Canberra Centre
2020 ESG report: Our approach

As a responsible, future-focused real estate investor, we recognise ESG factors not only drive long-term investment returns but also contribute to the communities in which we operate.

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 through our active asset management to maximise long-term sustainable outcomes for our clients.

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, and key performance indicators related to ESG are linked to remuneration and weighted to ensure transparency, outcomes and accountability.

Report Profile

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

This report:

  • follows our 2019 ESG report, and covers the FY19/20 period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020
  • covers the economic, governance, 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 Office Fund (QOF), the QIC Active Retail Property Fund (QARP), and the QIC Australia Core Plus Fund (QACPF).

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

Independent Audit

An independent consultancy firm, Energetics, was engaged to assist with definitions of material boundaries and topics for this report in 2016, which were identified through consultation with the QICGRE 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.

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)
  • Asia Pacific Real Estate Associate (APREA)
  • Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB)
  • Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA)
  • Climate Action 100+
  • Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI)
  • National Australian Build Environment Rating System (NABERS)
  • Climate Measurement Standards Initiative.

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

  • Shopping Centre Council of Australia
  • Property Council of Australia, National Sustainability Roundtable
  • Property Council of Australia, National Social Sustainability Committee
  • Property Council of Australia, Modern Slavery Working Group
  • Cleaning Accountability Framework, Board.
QIC's Responsible Investment Policy

QIC’s Responsible Investment (RI) Policy covers QIC's broad approach to ESG integration and applies to all QIC’s investment teams. Our RI Policy is reviewed biennially, with recommendations and changes to be endorsed by the ESG Advisory Committee and approved by the QIC Limited Board. In February 2020, QIC made the following material changes to our RI Policy:

  • Reviewed and updated QIC's Responsible Investment Principles to reflect the ongoing evolution of our ESG approach
  • Introduced two new sections for Climate Risk and Modern Slavery to reflect industry best practice
  • Broadened exclusions from "land mines and cluster munition producers" to include all controversial weapons manufacturers.

The updates to our RI Policy reflect QIC's work to continually evolve our ESG integration and align with industry best practice. QIC's updated RI Policy can be found on our website.

In addition to our RI Policy, 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 QICGRE, 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 QICGRE’s investment processes: Capital Transactions, Investment Management, Funds Management, Retail & Commercial Property and Operations & Leasing.

Corporate Social Investment Framework

QICGRE’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
  • supporting economic development and equality of employment 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 QICGRE’s responsible investment effort. For more on our partnerships and supported initiatives, see our Case Studies

Environmental Management System

The purpose of QICGRE’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 QICGRE 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 QICGRE’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 QICGRE’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.

QICGRE's strategy for ESG in our portfolio is in its evolutionary phase and will continuously be reviewed and enhanced to ensure the portfolio is positioned for best practice.

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ESG 2020