Although still in its infancy, sustainability is becoming an obligation
Trends Knack

Although still in its infancy, sustainability is becoming an obligation

Sustainability is becoming more prominent in the real estate sector. ‘In Europe, real estate accounts for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions.

Although still in its infancy, sustainability is becoming an obligation
Trends Knack

There is therefore significant potential for improvement. However, the sector could do with some more incentivisation, as only 1 to 2 percent of properties undergo thorough renovation each year’, explains Pertinea Property Partners Managing Partner Philip De Greve.

Pertinea are a real estate asset management company investing in retail property in Belgium and the Netherlands, while also investing in residential real estate through partnerships with developers. They are strongly committed to sustainability, as shown through their incorporation of heat pumps, adapted blinds and awnings, solar panels, green roofs and water recovery in their development projects.

Do you find it strange that your bank is asking about your sustainability strategy?

DE GREVE. ‘KBC informed us that sustainability is included in their credit risk strategy. For us, this was no surprise. KBC recently joined forces with other banks through the Collective Commitment to Climate Action. In doing so, these banks are committing themselves to acting as a financing lever, facilitating the transition set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. The real estate sector was the first to be tackled in this endeavour.

As real estate professionals, we are well aware of the underlying issues. As such, we recently appointed a Sustainability Manager. It's good that banks are acting as active partners with their customers. In our case, we went through Encon, the bank's advisory partner for sustainability. The bank also informed us about some interesting market innovations in green financing, providing several promising avenues to explore.’

Can interaction with financiers influence the way a company looks at sustainability?

DE GREVE. ‘Of course. For the time being, it is simply an invitation to think about sustainability. However, I expect that, over time, this will become an obligation for companies wishing to continue to easily obtain financing on attractive terms. The banks are tightening their lending policies in line with their sustainability targets. As a result, ventures like lignite power plants and tobacco production are already proving exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to finance through conventional banking channels.

Pertinea firmly believes that a focus on sustainability is a must for anyone wishing to protect the value of their property portfolio in the long term.’

©Trends Knack |Patrick Claerhout

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