APG, the Netherlands' largest pension provider, is making great strides in improving the sustainability of its real estate and infrastructure investments. APG now invests 21.7 billion euros in sustainable real estate. This represents an increase of 1.3 billion euros compared to 2017. Investments in the most sustainable infrastructure category are also showing strong growth. Compared to 2017, these investments increased by approximately 900 million to 2.3 billion euros. Investments in sustainable real estate and infrastructure contribute to the objective of APG's largest pension fund client, ABP, to have invested 58 billion euros in business that helps to meet the UN's sustainable development goals by 2020. APG manages a total of 482 billion euros in pension assets.
APG uses the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) survey to measure its efforts in the field of sustainable real estate. This organization measures the sustainability performance of the property investment sector worldwide, with 5 stars being the maximum sustainability score for a specific investment. Together with APG, in 2016 GRESB also developed 'GRESB Infra', which now maps out the sustainability of infrastructure investments as well as real estate.
Contribution to sustainable development goals
APG currently invests 21.7 billion euros in real estate with 4 or 5 stars under this GRESB standard. An example of such an investment is the interest in the Dutch residential investor Vesteda,
which has an outstanding GRESB score. These investments qualify as Sustainable Developments Investments. APG thus contributes to the UN's sustainability goals, especially goal 11, 'Sustainable cities and communities'. At the same time, these investments also ensure a stable and long-term return.
The share of APG's infrastructure investments that were awarded the maximum score under the GRESB infrastructure standards also rose sharply in 2018, from 1.4 to 2.3 billion euros. A recent example of this is the increase of investments in Småkraft, a sustainable Norwegian hydropower company, by 48 million euros. Over the next few years the company will double its renewable energy capacity to 2Twh in 2022. This is enough energy to supply some 570,000 households with sustainable energy.
The GRESB Infra scores also provide an insight into the subject of health and safety. The infrastructure investment scores on this subject also show an improvement. APG intends to use the GRESB scores of the investment portfolio to enter into talks with the aim of gaining a clearer understanding of health and safety.
Patrick Kanters, Managing Director Global Real Assets: “APG invests in real estate infrastructure for its pension fund clients, provided our strict requirements in terms of returns, risk, costs and of course ESG criteria are met. In recent years we have succeeded, in close cooperation with our investment managers, in making our investments emphatically more sustainable. We will be continuing this in the years to come."