PGGM to measure carbon footprint of entire real estate portfolio

PGGM, the €186bn asset manager for the Dutch healthcare pension fund PFZW, has entered into an exclusive partnership with a data analytics company to map the carbon footprint of its entire property portfolio.

With the assistance of technology developed by GeoPhy, PGGM aims to become the world’s first investor able to map the carbon effects of its €20bn in real estate holdings – even down to individual buildings.

PGGM said the agreement would enable it to compare the CO2 footprint of its property portfolio – equally divided across listed and private property – with those of several local real estate markets.

Maurice Wilbrink, spokesman for PGGM, said: “Because GeoPhy’s platform allows for comparison between individual buildings, we can quickly increase sustainability for our current investments, as well as add sustainable real estate in a more targeted manner.

“This will provide us with the ultimate remedy to achieve carbon benefits.”

He said the technology would also allow PGGM to assess the costs of improving properties to their required level.

He added that PGGM expected to set a worldwide standard with the deal, “as the shift to sustainability is unavoidable”.

Hans op ’t Veld, head of listed real estate at PGGM, said that, “by achieving full insight into the CO2 performance of real estate investments, we cater to the wishes of our clients, who want to know how their investments can contribute to solving the climate problem”.

According to Op ’t Veld, the strict sustainability requirements will improve returns, “as they will increase the quality of the portfolio, and tenants are increasingly prepared to pay for sustainable buildings”.

Last year, PGGM doubled its private and listed real estate in the highest sustainability category, according to the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB).

Guido Verhoef, PGGM’s head of private real estate, said: “With half of our current real estate investments already having the highest GRESB qualification, GeoPhy’s instruments will help us to achieve a fully sustainable portfolio.”

Last year, the €161bn PFZW announced that it would increase its sustainable investments fourfold to at least €16bn within five years.

Within this period, the pension fund has also committed to reduce the carbon footprint of its entire portfolio by 50%.

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