EPRA Monthly Brief
April 2021
I’m pleased to announce that we are opening registrations next week for the EPRA Conference. The event is scheduled virtually from the 20th to the 24th of September, with the main day taking place in a hybrid format in Brussels, in the modern Docks Dome venue. We hope that as many of our members as possible will be able to meet to network and reconnect, as per the current Belgian sanitary measures.

To offer you a glimpse into the main day, the morning will focus on the macroeconomic outlook and the recovery with keynote speeches by Lord King, former Governor of the Bank of England, and Wolfgang Münchau, former European commentator for the Financial Times. In addition, we will also have panels with property companies and investors, including Sandeep Mathrani, the CEO of WeWork, and Jonathan Litt, the renowned activist-investor. The afternoon will be dedicated to ESG and wellbeing from a city perspective, with Carlo Ratti, MIT Professor and innovative architect, as well as Brendan Wallace, Co-founder & Managing Partner Fifth Wall.

As we are readying for our flagship event, I would like to draw your attention to a few webinars coming up in the next weeks. On May 6, EPRA partnered with Green Soluce and IEIF for the launch of first pan-European report on the ESG trends in real estate investment. On May 11, we will host the second Real Estate Digest event focused on operational excellence, in partnership with B&I Capital. That same day we will also be exploring PropTech solutions in the post-Covid world with start-ups incubator Pi Labs. Finally, on May 19, together with JLL we will discuss how responsible investment enhances returns and manages risk in real estate in Europe and Africa.

I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you that there are still a few spots left for the EPRA – INSEAD Executive Programme (20-24 June) dedicated to the latest trends shaping the listed real estate sector, such as thematic investing, e-commerce and logistics, digitalisation and data analytics.

To conclude, and as always, I would like to welcome UK’s Residential Secure Income as our newest member.

Dominique Moerenhout, EPRA CEO
EPRA news

EU Taxonomy: A welcomed yet limited approach

On April 21, the European Commission published a first delegated act on sustainable activities for climate change adaptation and mitigation objectives part of the EU ESG Taxonomy. While EPRA welcomes this newest iteration as a strong move in the right direction towards addressing the issues of sustainability classification, we remain concerned that the legislation does not address the key challenges of incentivising the renovation of our existing buildings in the EU. The new taxonomy places significant focus on the sustainability qualifications and performance of new builds but fails to take into consideration the lifecycle of carbon and the implications that incentivising new buildings will have on the environment. New buildings will undoubtedly serve an important part in upgrading our infrastructure, but we must not lose sight of the fact that the most effective thing we can do to address the climate crisis is to increase the efficiency of our existing stock. With over 35% of buildings in the EU being over 50 years old and an annual renovation rate of around 1.5%, the taxonomy should give a clear signal to the sector that sustainable built environment assets must aim for carbon reduction and mitigation across their whole life cycle. The wholistic carbon inputs must be taken into account to truly face the climate crisis head on. For more information about EPRA’s ESG policy work, consult our website here.

Business Taxation for the 21st century

As part of its taxation policy for the Single Market, the Commission will present a Communication on Business Taxation for the 21st Century, following up on the global discussions at the OECD level. EPRA presented its comments to the Roadmap published earlier this year, which prepares the adoption of a Communication. In its feedback, EPRA calls for a framework to enable mutual recognition of REIT regimes, which would remove barriers in investment and support transition towards a green Europe. At the same time, EPRA stressed that subjecting REITs to the GloBE rules would undermine the policy objectives that domestic REIT regimes are seeking to achieve. The uniqueness of REITs will therefore require a more tailored solution when addressing an international and European tax framework. For more information, please contact EPRA’s public affairs department.

Raising the profile of the built environment: #BuildingLife and COP26

EPRA is joining World Green Building Council’s Europe #BuildingLife campaign to help to ensure Europe delivers on the ambition of the EU Green Deal. Buildings are responsible for around 40% of energy consumption, 36% of CO2 emissions, 50% of all extracted material and 35% of the EU’s total waste generation. Together with other industry leaders, we call on national governments and the European Commission to support bold and ambitious policies that address total emissions across the entire lifecycle of a building. On a more local level, EPRA is also partnering with the UK Green Building Council to contribute to the built environment industry’s presence at COP26, gaining new opportunities to engage with key stakeholders via the co-creation of a Virtual Pavilion.
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