Property industry falling behind on green goals

The property industry has sustainability strategies in place, but is failing to act on them, new research from property consultant Bilfinger GVA has found.

Its survey of UK real estate fund and portfolio managers found that only 50% of respondents are assessing operational energy efficiency, and more than 60% are failing to assign exact figures for the costs or benefits of sustainability issues in investment appraisals.

The survey also found:

  • 84% of respondents have a sustainability strategy in place
  • 43% are yet to assess their portfolio’s risk profile for minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES)
  • 71% see benefit in engaging with occupiers
  • 55% plan to create asset level carbon or energy reduction plans
  • 48% are seeking to outperform current building and planning regulatory requirements
  • 16% are seeking to set science-based emission reduction targets.

MEES are set to make it unlawful for landlords to sign new leases on property with poor energy performance (defined as having an energy performance certificate rating or F or G) from April 2018. It has been estimated that 20% of non-domestic properties in England and Wales could be affected.

The full findings of the Bilfinger GVA biannual survey are published in the report, Green to gold. Alastair Mant, director and head of sustainability at Bilfinger GVA, said: “Our Green to gold survey illustrates how short investment horizons appear to translate into less focus on sustainability. Existing corporate and fund level sustainability strategies are not translating into the level of change at acquisition and management level. F and G rated EPCs are known to be a risk, but the actual level is still largely unknown, while action on mitigating climate change is set to be far below the required level to meet national and global targets.”

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