22 September 2021

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The Bouwinvest team came home from the IPE Real Assets conference in Copenhagen with the publication’s first-ever Sustainability Award. Bouwinvest also won IPE’s silver award for its Netherlands investment strategy.

Mark Siezen, Chief Client Officer at Bouwinvest, said: “Investing in the social and environmental impact of our real estate portfolio is not only a matter of taking responsibility - we see it as a pre-condition for generating stable long-term income for our clients. Indeed, it is a major priority for us to ensure our investments contribute to sustainable, liveable and inclusive metropolitan areas. This way we create social value while enhancing pension benefits. We are pleased to see our focus on both societal and financial returns -  or real value for life – rewarded with these two industry recognitions and are particularly proud of being the first company ever to receive the IPE Sustainability Award.”

In the submissions for both awards, we stressed that we aim to be a responsible investor by investing in sustainable real estate and enhancing value for all stakeholders including investors, tenants, the environment and society in general. We focus mainly on risk-adjusted core investments - high-quality, flexible buildings in strong demand in locations. Here we can deliver secure, low-risk stable returns through an active asset management programme. Negative environmental impact is reduced by investing in well-insulated buildings fitted with smart heating, cooling and lighting systems, and powered by sustainable energy sources.

In 2020, 81% of invested capital qualified as above-average sustainable (GRESB 4 or 5 stars), above the targeted 80%, and both Bouwinvest’s Dutch Office and Hotel Funds were named GRESB Global Sector Leaders.

Bouwinvest’s sustainable strategy goes beyond achieving a near-energy neutral portfolio - we also focus on social issues such as affordable housing and assisted living and in our home market, The Netherlands we are committed to ensuring 60% of all residential acquisitions are in the mid-range rental sector where the shortage is acute. Engagement with tenants is a top priority, illustrated by our efforts to agree rental deferrals with both residential and commercial tenants adversely affected by the pandemic.

We are also working on climate adaptation. Roof gardens, such as those at some of the Dutch assets, store water and moderate temperatures while offering a pleasant place to spend time.

In our home market, we have built up one of the largest portfolios of affordable and sustainable rental housing in the country and we are extending this strategy to the international investments. In the past 18 months, we have formed partnerships with local developers and investors in the Nordics, Belgium and Paris among others, targeting affordable rental housing for middle-income families, students and young professionals.