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Impact developer Socius has appointed Katrina Lamberton as senior project manager.

Lamberton joins the British firm from Australian developer Lendlease, where she worked for more than 20 years. She worked on projects including the 60-acre transport hub at Euston, a 5 million sq ft office development at the International Quarter East London and a 50-acre mixed-use development scheme at Silvertown Quays, London. 

At Socius she will join the project team responsible for Botanic Place (below), a £500 million “sustainable and intelligent” development in Cambridge. It will use 70% less energy than a typical office building and will be powered using renewable energy sources. 

Barry Jessup, managing director at Socius, said: “Katrina’s expertise in planning and delivering large complex schemes will be hugely valuable as we bring forward the plans for Botanic Place, which will set a new benchmark for sustainable workspace in Cambridge.”

The Urban Land Institute and LaSalle Investment Management have launched a new framework to help the real estate industry act on climate risk assessment and disclosure.

The joint report Physical Climate Risks and Underwriting Practices in Assets and Portfolios, is the second in a series by ULI and LaSalle. Building on the first report, which outlined how to source and interpret reliable climate risk data, the second provides a market overview, adaptable framework, and recommendations based on emerging best practices for incorporating physical climate risk in the underwriting process.

“Physical climate risk data collection and disclosure is the first step the real estate industry can take to further invest in and build resilient infrastructure,” said Lindsay Brugger, head of urban resilience at ULI. “Data drives action, and doing nothing incurs deeper costs — from higher insurance premiums to asset repair or replacement.” 

“This report helps provide guidance that investment managers can follow to factor the climate risk data they have available to them and improve outcomes at the asset and portfolio level,” said Julie Manning, global head of climate and carbon at LaSalle. 

The framework is broken down into three steps for decision making based on individual asset risks, local market risks, and ongoing risk mitigation efforts:

Orchard Street Investment Management has appointed Kathryn Barber as head of responsibility and ESG. 

She joins the London-based investment manager from UK real estate investment trust GPE, where she was sustainability lead, portfolio and social impact. Previous roles include stints at UK real estate firms Hammerson and Intu Properties.

At Orchard Street, she will be support delivery of “measurable social and environmental impact” in its impact fund “as well as continuing to integrate and manage ESG across existing client portfolios.” Barber replaces Lora Brill, who has left Orchard Street but will continue to provide ESG consulting services.

Barney Rowe, partner at Orchard Street and portfolio manager for the impact fund, said: “Kathryn’s entire career has been focused on driving the ESG agenda forward within the UK real estate industry, and her wealth of experience will be important to the growth of our impact fund and the acceleration of our broader sustainability strategy.”

The International Well Building Institute (IWBI) has joined forces with The Instant Group to improve health and wellbeing practices in co-working and flexible workspaces. 

Joint efforts between the healthy buildings certification body and flexible workspace marketplace will target opportunities to advance innovative solutions for healthy coworking and flexible workspaces.

A growing body of research shows health interventions help support workplace satisfaction, comfort and productivity, while also helping attract and retain talent. In addition, a number of studies have demonstrated the business case for healthy buildings, which can attract higher rents and longer lease terms.

“We are excited to be joining forces with The Instant Group,” said Rachel Hodgdon, president and CEO of IWBI.  “As more and more organizations embrace the outsized role workspaces have on health, this presents a tremendous opportunity to elevate the wellbeing of the thousands of people who use these flexible spaces every day.”

“Companies which optimise their spaces for health and wellbeing are transforming their workforce into an even greater asset and developing happier, more productive employees,” said Sam Pickering, executive director, sustainability at Instant. 

“This collaboration is a logical follow-up to our sustainability index, which launched in 2023 to ensure quality data on building performance and helping operators and occupiers track and report on their performance.”

Urban Land Institute (ULI) Europe has launched a second edition of its PropTech Innovation Challenge (PIC), looking for entries which meet the challenge of substantially reducing carbon emissions. 

Last year’s competition was the first and saw the overall prize go to EFFIC, a Spanish specialist in residential refurbishments which improve energy efficiency. There were also regional winners from France, Germany, Nordics, Iberia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

This year’s challenge is focused specifically on the reduction of Scope 3 emissions for managers and investors. Solutions must reflect a genuine shift away from business-as-usual practices and be tangible and scalable in a regional context.

Innovations must tackle at least one of the use cases proposed by the ULI community, which currently include retrofitting at scale, operational circularity, gamification to strengthen stakeholder collaboration, ESG platforms integration, and sustainable materials.

Lisette van Doorn, CEO of ULI Europe said: “We believe the PIC is an important initiative to build stronger connections between traditional real estate and proptech and encourage more industry wide innovation.”

More detail on the competition can be found here.

The emergence of environmentally conscious tenants prioritising the decarbonisation of their portfolios will change the real estate landscape in Asia, a new report claims.

A report from JLL, Asia’s decade of action: accelerating the transition to sustainable workplaces, predicts that the demands of corporate occupiers, each seeking to meet challenging net zero targets, will shape real estate strategies in the region. 

The report argues that a number of factors will shift demand for real estate. It says:

The full report is available here.

Aviva Investors has made three new appointments to the responsible investment team within its real assets unit.

The most senior hire is Phillipa Grant, (pictured above) who joins as director of sustainable investments. She joins from global advisory business AESG, where she was partner and global director of sustainability. 

A chartered engineer, Grant will be responsible for providing advice to support strategy development and investment decisions across Aviva Investors’ real assets sustainable fund range, alongside delivery and reporting within portfolios.

The team also welcomes Elizabeth Ortiz, who joins from KPMG as an associate working across private market classes, and Jeremy Ho, who will be responsible for delivering sustainability research and due diligence for Aviva Investors’ private lending business.

All three report too Edward Dixon, head of responsible investment, real assets, who said: “We are really pleased to extend the responsible investment capabilities of our Real Assets function through the appointment of Phillipa, Elizabeth and Jeremy. 

“Our recent Real Assets Study showed that 57% of institutional investors have a commitment to reaching net zero, so it is vitally important we have the resources and expertise to guide our clients and show how real assets allocations can align portfolios with those objectives.”

Aviva Investors has created a new long term assets fund (LTAF) investing in sustainable real assets.

The UK investment manager converted the Climate Transition Real Assets Fund (CTRAF), which makes direct investments in real estate, infrastructure and nature based solutions which can accelerate, and benefit from, the transition to a low-carbon economy, to the LTAF regime.

LTAFs are a new form of UK open-ended fund designed to align investor interests with the holding of long-term, illiquid assets.

CTRAF was launched in 2021 with £425 million ($544 million) of equity and up to £1 billion ($1.28 billion) spending power. It is targeting an 8% annual return.

Daniel McHugh, chief investment officer at Aviva Investors, said: “As one of the UK’s largest investors in real estate and infrastructure, we remain committed to our belief that sustainability can drive long-term performance for real assets portfolios. 

“Our research shows investors are looking for access to investments that deliver long-term performance whilst being aligned with net zero commitments. By converting our Climate Transition Fund to an LTAF structure, we believe we have a product that is market-leading in both those areas, providing opportunities to invest in exciting growth sectors which support the UK economy and its transition towards net zero, whilst maximising the investment outcomes of people saving for retirement.”

CapitaLand Investment (CLI) has issued its inaugural sustainability-linked panda bond, raising RMB1 billion ($140 million).

 This is the first sustainability-linked panda bond (a RMB-denominated bond launched by a non-Chinese issuer) from a Singaporean company.  The AAA-rated bond has a three-year tenor and a fixed coupon rate of 3.5% per annum.

CLI said the new bond “has enabled the company to access lower-cost RMB capital and further expand its domestic funding channels and investor base, in line with its China-for-China strategy”.  The panda bond is being issued as part of its RMB2 billion Debt Issuance Programme and net proceeds will be used to refinance existing borrowings. 

The sustainability-linked panda bond is tied to CLI’s target of lowering its energy consumption intensity by at least 6% at its properties in China.  The reduction in energy consumption intensity will contribute to CLI’s efforts in meeting the targets set out in its 2030 Sustainability Master Plan, which include achieving Net Zero carbon emissions for scope 1 and scope 2 by 2050 and reducing scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 46% by 2030.

Mr Puah Tze Shyang, CEO of CLI (China), said: “This issuance enables CLI to diversify our capital sources and increase our financial flexibility.  The panda bond also integrates our financing efforts with CLI’s sustainability performance, demonstrating our focus on responsible growth.  This latest initiative to tap the sizeable domestic capital market in China helps mitigate foreign exchange fluctuations and is part of our ongoing prudent capital management.”

GRESB has launched a new suite of tools for managers and investors.

The new REAL Solutions product suite will provide actionable insights into the sustainability, resilience and efficiency of assets, the real assets ESG benchmarking firm said.

Roxana Isaiu, Chief Product Officer at GRESB said: “REAL Solutions marks a significant milestone for GRESB. It was developed in response to the evolving needs of institutional investors and managers seeking deeper insights into the sustainability of individual assets. This represents a decade-long commitment to understanding, measuring and benchmarking the real-world performance of investor-owned assets worldwide.”

The new suite of solutions is powered by GRESB’s annual real estate assessment, which measures factors such strategy, leadership, policies and processes, risk management, performance at the asset and portfolio level, and development factors, including its efforts to address ESG issues during design, construction, and renovation.

The first solution in the new suite, to be released in April, is REAL Benchmarks, an interactive dashboard for real estate fund managers, which allows them to analyse the contribution of individual assets to portfolio performance, including insights into energy use and emissions. 

The solution will enable users to compare asset performance against asset-specific GRESB benchmarks and against industry pathways, and to identify portfolio laggards. User will also be able to visualize energy and GHG performance and to filter portfolios by location, property type, and year.

The next product to be launched will be REAL Statistics, a global dataset covering energy and greenhouse gas intensity values and trends for financial institutions. When launched, REAL Statistics will provide asset-level data points organised into 11,000 combinations of property type, electricity grid, location and climate zones.