Cass Centre for Real Estate Research part of successful bid for Investment Property Forum Research Programme

Research consortium will examine existing environmental, social and corporate governance real estate benchmarks

The increased role that environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors play in influencing investment decisions presents key challenges to the real estate industry, particularly within the context of increased internationalisation of real estate investment funds. This is an area that has seen rapid development in recent years and, consequently, the availability and consistency of market-based benchmarks vary across countries. This could affect the approach of international investors to benchmarking and lead to different measures being adopted for different markets.

The Investment Property Forum (IPF) Research Programme has commissioned a consortium, led by Professor Graeme Newell of Western Sydney University, to provide a comprehensive and critical analysis of existing ESG benchmarks and to consider their potential evolution, in terms of future use and application. In identifying measures currently in use, the policies and practices of a  wide range of European and global real estate investors will be assessed, as well as real estate companies/REITs and fund managers. Other members of the research team comprise Alex Moss, Director, Real Estate Research Centre, Cass Business School and Anupam Nanda, Professor of Urban Economics and Real Estate, Henley Business School, University of Reading.

Alex Moss, Director of the Real Estate Research Centre at Cass Business School said:

"This is the second research commission we have won since the Centre was launched in 2018. The first was on the Size and Structure of the UK Property Market, where a 2017 report has already been published, and the 2018 report will be published in the second quarter of 2019.  In addition, we have hosted our first two sold-out events on Funds with AREF (Association of Real Estate Funds), and have two more Funds events to follow in the summer.

“This month we are hosting a joint event on the emerging Build to Rent sector in the UK on Tuesday 26th March. The Centre is therefore delivering completely on its aim to provide a dynamic link between the academic community and practitioners involved in real estate, and build on the foundations of existing rigorous academic research.”

Miles Keeping, Director, Hillbreak, and chair of the IPF’s Sustainability Special Interest Group who is chairing the Project Steering Group (PSG) overseeing the research, said:

“Whilst the real estate investment industry has adopted numerous visible and proactive strategies to address environmental issues and improve the energy efficiency of buildings, the “S” and “G” factors of ESG are perhaps not so prominent in people’s minds. Recognising their increasing importance, many organisations have established social and governance investment policies and this study will shed light on the range and calibre of different approaches and what may be required to ensure consistency of standards.”

Professor Graeme Newell said:

“The project team will examine ESG benchmarking for real estate investment. Key measures and opportunities will be identified, using stakeholder interviews with European and global real estate investors. Exemplars in the ESG space for real estate investment will be identified in this important project for the real estate industry going forward.”

Other members of the group comprise Abigail Dean (Nuveen Real Estate), Louise Ellison (Hammerson PLC), Richard Gwilliam (M&G Real Estate) and Sophie Carruth (LaSalle Investment Management).

Find out more

Research findings are due to be published in mid-2019.

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