Sustainable real estate investing
Generali Real Estate is the specialized asset manager in the Generali Group, with around € 32 billion of assets under management (as of year-end 2020).
By managing a unique portfolio, comprising both historic and recently- constructed buildings, Generali Real Estate has developed in-depth know-how of technological innovation and sustainability. Through its specialized asset management company, GRE also manages a series of pan-European real estate investment funds.
At Generali Real Estate, taking a proactive stance in reducing the environmental impact of our portfolio is not enough. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics and monitoring are integrated in every stage of our business operations, with a market-leading portfolio of sustainability credentials as well as best practice asset and property management and a sustainable approach to construction and to urban development. The Responsible Property Investment Guidelines are the frame for the Corporate Governance for GRE Sustainability, encompassing the activities within a structured framework that guides all the future endeavours and ensure that the environmental priorities become a reality.
GRE aligns the focus of its ESG strategy, in addition to the regulatory needs, primarily to the needs of the internal and external clients. This is reflected in the commitments undertaken and the tools introduced.
As far as regulation is concerned, major focus is given to the SFDR regulation and to the incoming EU Taxonomy and to national regulations affecting the real estate business (eg. Tertiary Decree in France).
NET-ZERO ASSET OWNER ALLIANCE (NZAOA)
The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance was launched in September 2019 by the United Nations, since asset owners have a key role in driving the decarbonization of the economy through their investments. As a member of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, Generali is committed to gradually decarbonizing its investment portfolio in order to reach its carbon neutrality by 2050. Generali has set specific decarbonization targets for 2025 for the direct investments portfolio; for real estate in particular, on average the selected portfolio will be aligned with the decarbonization pathway of the CRREM model, to limit global warming to 1.5° C.
In the Generali Green Bond, assets are included, which fulfill particular high ESG criteria, like high-level certification for newly acquired buildings (i.e. LEED Gold, BREEAM Very Good or plus), energy monitoring, optimization of energy efficiency improvement >30% for retrofitting.
Some ‘green assets’ included in the Green Bond:
Generali Tower is part of CityLife, one of the most important urban redevelopment projects in Europe, a balanced mix of private and public services including a business hub, a shopping district, a residential area and Milan's third largest park. The tower (170 meters, 44 storeys) has a sinuous shape and was designed to guarantee the highest levels of efficiency and the maximum control of energy consumption. It has obtained the LEED ‘Platinum’ certification. This iconic office tower, Generali Group Headquarters, stands for Innovation, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, which are core values for the Group.
Fen Court is in a prime location in the heart of the tower cluster of the City of London. Its 15 storeys offer over 39,800 sqm of office and retail space, a public passageway through the building with 180 sqm digital LED ceiling to be used for public art installations, and a panoramic restaurant on the 14th floor. The building is crowned by a public roof garden offering stunning views to the London skyline and 3 new public spaces which were created within and around the building. Fen Court has been designed to the highest environmental sustainability requirements and has achieved the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ certification.
CERTIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT
We focus on buying and/or developing certified buildings – including but not limited to BREEAM, LEED, HQE and DGNB - in order to increase the share of certified buildings in the portfolio.
All new investments must undergo a sustainability KPI assessment, in order to ensure the acquisition of assets with high sustainability certifications, to increase the portfolio credentials through certification and/or assessment. For this purpose, GRE developed and implemented an own assessment tool, related to the BREEAM® In Use scheme. This provides GRE the possibility to have a comprehensive view on ESG quality and shows a forecast on certification opportunities. The report is part of the decision-making memorandum for new acquisitions.
The most important development project by Generali in Paris, Tour Saint-Gobain, made sustainability its distinctive mark since the design phase. As a testimony of this environmentally- centric approach, the Tour, recently completed in La Défense and hosting the new global headquarters of Saint-Gobain, has achieved all the four main international environmental certifications with the highest marks in the scale. HQE Exceptionnel, High Energy Performance Label: Effinergie +, LEED Platinum and BREEAM New Construction Outstanding. A concrete sign of the Generali commitment to set new sustainability benchmarks for the real estate sector and to reduce the environmental footprint of its properties portfolio across Europe, in close collaboration with like-minded, market leader tenants such as Saint-Gobain.
GRE funds have implemented an ESG framework aimed to grant a sustainable allocation of capital into environmentally-friendly assets, in conjunction with a strong governance process, enhanced by a set of policies and process able to further increase transparency, fairness and productivity. For example, the implementation of multiple risk management layers is granting sound monitoring capabilities, the development of cutting-edge data driven research adds objective and up-to-date ground to the underwriting phase, the robustness of a lean investment process ensures safe and fast execution. Social aspects are embedded in the asset management activities and typically depend on the peculiarities of the assets and of the communities in which it is located.
With GREEN LEASE, GRE undertakes the integration of the most important ESG topics into commercial leases in order to engage with tenants for a win-win sustainable collaboration, and to meet demand for data analytics and disclosure.
A TENANT SURVEY supports GRE in understanding needs and current situation of our tenants and enhancing relations and communication with tenants. In 2021 GRE carried out a digital survey across international portfolio with more than 2000 tenants, including questions about Sustainability & Innovation