Varma does well in real estate sustainability assessment – full points for the entire company’s sustainability

Varma received four out of five stars, i.e. the second highest rating, in the 2022 GRESB real estate sustainability assessment. Varma was the highest-ranking company in its peer group of similar Finnish real estate investors and 21st in its peer group of European investors. Varma received full points for the company’s sustainability policies and management.

Varma participated in the global real estate sustainability assessment this year for the fourth time, scoring 86 points out of a possible 100. That score earned Varma four stars out of five, i.e. the second highest rating. This reflects a high level of sustainability. Varma’s peer group of Finnish investors scored 73 points on average.

“We scored slightly more points than last year, which is a positive consequence of our long-term sustainability efforts. If you look at our development path since our first assessment in 2019, our progress is even more remarkable. In that year, we scored 68 points,” says Johanna Haikala, Investment Manager, Real Estate at Varma.

The GRESB assessment examines the sustainability of real estate assets in an investment portfolio at the level of the entire direct real estate portfolio. It looks at, among other things, properties’ sustainability-related risks and opportunities, energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and environmental management systems, as well as the company’s corporate sustainability policies and how they are managed.

“Varma’s score increased by four points since the last assessment, which can be considered a good improvement at such a high level of sustainability. If the score is between 80 and 90, making improvements becomes more of a challenge than if it is, for example, 60. In this year’s assessment, Varma came very close to achieving the highest, i.e. five-star, rating,” says Senior Consultant Anne-Maria Vierinen of Ramboll, Varma’s co-operation partner in the GRESB assessment.

Varma has developed its real estate portfolio by carrying out energy renovations in its properties, switching to renewable energy sources in some of its residential and commercial premises, and obtaining environmental certifications for its residential and office properties.


First place among Finnish real estate investor peers, 21st among European peers

Varma performed particularly well this year in its peer group of Finnish investors, coming in first place out of a group of six peers. The peer group included, for instance, Finland-based asset management companies and other real estate investors whose portfolios include both residential and office premises. In the comparison of European investors, Varma rose to 21st place among its peer group of 216 investors.

Varma earned full points in the assessment of the company’s sustainability policies and management, rising to first place in its peer group of 901 European real estate investors.

“The outcome of the assessment shows that we have a very good foundation for implementing and managing sustainability. Having a solid foundation makes it easier for us to achieve our sustainability goals. We are well-positioned to continue our sustainability work in the real estate business and throughout the company,” says Varma’s Director of Responsible Investment, Hanna Kaskela.

“Going forward, we want to focus even more sharply on the sustainability of our construction projects, for instance, in new construction. This means taking sustainability into account already during the project planning phase and, among other things, incorporating the principles of circularity into construction projects. Moreover, we will continue to carry out energy efficiency renovations and switch to renewable energy sources in our sites that have sufficient potential for modifications,” says Haikala, elaborating on the development of the real estate portfolio’s sustainability.

What is GRESB?

GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) is a tool and framework for assessing and benchmarking the sustainability performance of real estate, infrastructure and investment assets, allowing investors to compare their sustainability performance. Real estate investors use the international tool to assess and develop their sustainability efforts.


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