Nuveen Real Estate requires an ESG assessment to be completed for all acquisitions and large CapEx proposals that are presented to the Investment Committee. The contents of the ESG underwriting paper is based on a register of information that each of the Fund teams are required to consider in order to include in the Investment Recommendation, which is reviewed by the dedicated Sustainability team and ultimately the Investment Committee (of which the Head of Sustainability is a member). Please find below a short description of each information type highlighted above.
Raw data from target property. This includes energy data from the past two years, either direct from the property (e.g. from the Building Management System/AMR), or from utility bills. The information is analysed to identify the materiality of the asset in terms of global portfolio energy use and therefore the likely impact on the ability to achieve house- and portfolio-level energy reduction targets. The relative materiality of each asset in terms of energy consumption also triggers a tailored asset management approach in order to manage energy risk.
This also includes location specific assessment of physical climate risks, which includes inland and coastal flooding, wildfires, severe storms, heat and water stress and drought. The year of construction is considered in evaluating resilience to these climate hazards.
2. Appraisals/Audits. For all acquisitions an Environmental Phase 1 assessment and Technical audit is undertaken to determine any environmental risk and likely spend required to improve the operational efficiency of the asset.
3. Benchmarks/rating against similar property. As part of the aforementioned analysis of energy data, an assessment is made of the asset's operational efficiency (e.g. kWh/m2) by using market specific benchmarks such as the Better Buildings Partnership’s Real Estate Environmental Benchmark (REEB), Energy Star or NABERS. Reference to Net Zero Carbon benchmarks is also now being established as part of the due-diligence process. Assessing benchmark performance enables Nuveen Real Estate to build up a picture of the overall quality of the asset vis-à-vis transition risk. This analysis also provides an indication of any capital expenditure that may be needed to elevate the asset to a more appealing market level.
4. Country-level benchmarks. For all acquisitions, the geographic location of the asset is assessed in terms of its exposure to climate change vulnerability (using the Verisk Maplecroft Climate Change Risk Atlas). This indicator is based on a series of underlying indexes, many of which are based at the country-level. This includes, for example, a country's capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This information enables Nuveen Real Estate to determine the likely resilience of the portfolio to climate change.
5. Data aligned with established property reporting standards, industry codes, and certifications. Mandatory certification is examined to identify exposure to any 'minimum energy efficiency standard' legislation (or similar). Voluntary certification (such as BREEAM or Energy Star) is also assessed where there is a particular investor appetite.
6. International initiatives, declarations, or standards. This includes Nuveen Real Estate's signatory status to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, and pursuit of the UNPRI 'Sustainable Real Estate Investment: Implementing the Paris Agreement, An Action Framework'. Acknowledgement of these international initiatives, declarations, or standards, enables Nuveen Real Estate to uphold its fiduciary duty and ensure that its investment processes adhere to global standards and market expectations.
7. Information from external advisors. As part of the aforementioned audits and appraisals that are undertaken, information is gathered form external advisors.