25 August 2020
Qualitas has continued to pursue its sustainability initiatives despite the current global pandemic, becoming a member of the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) this month. The firm’s new IGCC membership follows its decision to become a signatory to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) in January and also the launch of its new build-to-rent (BTR) impact fund (Fund) in February.
The new A$1 billion Fund is Australia’s first property debt fund which embeds sustainability into its investment criteria as well as being Australia’s first dedicated BTR debt platform. The Fund is backed with a cornerstone investment of up to A$125 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and aims to boost clean, green rental stock and extend the benefits of clean energy to Australian renters.
Qualitas’ ongoing commitment to sustainability is guided by its new Sustainability Policy (Policy) which was implemented earlier this year.1 The Policy provides a framework for how Qualitas will approach sustainability and highlights the firm’s priorities for the calendar year. It also sets out the structure for governance and how the firm will screen and assess investments.
Qualitas recognises that strategically considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors has become increasingly important to Qualitas’ leadership, employees and investors.
Kathleen Yeung, Managing Director, Global Head of Strategy, said “We have observed a growing focus within the real estate sector on addressing the significant global carbon footprint produced by the industry, and other material ESG issues such as energy, waste and water management, access and affordability, labour management and community relations.”
“While these factors have always been part of our decision-making, we have recognised that articulating the principles is key to embedding ESG considerations into the firm’s governance, culture, operating and investing approaches.”
The firm’s leadership team firmly believe that sustainability will support better investment decisions and play an important role in the firm’s future growth and success. Recognising the ongoing development in this area, the leadership team has acknowledged the firm’s approach to sustainability must continue to strengthen and evolve over time.
Qualitas is keen to learn and collaborate alongside others to enable genuine climate change action in real estate, and will continue to learn and seek out new opportunities to apply sustainable investing practices in the market.
 A summary of the Policy is available on Qualitas’ website: https://www.qualitas.com.au/sustainability-policy/.