CEFC green investment targets shopping centre efficiency

CEFC green investment targets shopping centre efficiency

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has invested $30 million in the $300 million QIC Shopping Centre Fund (QSCF) green bond, which will finance initiatives to enhance the environmental performance of three retail assets within QSCF’s portfolio. Toowoomba’s Grand Central, Robina Town Centre on the Gold Coast and Eastland shopping centre in Melbourne will be upgraded with energy-efficient technologies such as new building management systems, LED lighting, heating and cooling systems, and a potential solar rooftop program. The work is expected to reduce the centres’ greenhouse gas emissions by more than 35% in the next three years.

Australian shopping centres account for 36% of commercial building energy consumption. Improvements in energy efficiency are therefore vital to reduce demand on the national electricity grid.

CEFC Debt Market Lead Richard Lovell said the market would expect to see new types of green bonds issued by Australian corporates as they continue to increase their focus on sustainability and energy efficiency.

“This green bond has been certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative under the Low Carbon Buildings — Property Upgrade sector criteria,” Lovell said.

“It is a great example of the benefits that can arise from working on transforming a corporate’s asset base energy efficiency.

“We have worked with QSCF since 2017 regarding setting ambitious sustainability targets,” he continued. “Their program of works delivers reduced energy costs and emissions, and a lighter load on the electricity grid. It also establishes QSCF as a market leader in sustainability, with this bond attracting a new pool of green investors.”

QSCF Fund Manager Michael Fattouh said the green bond was well received by investors across Asia and Australia, attracting investors with green and ESG investment mandates who are new to QSCF.

“We are proud to have achieved this world first for the retail property sector and deliver on the objectives of our investors to make meaningful and tangible progress towards enhancing our sustainability performance,” Fattouh said.

“This green bond builds on the $200 million senior debt facility the QSCF secured via the CEFC in 2017, which included a framework to undertake improvements in energy performance across the QSCF shopping centre portfolio.

“With the rapid growth of green financing and impact [on] investors globally, we will continue to progress opportunities to align QSCF’s capital management strategy, that seek[s] to diversify its sources of funding, with QIC GRE’s [QIC Global Real Estate’s] ambition to drive sustainability initiatives across the retail portfolio we own and manage on behalf of our investors.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Dmitrijs Dmitrijevs

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