Image copyright Reuters Image caption Livia Leinhardt of Rainforest Investment Advisors believes that the consumption of goods is unsustainable and that companies need to change
The owners of the London Stock Exchange and a finance house have become the latest UK investors to pledge to cut the greenhouse gases they and their companies emit.
BSE and Investec Wealth & Investment have joined the group Global Investors for Sustainable Real Estate.
Under the vows, they say they will be driven to boost the standards of environmentally friendly buildings they own or manage.
The investment giant will also make a direct investment into sustainable projects.
The news came a week after the Co-op Bank – criticised for choosing high-carbon projects for branch refurbishments – revealed it had joined the group.
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Co-op Bank’s financial success lies partly in its growth from business loans
Embracing sustainable real estate is not new
‘I don’t know if it’s a step in the right direction’
Share your thoughts
If you’re a sustainable investor it’s worth investing your time to learn more about sustainable investing, it makes sense to invest in clean, healthy, sustainable assets to support and create thriving economies. – Andrew Evans, Protore
Global Investors’ pledge to cut the greenhouse gases it and its companies emit is one of the most significant commitments from a UK investor yet.
Before the pledge, investors that had joined were focused on renewable energy.
“The shift in focus from investing in renewable energy to sustainable real estate is an important step, because demand for investments in sustainable real estate is accelerating fast,” said Robert McNeill, chief executive of Investec Wealth & Investment.
Nick Caley of BSE said: “High performance standards across all our portfolios is an essential part of BSE’s investment approach.
“Investors can benefit from locating their investments in buildings and investments where the sustainability benefits and long-term impact are demonstrated.”
But Richard Perry of Investec said the climate challenge was more than good business.
“Investors will need to act now to take advantage of economies of scale and the cost-effectiveness of these businesses, but managing a degree of ambition will be more difficult than it might seem initially,” he said.
Commercial properties account for a big chunk of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.
BSE and Investec say it is the broadest range of investors so far.
They plan to act quickly to curb emissions in buildings they own or manage.
Several have come under fire recently – by the Guardian, for example – for investing in refurbished offices using high-carbon technologies.
Disclosure rules will also be brought in and talks with building owners and developers to improve the delivery of sustainable buildings will start in 2019.
Investors will also benefit from environmental benefits from their homes, such as more efficient heating and water systems.