2019 ESG report: Our approach

In our view, accounting for ESG risks and opportunities can lead to more informed investment decisions and better outcomes for society and the environment. We consider ESG factors in all our investment decisions, and via our active asset management, to maximise long term sustainable outcomes for our clients.

There are a range of ESG factors that impact the real estate sector, which in turn impact people and communities. By considering these factors when constructing and managing buildings, there is an opportunity to capitalise on cost savings and reduce resource consumption, which can improve overall portfolio performance.

QIC GRE believes that by incorporating ESG factors when designing, constructing and managing assets, we can broaden the sources for idea generation and improve risk management by building a better understanding of the risks and opportunities within our portfolios.

There are many important ESG issues to consider, and we have collectively identified the key issues facing QIC GRE. These six ESG areas of focus represent some of the more significant issues we manage and have taken a corporate position on.

CLIMATE RISK
  • Adaption to physical impacts
  • Impacts of transition to a low carbon economy
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
  • Environmental impacts
  • Resource efficiency
  • QIC’s own footprint
PEOPLE
  • Workplace health & safety
  • Labour rights
  • Human rights in supply chains
  • Diversity & inclusion
COMMUNITY
  • Community and stakeholder engagement
  • Indigenous partnership
CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

 

  • Board leadership
  • Culture
  • Transparency and disclosure
  • Risk management
ACTIVE OWNERSHIP

 

  • Active asset management
  • Corporate engagement
  • Proxy voting

We undertake careful consideration of our ESG priorities under the framework of QIC's Responsible Investment Policy, as well as our ESG Strategy and Minimum Standards, and Environmental Management System.

Our ESG risk management processes take the precautionary principle into account, and our ESG investment objectives are the responsibility of all our employees and partners. Key performance indicators related to ESG are linked to remuneration and weighted to ensure transparency, outcomes and accountability.

Report Profile

The QIC GRE ESG report is distributed annually, and is aligned with the annual QIC Sustainability Report.

The report is aligned to the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Standards in accordance with their ‘Core’ option.

This report:

  • follows our 2018 ESG report, and covers the FY18/19 period from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019
  • covers the economic, environmental and social topics we consider material to our business, as identified under the GRI 103 Standards 
  • incorporates a GRI Content Index with links to content under the GRI topics – we strive to continuously increase the number of topics we report against
  • covers the physical Australian assets we manage, encompassing relevant properties held under the QIC Property Fund (QPF), the QIC Shopping Centre Fund (QSCF), the QIC Government Office Fund (QGOF), the QIC Active Retail Property Fund (QARP), and the QIC Australia Core Plus Fund (QACPF).

US-based assets owned and managed by QIC GRE are excluded from this report.

Independent Audit

An independent consultancy, Energetics, was engaged to assist with definitions of material boundaries and topics for this report in 2016, which were identified through consultation with the QIC GRE Executive Team and a number of relevant staff, as well as our investors via our Funds Management team. There have been no material changes to the report scope or boundaries since this process was undertaken.

WSP undertook a review of the material boundaries in this report in 2019, in alignment with the GRI Standards, and provided independent validation of the content.

WSP also provided a data assurance statement covering energy (electricity and gas), water and greenhouse gas inventories for 2018. GHG and energy has been reported in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol – WSP has conducted an assurance review in accordance with the Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (ISO 14065).

Memberships and Charters

QIC maintains memberships and affiliations with the following organisations and governing bodies, to provide overarching direction and oversight of our management of ESG across our asset portfolio. These memberships allow us the opportunity to contribute to the development of a range of initiatives while also gaining relevant insights into the latest developments in the ESG space.

QIC’s current memberships and partnerships include:

  • United Nationals Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI)
  • Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA)
  • Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC)
  • CDP (formerly, Carbon Disclosure Project)
  • Property Council of Australia (PCA)
  • Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB)
  • Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

Within QIC GRE, we are also active members of a range of ESG-related working groups, including:

  • Shopping Centre Council of Australia – Michael O’Brien, Managing Director
  • Property Council of Australia, Sustainability Roundtable – Michael Maranta, National Sustainability Manager
  • Property Council of Australia, National Social Sustainability Committee – Kate Macfarlane, Senior Advisor Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
  • Property Council of Australia, Modern Slavery Working Group – Michael Maranta, National Sustainability Manager and Deb Palmer, Risk & Compliance Manager
  • Cleaning Accountability Framework, Steering Committee – Deb Palmer, Risk & Compliance Manager.
QIC's Responsible Investment Policy

QIC’s Responsible Investment Policy covers QIC's broad approach to ESG integration and applies to all QIC’s investment teams. In addition to this, each QIC investment team has its own set of asset class specific standards and guidelines which are specific to its investment approach.

In the case of QIC GRE, these guidelines are designed to deliver holistic sustainability outcomes across the breadth of our property portfolio and throughout its life cycle.

ESG considerations are integrated into each of QIC GRE’s investment processes: Capital Transactions, Investment Management, Retail & Commercial Property and Operations & Leasing.

Corporate Social Investment Framework

QIC GRE’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Framework guides the way we contribute to the social, environmental and economic development of the communities within our sphere of influence through the establishment of partnership programs led by our core assets.

The CSI Framework focuses on the concept of creating shared value, through delivering outcomes that empower communities to address their priorities, while also being relevant for our business, and leveraging those opportunities which emerge from private investment in ways that are sustainable.

The Framework outlines three primary areas of support, which are applied across our asset portfolio to maximise efficiency and value – these areas are:

  • overcoming social and economic disadvantage and fostering community vitality
  • equality of educational opportunities
  • championing sustainable environmental practices.

Delivered through our assets, we are partnering with our communities to deliver tangible and valuable ESG initiatives as a fundamental part of QIC GRE’s responsible investment effort. For more on our partnerships and supported initiatives, see our Case Studies

Environmental Management System

The purpose of QIC GRE’s Environmental Management System (EMS) is to provide a framework to protect the environment and respond to changing environmental conditions in balance with socio-economic needs.

It specifies requirements that enable QIC GRE to achieve the following intended outcomes:

  • enhancement of environmental performance and operational efficiency
  • fulfilment of compliance obligations
  • achievement of environmental objectives.

The EMS is consistent with the recognised international standard AS/NZS ISO 14001:2016 Environmental Management Systems – Requirements with Guidance for Use (ISO 14001). A significant project has been undertaken this year, in collaboration with independent external advisors, to review and evolve the EMS to be more comprehensive and incorporate new focus areas.

Providing a systematic approach to environmental management, the EMS provides information to build success over the long term and creates options for contributing to sustainable development.

This EMS manual establishes the processes and procedures for identifying, monitoring and addressing QIC GRE’s environmental aspects and impacts, using the Plan-Do-Check-Act approach outlined in ISO 14001:

  • Plan: establish environmental objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with QIC GRE’s environmental policy
  • Do: implement the processes as planned
  • Check: monitor and measure progress against the environmental policy, including its commitments, environmental objectives and operating criteria, and report the results
  • Act: take actions to continually improve.

The principal elements of the EMS are outlined below:

  • Leadership
  • Planning
  • Support and operation
  • Performance evaluation
  • Improvement.
ESG Strategy and Minimum Standards

Our ESG Strategy and Minimum Standards were developed to assist in ensuring our sustainability objectives are incorporated and measured consistently across the portfolio, as well as clearly demonstrating sustainability performance and commitment to our stakeholders.

Mandatory standards and ESG guidelines are applied to standing assets and our development projects to ensure our properties will be designed and managed against eight core focus areas.

Next section: Our environment

We recognise the benefits of embedding objectives that reduce our environmental footprint and continually monitoring our performance against these objectives.

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