Performance is only worth something if it is sustainable

For a very long time, the performance indicators that we used in real estate were mainly financial and related to asset occupation – rental performance, vacancy rate and non-payment rate, profitability of an operation, etc. Financial interpretation of these indicators has been supplemented by a non-financial analysis that enhances our ability to incorporate the challenges of sustainable development, i.e. environmental, social, societal, cultural, etc.

Jean-Eric Fournier, Director of Sustainable Development, Covivio

In an era characterised by ecological, energy, carbon, digital and social transformations, the building finds itself at the heart of these changes through the multiplicity of activities that go on within it and through its construction and management methods.

During the construction and use of buildings, large amounts of energy, water and materials are consumed, greenhouse gas emissions are discharged, etc. In Europe buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and a quarter of carbon emissions. Buildings are therefore the subject of several European directives transcribed into national regulations on energy, the communication of non-financial information, etc.

Aware of the issues and its responsibility in these areas, the real estate sector and especially the large European estates brought together within EPRA have anticipated the emergence of the regulatory framework, particularly the use of certifications (HQE, BREEAM, LEED) and labels (BBC for Bâtiments Basse Consommation d’Energie [low energy consumption buildings], BBCA for Bâtiment Bas Carbone [low carbon buildings], OsmoZ and Well for well-being and BiodiverCity for promoting biodiversity). These “marks of quality” help anticipate legal deadlines and protect the value of assets.

In addition to the performance calculated during the design of the building and leading to one or more of these certificates being awarded, certifications for maintenance (HQE Exploitation [in-use], BREEAM In-Use) and for environmental or energy management (ISO 14001 and 50001) have also been created. Performance is increasingly monitored in real time, with new tools such as platforms for checking energy consumption remotely via the Internet. Data is collected from meters and sensors or from the building’s BMS in order to manage comfort and performance over time, with the twin goals of meeting the occupant’s needs and controlling operational costs. From 2010 Covivio has adopted sustainable development goals and ambitious action plans – for offices in France, it aims to reduce energy consumption by 40% between 2008 and 2020 (-31% at the end of 2017) and, for hotels in Europe, by 40% over the same period (-46% at the end of 2017).

The non-financial rating agencies and banking organisations that finance our development analyse our goals and our achievements for CSR in the same way as our financial performance to ensure that our economic model is sustainable. The success of our Green Bond issued in 2016, subscribed more than five times over, embodies this convergence and the recognition of our financial and CSR performance.