CBRE Global Investors has been committed to responsible investment for over a decade, having joined the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and piloted a new framework for the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) in 2009. The Firm’s ambitions, commitment, and practices have continued to grow and evolve along with the environmental, social and governance (ESG) field. The Firm has led the industry in the past by participating in the founding of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) as an example. In 2017, CBRE Global Investors adopted a broader Responsible Investment Management Policy and established a more structured approach to ESG governance through Responsible Investment Management Committees (RIMCos) on a global, business line and regional scale. In 2018, portfolio-level ESG strategies for the active pooled funds were developed.
In 2019, with the help of sustainability advisor, WSP, CBRE Global Investors took stock of the progress made over the past ten years, benchmarked peer performance and market developments and undertook a thorough stakeholder engagement process with employees and clients among others. The Firm identified both an opportunity and responsibility to positively impact the approximately 20 million people interacting in various ways with the assets we manage and a need to maintain and enhance our leadership position in ESG. To address both issues, CBRE Global Investors developed a comprehensive vision to guide the Firm for the next twenty years. The broad variety of asset types, regions investment programs, profiles, and modes of implementation across the global platform presented a challenge for the formulation of a cohesive framework, which at the same time allows for a fine calibration for specific products and regions.
The CBRE Global Investors ESG Vision is based on the fundamental belief that sustainable investment is a critical driver for superior investment performance. CBRE Global Investors commits to leading the transition to a net-zero carbon, resilient and healthy society. Recognizing that this can be achieved only as a collaborative effort, we encourage our partners to join us in delivering this ambition together. The targets and actions are being arranged around three material pillars of ESG which were identified through stakeholder engagement: Assets, People and Influence.
Assets: We commit to respecting the environment and managing climate-related risks and opportunities. We will do this by delivering net-zero carbon performance and climate resiliency in our portfolios and operations.
People: We commit to improving social wellbeing. We will provide facilities and services to enhance the wellbeing of people who use our assets, our employees and the wider community.
Influence: We commit to exerting a positive influence on our stakeholder groups. We will engage and inspire all those we work with to embrace sustainability and effect positive change.
Above all, we will continue to fulfil our fiduciary duty to support the lives of those all over the world for whom we invest by delivering the financial returns upon which they depend.
Further, CBRE Global Investors recognized that the achievement of this vision requires a carefully laid out pathway, with clear and measurable milestones along the way. For this purpose, the Firm developed an ESG maturity matrix aligned with BSI PAS 7340:2020, defining four levels for both investments and operations:
Level 1, Basic: Maintain legislative compliance
Level 2, Improving: Identify and manage sustainability impacts
Level 3, Engaged: Implement sustainability practices and improve performance
Level 4, Integrated: deliver exemplary ESG performance as business as usual
The key performance indicators for measurement of success are aligned with key globally recognized sustainability frameworks such as BREEAM, LEED, and GRESB, lending an additional layer of assurance and third-party verification. The bespoke framework provides structure while being adaptable to the ambitions of different investors and different types of portfolios and assets, as well as to changes in portfolios, markets, regulations and external standards. We will also apply the maturity matrix to the Firm’s operations and sustainability pathway, enabling clear communication and transparency to internal and external stakeholders.