27 February 2023
Anna Ruddiman, Senior Sustainability and Energy Analyst, Longevity Partners
With global temperatures on trajectory to increase more than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, we are at a critical point in climate change mitigation1. Representing nearly 40% of global energy-related emissions and 50% of extracted materials, it is no secret that the built environment is a major contributor to our current climate crisis. With global building stock projected to double, and 70% of the world’s population expected to live in urban areas by 20602, system-wide transformation is an urgent requirement to alter the course of current climate projections.
Currently accounting for 38% of global carbon emissions3, the real estate sector is positioned to make a tangible difference to climate action if net-zero promises are delivered and fundamental systemic and behavioural transformation is achieved.
BREEAM In-Use v6 Case Study: CBRE IM Europa Shopping Centre
As a leading global real assets investment management firm, CBRE Investment Management (CBRE IM) is committed to the transition of a sustainable, net-zero carbon and resilient society. With a focus on Climate, People, and Influence, CBRE IM’s ‘Sustainability Vision’4 demonstrates a comprehensive ESG Strategy, which is reflected in action being driven on the ground through asset management and the widespread roll-out of the BREEAM In-Use (BIU) building certifications. As the world’s most widely adopted Green Building Certification, BREEAM In-Use provides a rigorous framework for appraising ESG performance and offers high-impact returns that strive to meet the impetus for climate action.
As a global leader in ESG advisory and the world’s largest BREEAM assessor, having certified over 215 billion USD in assets to-date, Longevity Partners recently worked closely with CBRE IM to deliver on such action, with the optimisation and v6 BIU certification of a key retail asset in Slovakia; the Europa Shopping Centre. An asset offering a broad range of services, food outlets, and entertainment opportunities, and is a major retail and leisure centre for the central Slovakian region.
Following a rigorous evidence collection process and bespoke building optimisation this asset achieved an Excellent certification for both BIU Part 1: Asset Performance, and BIU Part 2: Asset Management. With the average BIU certification in a single part being Good (3-stars), achieving Excellent (5-stars) for both Asset Performance and Management Performance is a rare outcome, particularly for a retail asset, and exemplifies the positive results that can come from firm and asset-level commitments to ESG Policy.
The BREEAM In-Use Excellent certification achieved demonstrates exemplary environmental, social, and economic measures in place across the asset. As a rigorous science-based standard, the excellent certification rating indicates best practice in terms of employee health and well-being, the promotion of sustainable transport, reduced energy, water and waste consumption, resilient strategy, enhanced land use and ecological systems, and reduced pollution. At both the local level of Europa and its direct management, and at the wider CBRE IM corporate sphere, this result highlights that progress is being made towards environmental objectives.
At Longevity, we are experienced in delivering BIU assessments and supporting clients, such as CBRE IM, in optimising their assets to reduce sustainability risks. Having a full ESG service offering, Longevity Partners is uniquely placed to unlock sustainable value for assets from assessment to optimisation.
Beyond the direct intrinsic benefits to the asset, BREEAM In-Use certifications facilitate a range of further opportunities. A strong ESG performance is associated with reduced default risk, and with the threshold for unlocking sustainable finance options being a BIU rating of ‘Very Good’, high-performing assets such as Europa are Green Bond and Green Loan compliant. With sustainable finance and understanding climate risk attached to investments increasingly at the forefront of due diligence and risk management, Longevity Partners support clients in assessing climate risks, and developing Green Finance Frameworks.
Additionally, BIU certifications are a valuable component within GRESB (the Global Real Estate Benchmark), with operational building certifications accounting for a significant proportion of scoring. As the leading ESG real estate benchmark, GRESB scoring provides a third-party performance benchmark that informs participants and investors and indicates the sustainability of a company’s internal management and corporate structure.
Assessing buildings beyond technical environmental measures, BIU certifications also encourage best practice in terms of social impact of the asset and wider built environment. Certification of BIU Part 2: Management Component in particular, recognises engagement with local communities and building occupants to create long-term social value.
To hear more about how Sustainable Finance, GRESB, Social Value, and our full-Service offering can support you to achieve best environmental practice, and for further information regarding the economic, environmental, and social opportunities of BREEAM In Use, please reach out Longevity Partners.
1 United Nations Environmental Programme (2022) The Closing Window: Climate Crisis Calls for rapid transformation of societies. United Nations Environment Programme. [Available at: Emissions Gap Report 2022 (unep.org)]
2 Petersen, M., Porter, B., De Marco, V., Op de Beeck, P., Burrows, V., Pirinen, J., and Baker-Brown, D. (2022) . COP27 Buildings Pavilion – Mobilising Ambition Loops to Decarbonise the Built Environment. COP27, 16/11/2022, Sharm-El-Sheikh [Available at: COP27 #BuildingsPavilion – Mobilising Ambition Loops to Decarbonise the Built Environment | Globalabc]
3United Nations (2021) Construction: The Built Environment. United Nations Climate Change Conference UK 2021. [Available at: Construction: The Built Environment – UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC – Glasgow 2021 (ukcop26.org)]
4CBRE IM (2022) Sustainability Vision. Pathway to 2040: Our Vision for a Sustainable Future. CBRE Inc. [Available at: cbreim-sustainability-vision.pdf]
IPCC (2022) Climate Change 2022, Mitigation of Climate Change. Working Group II Contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC. [Available at: IPCC_AR6_WGIII_FullReport.pdf]