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ESG RETake: Cromwell goes green in Germany; CapitaLand launches fund for elderly

This S&P Global Market Intelligence exclusive presents a rundown of recent environmental, social and governance news involving real estate companies around the globe.


* Cromwell European REIT entered into a contract to use renewable energy and green natural gas in its German properties. The move reduces tenants' operational expenses by 12% and lowers annual carbon emissions by 3,500 tonnes.

* Emira Property Fund Ltd. committed to reducing absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions 13% by 2022, from a 2015 base year, becoming the first African company to set a greenhouse gas emissions target validated by the Science-Based Targets initiative, a collaboration between the Carbon Disclosure Project, United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature. Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, while scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy.

* Japan Real Estate Institute granted DBJ Green Building Certification to Star Asia Investment Corp.'s Iwatsuki Logistics, Baraki Logistics and Honmachibashi-Tower properties. Launched by Development Bank of Japan Inc., the DBJ Green Building Certification Program recognizes properties that reflect environmental and social awareness.

* United Urban Investment Corp.'s asset manager, Japan REIT Advisors Co. Ltd., amended its asset management guidelines, effective July 31, to introduce an Eligible Green Assets category in a bid to boost involvement in environmental issues.

* Meliá Hotels International SA's Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora Hotel in Tenerife, Spain, became the first hotel in Spain to receive Earthcheck Gold certification, in recognition of its efforts to improve its environmental, social and cultural environment. On the environmental front, with new refuse bins, the hotel reduced the residue volume per stay to less than 7 liters from over 16 liters the previous year. It also eliminated printed payrolls and paper in all customer information areas in 2017. Additionally, the hotel discontinued the use of plastic straws, mixers and cups.

On the social side, the hotel promotes blood donation, a charity market and charity races, while in cultural initiatives, it works to optimize occupational health and supports youths at risk of social exclusion through the Nahia Project.


* CapitaLand Ltd. established a S$2.0 million fund in partnership with Community Chest Singapore to support and empower vulnerable senior citizens in Singapore. Established through the CapitaLand Hope Foundation, the CapitaLand Silver Empowerment Fund aims to improve the quality of life of the individuals through healthcare, social integration and improved living conditions. The fund was launched at a ceremony at which Singapore President Halimah Yacob was the guest of honor. The company earmarked an additional S$300,000 for six charities under the President's Challenge 2018.

* Hopewell Holdings Ltd. teamed up with St. James' Settlement to organize the Hopewell Junior Volunteers Programme, offering a range of activities related to environmental protection, community engagement, sports, and arts and culture.

* Also in Hong Kong, Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd.'s SHKP-Kwoks' Foundation and Chongqing University signed an agreement for a new scholarship program aimed at underprivileged students from the mainland. The scholarship program, which will come into force in the 2018/19 academic year, will also involve support for overseas exchange programs.

* In Australia, 10 DEXUS-managed shopping centers across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia will host a one-day community event in August. The real estate group hopes to raise money for local hospitals to support various pediatric services and children's healthcare initiatives, including the revitalization of a children's garden in Mount Druitt, New South Wales, and the purchase of medical equipment for the children's ward at GV Health Hospital, Shepparton.


* ESR-REIT ranked 18th out of 43 participants, with a score of 80.8, in the Singapore Governance and Transparency Index's real estate investment trust and business trust category for 2018, an improvement from 2017 when it ranked 28th with a score of 58.2. The index assesses corporate governance practices of companies listed in Singapore.

The industrial REIT remained in sixth place on the Governance Index for Trusts with a score of 77, up from 71.5 a year ago. The Singapore Exchange-backed index focuses on listed REITs.

As of Aug. 14, US$1 was equivalent to S$1.38.