As we complete our 2019 Sustainability Report, millions of people worldwide are suddenly being forced to change their lives due to a global pandemic that requires us to change our behaviours in relation to how we interact with our families, our associates and the whole community. The scarcity that we are currently experiencing on a daily basis offers everyone the opportunity to think about how best to navigate the near future, perhaps differently from the past, reassess our priorities and to understand what sustainability means in the most genuine sense.
We do not yet know to what extent and for how long we will be forced to change our behaviours, lifestyles and habits. However, I firmly believe that this experience will help us to be more conscious of our relationship with the wider community and the environment and to foster a higher degree of individual and collective responsibility.
Over half the world’s population lives in towns or cities, and by 2030 this is expected to increase by over two thirds. On a global scale, more than 70% of climate changing gas emissions due to energy consumption are caused by cities, even though they only occupy 3% of the world’s surface*. Today, the real estate sector accounts for 40% of emissions, totalling 265 million tonnes per year: these unsustainable environmental impacts have to be reduced, and in the very short term. The social repercussions of climate change have now become clear and consequently, systemic changes to our way of life, consumption patterns and the economy must take place.
COIMA currently manages a portfolio of over 1 million sqm which is 76% certified and precertified LEED. 2019 was particularly significant from a real estate investment standpoint. Thanks to the acquisitions made by our company, COIMA is in a stronger position to play an active role in building reuse and urban regeneration, allowing us to continue to analyse and better understand the evolution of demand and future development of cities and buildings. Having expanded the scale of our developments from the single building to the neighborhood, we are confident that we have the perspective from which we can achieve a better outcome. We are also better positioned to implement COIMA’s approach to developing projects, an approach which is focused on redesigning the urban space in a way which delivers a more positive environmental, social and economic impact for the community and the city in which we invest.
Porta Nuova continues to be an amazing laboratory and opportunity for innovation: last year we launched a new initiative which saw COIMA, together with the Fondazione Riccardo Catella, enter into a partnership with the City of Milan to deliver a new public-private management model for the park known as the Biblioteca degli Alberi di Milano (BAM). As well as being responsible for maintenance and safety, the Fondazione Riccardo Catella is responsible for developing a cultural programme. This approach effectively moves us towards running services for an ever-growing community that already includes 10 million people, a figure expected to reach more than 15 million in the next few years.
In 2019, COIMA established the COIMA City Lab to specify guidelines for the creation of urban spaces of the future and these are currently being applied to COIMA projects. They are also intended to support other real estate players, on how to regenerate urban environments in a way which benefits current and future generations.
In line with our vision to transform real estate assets into desirable high-footfall neighbourhoods, we continue to develop our operating platform, by adding new skills and services and selected investments in order to regenerate Italy’s magnificent cities. The investment and growth of our operating platform is strategic: in the last 18 months we have worked hard to digitalise the organisation in order to optimise our operations and our real estate product. The capability to collect and process large amounts of data is another layer and opportunity for COIMA to continue its legacy, which will soon encompass 50 years of experience.
Transparency and measurement of our performance through this report is important and we are committed to constant improvement. Last year, we also decided to proceed with the Porta Nuova Garibaldi and COIMA Opportunity Fund II funds via ESG, Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) rating, to improve further our reporting to all stakeholders.
Enjoy the reading.