APG to require new asset managers to sign up to new GRESB sustainable infrastructure framework

Dutch giant puts its weight behind new initiative

Dutch pension asset management giant APG says it will require new managers to complete the new GRESB sustainable infrastructure questionnaire.

GRESB Infrastructure was launched this week, modelled on the now six-year-old Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, which now has input from over 700 investors worldwide, covering some 61,000 assets.

And, speaking at the new initiative’s launch at an event hosted by Aviva Investors in London on September 7, APG’s real estate/infrastructure head said signing up would be a requirement going forward.

Patrick Kanters, Managing Director, Global Real Estate and Infrastructure at APG Asset Management, said it was not about ‘excluding’ managers but rather seeking continuous improvement from them. Speaking of the initiative more broadly, Kanters, who sits on the GRESB board, said: “I believe this will improve our industry and benefit our society.”

Some at the event reckoned GRESB Infrastructure could complement or even eventually replace the existing Equator Principles, which govern banks’ project financing activities, as banks withdraw from the area and insitutional investors step in. The European Union has a bold plan to lever more than €300bn for infrastructure, and investors will be part of this.

Alison Schneider, Senior Manager, Responsible Investment at Canada’s Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo), one of GRESB Infrastructure’s founding members, summed it up. She said: “I can’t tell you how happy we are to be kicking this thing off. Come join us.”It comes as a range of leading institutional investors formed the Global Infrastructure Investor Association (GIIA) earlier this year. The inaugural chairman is Matthew Farnum-Schneider, Managing Director, Group Chief Executive Office at Prudential plc.

He will be supported by Henk Huizing, Investment Director at PGGM and Andrew Claerhout, Head of Infrastructure at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, as the regional Deputy Chairmen for Europe and North America respectively.

GIIA represents 25 of investors with more than €200bn in infrastructure assets.

GIAA members (selected):

Allianz Capital Partners
APG Asset Management
Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec
CPP Investment Board
Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management
Global Infrastructure Partners
Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners
IFC Asset Management
Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Estates
Morgan Stanley Infrastructure
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan