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Dutch giant PGGM in ‘big data’ plan to map its global real estate portfolio for sustainability

Investor in innovative tie with data analytics start-up GeoPhy

Dutch pension investment giant PGGM has teamed up with a ‘big data’ start-up to map its global real estate portfolios on sustainability and CO2 footprint.

The €186.6bn Zeist-based outfit has joined forces with data analytics platform GeoPhy to become what it says is the first investor in the world to map the CO2 footprint of its entire real estate portfolio – right down to individual buildings.

PGGM manages an estimated total of €20bn in real estate for Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn, Bedrijfstakpensioenfonds Schilders and Stichting Pensioenfonds Huisartsen (SPH).

The collaboration also enables PGGM to compare the CO2 footprint of its real estate portfolio against local real estate markets.

Netherlands-based GeoPhy can compare individual buildings, meaning PGGM can quickly increase sustainability for its current investments as well as add new, sustainable real estate to its portfolio in a “more targeted manner”. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.GeoPhy was founded last year by former ARUP Sustainability Consultant Teun van den Dries (CEO) and developer Sander Mulders (Chief Technology Officer). Huib Vaessen, former senior portfolio manager for listed real estate at Kempen Capital Management, is Chief Product Officer.

Hans Op ’t Veld, head of Listed Real Estate at PGGM, said the development was “an important new step”. Last year, PGGM doubled the private and listed real estate in the highest sustainability category, according to the GRESB (The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark).

Sustainalytics, the ESG house in which PGGM is part owner, recently identified 11 ESG issues as potential sources of material concern for real estate investors. Of these, it judged Energy Use and GHG Emissions, Product Sustainability and Business Ethics to have the most significant business implications, particularly from a client demand and regulatory risk perspective. The findings come in a sector report called ‘Two steps forward, one step back’.