Transparency will be a must as measuring and tracking has become a key component of an ESG strategy, experts agreed at Real Asset Media’s How to Maximise Your ESG Impact briefing, which took place yesterday at the Provada real estate event in Amsterdam.
“There is a need for disclosure of data, of energy consumption, of the environmental footprint,” said Rutger Schnuur, chief investment officer, ParkBee. “Now that we’ve gone beyond greenwashing, measuring and certifying are key to this transition.”
Collecting and comparing data provides clarity and certainty to the market, enabling investors, tenants and lenders to compare and evaluate companies’ performance as well as that of individual assets.
“Test, verify and certify: the market is moving that way and it will be necessary to provide constant proof throughout the life-cycle of the building,” said Paul Wessels, co-founder, Blue Module. “It will be a big change, but we’re heading into the era of making ESG measurable.”
Reliable data create real value by make the investment into sustainability, wellness and health measurable and quantifiable.
“Data in the broadest sense of the word are extremely important for us,” said Anne de Jong, CEO, Merin. “We have 17 buildings with a smart platform, we collect the data and use them to be more energy efficient. We share the cost 50/50 with our 400 tenants, who really like the system.”
There is strong market pressure to be transparent and provide information on energy consumption and other metrics, but it is not easy for everyone.
“It is difficult for the real estate market to share information and be transparent,” said Wessels. “Transparency is not something that comes naturally to our industry, but it will increasingly be enforced.”
Leaders of the pack and ESG pioneers see transparency as a positive, but for others it is a tricky change in habits and mindset.
“Some companies think energy consumption is a company secret, so it’s very difficult to get the transparency needed,” said Joost Leendertse, founder & CEO, VerusSol.
As more companies do the right thing, whether willingly or pushed by market pressure and regulation, the need for secrecy will gradually disappear.
“For us, sharing information and letting the market know my buildings are green is a unique selling point,” said de Jong. “But things are changing rapidly: in two or three years’ time transparency will become the norm.”