asset managers). IIGCC’s mission is to mobilise capital for the low carbon transition by working with business, policy makers and investors to encourage public policies, investment practices and corporate behaviours that will address the long-term risks and opportunities associated with climate change. Members consider it a fiduciary duty to ensure stranded asset risk or other losses from climate change are minimised and that opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy – such as renewable energy, new technologies and energy efficiency – are maximised. For more information, see www.iigcc.org and @iigccnews

About the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

The PRI works with its international network of institutional investor signatories to put the six Principles for Responsible Investment into practice. Its goal is to understand the investment implications of environmental, social and governance issues and to support signatories in integrating these issues into investment and stewardship decisions. The six Principles were developed by investors and are supported by the UN. There are over 2,100 signatories from over 50 countries representing US $ 81.7 trillion of assets (as of April 2018). The six Principles are voluntary and aspirational, offering a menu of possible actions for incorporating ESG issues into investment practices. In implementing the Principles, signatories contribute to developing a more sustainable global financial system. For more information, see www.unpri.org

About the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

RICS promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the valuation, development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. The RICS name promises the consistent delivery of standards – bringing confidence to markets and effecting positive change in the built and natural environments. For more information, see www.rics.org

 

[1] United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative; Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; Principles for Responsible Investment; Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change; Asia Investor Group on Climate Change; Investor Group on Climate Change

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