UN: property must cut its carbon emissions

A new report by the United Nations says investors should pressure property fund managers to invest in sustainable property, or risk seeing their returns slide sharply.

A report issued to a United Nations conference on the environment has concluded that the global property industry is moving too slowly to reduce its carbon footprint, and urged property investors to comply with UN recommendations for ecologically-friendly buildings.

The report, entitled “Building Responsible Property Portfolios,” said that investors in global property risked seeing their returns diminish if they didn’t address inefficiencies in their construction and building practices that worsen the problem of global warming. It urged those investors to comply with the UN-backed principles, a series of recommendations for property builders.

According to the UN, buildings are responsible for around half of global carbon dioxide emissions. That percentage is so high because buildings consume a large amount of energy, and it takes energy to get people to and from them.

The report concluded that it was up to investors to use their influence over property fund managers, pressuring them to invest in sustainable property. The reward, the report argued, would be increased returns as a result of the savings on lower operating costs, as well as higher rents from green tenants.

The report’s production was supervised by the Property Working Group of the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative, which counts as members AXA Investment Managers, Morley Fund Management, Hermes Real Estate and PRUPIM.