SRI label attracts more and more funds

15:40, June 18, 2022

Real estate accounts for a quarter of France’s CO2 emissions and 44% of energy consumption. This shows the challenge of improving practices in this sector in order to achieve the country’s decarbonization goals. To contribute to this, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, among other things, decided to funnel French savings into funds using the SRI real estate label, launched in October 2020, just over four and a half years later. financial investments. “The creation of the SRI mark demonstrates a real awareness on the part of governments and fund managers of the contribution of real estate to greenhouse gas emissions, to asset creation, and also during their use.”applauds Jonathan Deaver, founder of MeilleurSCPI. However, some pioneering asset managers have far exceeded regulatory requirements, such as Perial Asset Management, which has been marketing real estate investment company (SCPI) PFO2 since 2009, following the logic of reducing water and energy consumption. “The profession was able to meet the demand of civil society long before regulators took the lead”, says Robin Gaudet, SRI manager at Norma Capital. Supply and demand match, and at the end of 2021, 54 real estate funds were SRI-labeled, up from 12 a year earlier, with total assets estimated at 45 billion euros. While these amounts mostly come from funds established before 2020 and subsequently labeled, a significant proportion of newly created funds are labeled initially, in particular those specifically created to be placed in life insurance contracts in the form of non-trading companies. SCPI did not stand aside: 20 of them received sesame at the end of 2021, and today their number has increased to 27.

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The growth of SRI Real Estate Funds is also a response to the need for management companies to consolidate their teams within the company. “It’s a way to retain employees by stimulating their motivation by appealing to their search for meaning.”, emphasizes Robin Godet. The interest is also financial for the unit holders. If the performance difference between marked funds and others is not immediately noticeable, savers should find their account in order. “At the moment, SRI represents a cost to management companies, but in the long term, value creation will certainly be greater”says Jonathan Diver. “We are working to ensure that the assets held in our funds are more efficient, more liquid, more valuable over time, helping to keep tenants in place.confirms Robin Godet. Through the label, we implement a process of continuous improvement. »

Best of existing approaches

In fact, as with Norma Capital’s SCPIs, 98% of labeled real estate funds are covered by the “best in development” approach, which consists of assigning a rating to each asset and striving to improve it. a best-in-class approach based on maintaining the performance of assets over time that are already rated above the average for the fund. To avoid greenwashing, the label’s reference system requires the development of a grid of ESG (environmental, social, good governance) criteria, as well as the publication of eight mandatory impact indicators, four of which are mandatory, as well as one of the five highest and lowest rated assets. However, SRI real estate labeling can still be improved. Some management companies complain about the lack of comparability of reporting indicators specific to each player. “As part of the upcoming labeling reform, we proposed to standardize the rules for calculating carbon and energy indicators,” says Robin Gaudet. Some management companies take into account common areas or free space, others do not. » Another area that needs improvement is communication with the general public. “Managers must play an educational rolesays Jonathan Diver. When a manager implements late mowing of green spaces to conserve biodiversity and promote microclimate, this best practice should be brought to the attention of as many people as possible. »