When acquiring an asset, Cofinimmo has a significant influence which is reflected in particular in the due diligence procedures. Specifically, Cofinimmo systematically takes into account factors such as soil pollution, the presence of asbestos, the location and the risk of flooding. In the countries in which it operates and for this segment, legislation on energy performance targets is increasingly restrictive. Therefore, Cofinimmo systematically considers the energy performance and the life cycle of a building and implements a long-term strategy by examining its projects usually 30 years into the future, which is a sign of real partnership with operators.
The management of (re)development projects in healthcare real estate, the decisions and actions taken by Cofinimmo have a significant impact on the sustainability of assets. Firstly, because Cofinimmo, by developing tailor-made, innovative and comfortable buildings, endeavours to best meet the changing accommodation and care needs of vulnerable or dependent persons. Secondly, because Cofinimmo ensures the proper integration of buildings in the urban fabric, by paying specific attention to aesthetics and to the diversity of districts. Finally, because Cofinimmo favours the use of modern techniques and sustainable materials to reduce the carbon footprint of the buildings constructed.
On the other hand, Cofinimmo has moderate influence in projects developed by operators. In that case, Cofinimmo acts more as an adviser in the area of sustainable construction, seeking innovative solutions that make it possible to gradually improve the property portfolio at a pace and in line with budgets that are acceptable to operators.
Cofinimmo has relatively little influence in terms of sustainability in the day-to-day management of healthcare assets. Here, the majority of them are managed largely autonomously by operators-tenants, which decide in particular on the type of upkeep and maintenance works to be carried out. Nevertheless, Cofinimmo endeavours to include the data relating to the energy and water consumption of buildings in the energy accounting system in order to raise awareness among operators. As medical office buildings are under Cofinimmo’s operational control, it enables more in-depth consumption analysis and monitoring.
ESG in real estate of distribution network
In the acquisition phase of this segment, a long-term partnership with the tenant is essential. A distribution network consists of a large number of small-scale individual assets. Consequently, it is unnecessary during this phase to thoroughly gather the technical characteristics of the buildings. A sample of buildings is analysed and visited. Cofinimmo's influence on their sustainability is therefore rather limited in this phase.
Throughout the term of the lease, however, asset arbitrage is very important for ensuring sustainability. Cofinimmo’s influence is in this case dependent on the contractual clauses. Cofinimmo endeavours to transform empty areas into useful spaces, for example through the reconversion of open spaces into residential apartments, or by temporarily making unused floors above shops available as dwellings.
Cofinimmo also contributes to the development of certain areas and to to the revaluation of urban cohesion. Finally, it favours the use of modern techniques and sustainable materials to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings during works on the outer enveloppe of assets. In particular, an advanced policy is implemented concerning roofing insulation during watertightness works. The day-to-day management of assets, in turn, is not under the operational control of Cofinimmo.
ESG in Public-private partnerships
In the acquisition of unique assets intended for public use, a long-term partnership with the tenant is also essential. Indeed, the authorities serve as a model in the area of sustainability. They are required to include high technical standards in terms of energy performance, resulting in stringent specifications. This situation as such gives Cofinimmo little influence on the sustainability of assets during this phase.
During the design and construction of the asset, Cofinimmo’s influence depends on the contractual clauses. Consequently, Cofinimmo acts more as an adviser in the area of sustainable construction. In the context of a competitive dialogue, the group constantly seeks innovative solutions to help improve the specifications. So doing, Cofinimmo contributes to the financing of a public need.
The day-to-day management of assets is not under its operational control. However, in certain cases, Cofinimmo ensures the management of assets in accordance with a Performance Contract defined by the public authorities. The structures and procedures in place for the office segment help comply with the strict provisions and requirements of the contract.
ESG in the office real estate
In the day-to-day management of its office portfolio, Cofinimmo pursues one of its primary objectives, which is to adopt a sustainable and environmental approach. Cofinimmo's strategy in terms of sustainability was first influenced by the European and national or even regional regulatory frameworks. In a desire to anticipate, Cofinimmo went further and demonstrated its agility by integrating new requirements making it easier to adapt to these regulations.
Particularly in the case of an acquisition, Cofinimmo's influence can be decisive since it assesses the need to redevelop a project in order to keep the building up to standard in the long term. When selecting the files, it takes into account the location and above all the accessibility of the site by sustainable transport.
Cofinimmo adopts naturally a life cycle approach for the technical management of buildings. When an office building reaches the end of its life, the construction is recycled. In the central locations of Brussels, where there is a strong demand for office spaces, the building is thoroughly renovated. For the more decentralised locations, a study is made on the possible reconversion of the building. In this way, Cofinimmo strives to meet as best as possible the evolving needs of office users in terms of flexibility, mobility and diversity of living spaces at work.
Furthermore, Cofinimmo pays specific attention to transforming the urban landscape in a responsible manner by focusing on aesthetics and the diversity of districts. Cofinimmo also favours the use of modern techniques and sustainable materials to reduce the carbon footprint of the buildings developed, while also endeavouring to reuse waste from project sites.
The day-to-day management of office buildings is also a real source of leverage in the sustainability strategy. Property management has been an in-house activity since 1999, and its influence is significant. Making tenants aware of their energy consumption and the signature of agreements with green energy suppliers aim at reducing the carbon footprint of buildings. Energy data management software processes the consumption figures (water, gas, electricity and waste) for all the shared spaces of offices under operational control, as well as the private consumption voluntarily provided by the different tenants. Using this tool helps identify possible sources of savings and measure the impact of the investments made. Through the installation of meters than can be read remotely, the whole portfolio of offices under operational control is connected to the energy accounting software in real time.