How investing in green is investing in the future

Today’s investors are not only given the chance to do well but to do good, too, through sustainable investments. This socially responsible practice involves investing in companies based on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) compliance.

Property Report PH, in partnership with Filinvest REIT Corp. (FILREIT), tackled responsible investing in its recent “Green REIT: Investing in the Future” webinar.

FILREIT president and CEO Maricel Brion-Lirio, local network representative and chairperson of the Global Contact Local Network Philippines of the United Nations Global Compact Yayu Javier, ADFIAP secretary general Enrique Florencio, and ENGIE South East Asia CEO Thomas Baudlot discussed the potential of green investing during the webinar.

Why ESGs matter

Companies with ESG principles are more likely to perform better than those that do not. The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has plans to introduce new stock indices to attract investors who favor specific investment schemes like ESG compliance.

Javier thinks this will be beneficial to the local market. “Allowing the global markets access to this information will provide better indication on the type of investments. They don’t have to do a lot of the research; all they have to do is look at the information the PSE is providing, and they can look into which companies are actually going to be best for investments.”

Green infrastructures

Green buildings are a big investment. Investors pay a premium for them. But despite the high cost, Florencio believes the investors will reap benefits from these.

“It pays to invest in green buildings despite the premium. It can be expensive to build at first; however, the energy- and water-savings feature would help companies and investors to recover what they have invested in five years or less,” he noted.

Baudlot, meanwhile, highlighted efficient cooling systems, citing Filinvest’s Northgate Cyberzone as an example.

“This type of infrastructure has a lot of value in any angle you look at it. Today, the tenants of [Northgate Cyberzone] enjoy savings on their utility bills. Last but not the least, at the foundation of it, we’re delivering sustainability,” Baudlot said.

Investing in REIT

Offering investment opportunities for Filipinos — from the affluent to the millennial — is FILREIT, which is focused on sustainability.

“In a developing country like the Philippines, it is important to see real-life successful examples that integrate sustainability in its design,” Lirio said.

“We are proud to claim that FILREIT is focused on sustainability – this is what makes us stand out. And this is not just to differentiate our offering. We started on our green agenda many years ago even before REIT entered the picture. That’s why as early as 2017, we already decided to build a district cooling system to provide cooling to most of the buildings in FILREIT in Northgate Cyberzone in Filinvest City. This district cooling system is currently the Philippines’ largest.”

Lirio also detailed how Northgate Cyberzone delivers on the sustainability promise. It is able to save about 11,400 tons of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to some 12 million pounds of coal burned, 1.3 million smartphones charged, or a full-year electricity consumption of about 2,089 homes through its district cooling system.

“Our Filinvest City, where 16 of the 17 buildings are located, has received numerous awards for sustainability such as the LEEDv4 Gold for Neighborhood Development certification. In spite of being planned 20 years ago, Filinvest City remains the first and only central business district in the country to earn such recognition,” she added.

FILREIT’s offer period was recently completed on August 3 and is scheduled to be listed on the stock market on August 12.