Monitoring environmental performance data (energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste) is an important part of managing sustainability issues. The Fund tracks and aims to improve the environmental performance of its managed real estate assets; those properties where the Fund is responsible for purchasing and managing consumption. The Fund reports on energy consumption (electricity, heating and gas: the energy components) for shopping centres which translates to greenhouse gas emissions and reflects 41% of the portfolio.
In 2014, the Fund focused on continued improvements to energy efficiency. Following technical improvements and joint initiatives with tenants, the average Energy Index improved to 1.03 in 2014 (2013: 1.14). The majority of the portfolio’s properties have now been awarded an energy label A, B or C (79.1%), indicating a good overall level of energy efficiency for the portfolio.
Clear targets, practical measures
In 2012, the Fund set a target to reduce energy consumption by at least 10% in 2015 for those assets over which it has ‘operational control’, mostly shopping centres. The Fund is on track to meet this target. It managed to cut energy consumption on a like-for-like basis by 13.8% in the period 2012-2014. The Fund’s first charging station for electric vehicles was installed at the Maasplaza shopping centre in Dordrecht last year.
To gain a better understanding of the environmental impact of our portfolio, we have also started a pilot project to collect data on water use and waste treatment in our portfolio. However, as waste is the responsibility of the tenant, we cannot influence the waste they generate. Our focus is on increasing recycling percentages in those shopping centres where we are in charge of waste disposal, minimising transport (using trash compressors) and recording the quantities per tenant by means of a pass system.
The Fund’s ambition to increase the coverage and therefore the transparency of its environmental impact according to INREV sustainability guidelines is reflected in the summary of key CSR data. For more detailed information see Bouwinvest's key performance indicators in the annual report of the management company.
In 2014, the Retail Fund conducted its first BREEAM self-assessments at its Goverwelle shopping centre in Gouda and the Makado centre in Purmerend. The aim of this was to ascertain the current sustainability of the properties themselves, and how sustainability is being managed. This helps to identify the potential improvements, both quick wins and measures for long-term improvements. This is a remarkably useful tool, as it helps you to make targeted investments in an asset.
Last year saw the roll-out of the first Green Leases in the Retail Fund. These lease agreements incorporate sustainability clauses, with the aim of increasing and enhancing the information exchange between the Retail Fund and its tenants. This in turn creates opportunities to improve environmental performance. One of the first green leases we signed were with the tenants at our Molenhoekpassage shopping centre in Rosmalen, which we are currently redeveloping. This was the first use of the new standard green lease, devised specifically for the Fund, which will make green leases a much more simple process in the future. This model lease lays down clear parameters for the exchange of data between Bouwinvest and its tenants, and what each party can expect from the other. Bouwinvest sees this as the first step towards more far-reaching green leases in the future.