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Octopus Investments has raised a further £150 million ($195 million) for its UK affordable housing fund.

The capital has been committed by British local government pension schemes Avon (which committed £50 million), Gloucestershire (£50 million), Devon (£40 million) and Clywd (£10m).

The fund raised £60 million at its first close in December 2003.

Octopus said the capital raised last year has now been fully allocated to affordable housing projects, including the acquisition of 180 affordable homes in May from Maidstone-based Golding Homes. 

The investment manager said it will leverage the resources of sister company Octopus Energy to meet its goal of creating stock with “close to zero” energy bills.

Shaun Stephenson-McGall, chair of Avon Pension Fund Investment Panel said: “The new-build properties will raise the supply of secure, affordable and energy-efficient homes, for those that need them most. This investment will help us meet our new net zero 2045 goal, while delivering attractive financial returns, to help us meet future pension promises.”

ESG proptech firm Measurabl has launched a new version of its product suite.

“The landscape is tough for real estate as high interest rates, asset revaluation, and repricing persist. Increasingly rigorous regulation surrounding sustainability and real estate performance overwhelms owners, operators, and investors, who feel pressure to go beyond disclosure and take action,” said Measurabl’s CEO and Co-Founder, Matt Ellis. 

The new cloud-based data platform offers new features including data management, data analytics, reporting and decarbonisation scenarios. 

Measurabl said its software was used across more than 18 billion square feet of real estate around the world.

CapitaLand Investment Limited (CLI) has raised RMB1 billion (approximately $138 million) from the second tranche of its inaugural sustainability-linked panda bond.

This brings the total amount raised to RMB2 billion. The AAA-rated bond was issued at a fixed coupon rate of 2.8% per annum (down from 3.5% for the first tranche in March), which CLI said was a “record low coupon rate among panda bonds with a three-year tenor issued under a private placement”.

The Singaporean investment manager’s panda bond (an RMB bond from a foreign issuer) was the first sustainability-linked bond issued in China by a Singapore company.  CLI will use the net proceeds to refinance existing borrowings.

Including this latest issuance, CLI’s total sustainable finance has reached S$18 billion ($13.4 billion) since 2018.  The bond is pegged to CLI’s target to reduce energy consumption intensity by 7.5% at its properties in China by 2025, from the base year of 2019.  This is in line with CLI’s overall net zero commitment.

Puah Tze Shyang, CEO of CLI (China), said: “The successful issuance has deepened our access to domestic funding in line with our China for China strategy.  It also dovetails CLI’s capital sources with its sustainability goals as we continue to seek responsible growth.  Tapping on lower-cost RMB capital will help to mitigate foreign exchange fluctuations and further demonstrates our disciplined capital management.”

BlackRock has launched the iShares Global Real Estate Environmental Tilt UCITS ETF, which invests in global real estate equities with a focus on sustainability.

This exchange traded fund tracks the FTSE EPRA Nareit Developed Green Low Carbon Target Select UCITS Capped Index, aimed at integrating sustainable investments into real estate portfolios.

The index excludes companies involved in oil sands, thermal coal, weapons and tobacco, and adjusts remaining weights to enhance sustainability through green building certification, reduced energy usage, and lower carbon intensity.

Classified as Article 8 under the EU’s SFDR regulation, the fund aims to achieve at least a 20% better weighted average environmental indicator than the investment universe.

Proptech platform Scaler has raised $10 million in new equity.

The Series A fund-raising for the platform for decarbonising real estate with machine learning, ESG data collection and reporting was led by ‘venture community’ Plural.

Founded in 2021, Scaler said it is building the software infrastructure to streamline ESG data collection and reporting in order to “transform it into insights which will drive sustainable changes”.

The firm was founded by chief executive Zlatan Menkovic (left, above), former startup founder and product lead at Uber, and chief business officer Luc van de Boom (above right), who previously work for GRESB, the global ESG benchmark for real estate and infrastructure. 

The platform provides real estate investors and asset managers with granular data and insights across all their across portfolios and Scaler’s models help clients create roadmaps and order work such as retrofitting or installing heat pumps and solar panels. 

Customers can model the impact of decisions and their overall portfolio to asset-level footprint, and generate reports for different disclosure and regulatory requirements. 

Menkovic said: “If you want to have a global impact, there are few better places to start than the real estate industry. Investors are under pressure to decarbonise their portfolios, but to do this effectively they need data, presented and analysed in a way that helps them make the best decisions, for their clients and the world. 

“This is exactly the problem we’re solving with Scaler and we’ve been blown away by the reaction and feedback from our customers.” 

Orchard Street Investment Management has bolstered its £400 million Impact Fund with the acquisition of a reversionary industrial estate in Charlton, South East London, for approximately £21 million.

This acquisition aligns with Orchard Street's commitment to sustainability and environmental impact. The fund plans to undertake comprehensive refurbishments across the fully-let 1980s estate, focusing on low embodied carbon improvements. Key initiatives include upgrading EPC ratings from B to A+, electrifying units to minimise carbon emissions, and installing solar PV panels and air source heat pumps. Additionally, EV charging capabilities will be added to support the transition to electric vehicles.

The fund is also prioritising significant biodiversity net gains and will collaborate with local institutions to launch an internship and apprenticeship program, fostering skills and training during each refurbishment phase.

Barney Rowe, portfolio manager of the Impact Fund, said "The estate won't be environmentally compliant by the end of the decade without critical decarbonisation works. We aim to leverage our asset management expertise to enhance its sustainability credentials while capturing the highly reversionary rents to generate value for our investors."

AXA IM Alts is set to start work on a City of London office tower, with ambitious biodiversity elements.

The French investment manager said its 650,000 sqft Fifty Fenchurch Street project would be “one of the lowest carbon and most biodiverse high-rise towers in the UK”. 

The building will incorporate gardens and planted terraces up to level 32 with greenery extending up to the top of the building. Landscaped gardens at ground and level 10 will be complemented by more than 40 occupier terraces that will bring more than 70 different species of plant life to the site.

AXA will target BREEAM Outstanding and net zero in operation certification for the building.

Legislation introduced this year means developers in England must create 10% biodiversity net gain in their projects.

SEGRO’s latest scheme will be carbon neutral and address both biodiversity and community engagement.

The industrial specialist has secured planning consent for the development of SEGRO Park Courier Road in Rainham, East London, with up to 310,500 sq ft of new industrial and logistics space on a 20 acre site.

SEGRO Park Courier Road will be carbon neutral, with each unit targeting an EPC A+ and BREEAM Outstanding rating overall. Sustainability features will include photovoltaic panels, LED lighting and EV charging powered by energy generated on site.

The company said it would use “sustainable methods of construction” to lower embodied carbon. Additionally, SEGRO will set aside approximately 20% of the site as safeguarded biodiverse natural habitat. 

As part of its Community Investment Plan in East London, SEGRO is working with local partners to promote social mobility, with mentoring, training and education.

Measurabl has announced a partnership with Susteco Solutions, to add its sustainability data management to Susteco’s platform.

Bosch subsidiary Susteco provides a platform for real estate owners, operators, and service providers to transparently record, structure, and process building and consumption data as well as data from third-party providers.

Users log into Susteco to see a profile for their building and access different technology platforms connected to a particular building. Meaurabl’s will become one of these platforms, providing real-time sustainability reporting, compliance, and asset optimization measures.

“This partnership reaffirms our commitment to delivering detailed and accurate data management for global real estate portfolios,” said Maureen Waters, chief growth officer of Measurabl. 

“By collaborating with Susteco, we will be able to provide organisations access to our platform, alongside other smart building data management tools.”

Pi Labs has concluded its twelfth annual growth programme for early stage start-ups, with the participating companies securing $7.5 million in funding. 

The built environment venture capital firm chose five companies from more than 1,000 applications. Seed and pre-seed capital was allocated by Pi Labs and external investors. 

This year’s start-ups include Pathways, an AI-driven sustainability platform enabling manufacturers to measure and reduce building material emissions and Kestrix, which uses drone technology and AI to pinpoint heat loss in residential buildings.

Pi Labs will support each company with mentoring the founders and introductions to business leads and co-investors. 

Faisal Butt, managing partner and founder of Pi Labs (middle row, 4th from right), said: “Our growth programme is focussed on scouting tomorrow’s technology leaders as early as possible and giving them the resources to positively transform the market at scale.”

Pi Labs has taken 56 early stage startups through the programme, with portfolio companies raising a total of $211 million.