14 April 2023

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The new Mapping ESG report offers guidance on how to navigate and use existing regulations, standards and certifications in the field of ESG. The report is the first of its kind and was initiated by ULI, INREV and PRI together with the project steering committee, and was supported by PwC. Bouwinvest was a fully committed sponsor of the project. We are keen to encourage standardisation in the current ESG reporting landscape, so policies are more accountable, but also more comparable, both nationally and internationally. 

The report identified and analysed 14 different guidelines and standards and broke them down into five types: core corporate standards; thematic reporting standards; sustainability regulation-related requirements; industry-specific reporting and principle-based commitments. It also looks at how these standards relate to the complete range of ESG factors, ranging from low emissions to acoustics, health and safety and social responsibility. 

This alone illustrates the complexity of the current situation. As the report states: ‘there is no one size-fits-all reporting standard, either from a thematic perspective, or from a purpose perspective’. In addition, the report suggests, this will not change in the short to medium term, because the field of ESG is so broad and complex that it will continue to evolve as scientific knowledge grows and social norms become more widely accepted.  

Nevertheless, it has become increasingly difficult to navigate the various mandatory rules and voluntary standards that have sprung up in the absence of uniform definitions and regulations. And for real estate capital markets to operate effectively and to manage climate-related and other ESG risks, we need information that is clear, reliable and comparable across markets.  

At Bouwinvest, therefore, we see this report as a first step towards providing that clarity and towards harmonisation and standardisation in the ESG landscape. The report and related activities will also help us to optimise our own policy, both now and in the future. For example, we have further integrated ESG into decision-making throughout the organisation and have adopted a new Responsible Investment & Corporate Responsibility Policy, which sets out how Bouwinvest applies corporate responsibility across its organisational activities and how we invest responsibly in our funds and mandates. This new policy will ensure Bouwinvest operates responsibly and sustainably towards and with its stakeholders, both within its own organisation and via its funds and mandates. 

The Mapping ESG report is available on ULI’s Knowledge Finder platform and on the INREV website at https://www.inrev.org/standards/ESG. Or you can download the full report here.