ABN AMRO will soon be the first bank in the world to start using data on property fund sustainability as part of its real estate financing process. The bank has teamed up with the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), which provides a consistent sustainability standard implemented throughout the world. Until now, environmental, social and governance (ESG) data have mainly been used by pension funds and other institutional real estate investors.
Besides using GRESB data on real estate investors’ sustainability profiles, ABN AMRO and GRESB see other opportunities for collaboration. Earlier this year, GRESB launched a new sustainability assessment and benchmark for real estate lenders, called GRESB Debt, which will be open to companies, banks and mortgage funds. ABN AMRO also anticipates joining the GRESB Debt benchmark next year with a view to assessing itself against other major commercial banks.
Rutger Schuur, Head of Real Estate & Public Sector Clients at ABN AMRO, says, “The sustainability profile of commercial real estate players and properties is becoming increasingly important for banks given the growing number of building regulations, tenants’ expectations in this area and the risks posed by climate change. Our collaboration with GRESB allows ABN AMRO to further integrate sustainability into its real estate financing process, a move closely aligned with the bank’s aim to play an active role in making the real estate sector more sustainable.”
Green property bond
ABN AMRO issued a green property bond in June. The returns it generates have been used to finance or refinance energy-efficient homes, sustainable commercial real estate and solar panels for existing homes. ABN AMRO will also be taking part in GRESB’s Green Bond Working Group, which aims to bring together institutional investors, property funds and banks to share information and strengthen the market for green real estate and infrastructure bonds.