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31/03/2022 Comments (0) Architecture, Environment, Other, Real Estate, Technology

European taxonomy: “if it’s not binding, it won’t exist.”

Last month, DivercityMag detailed the European Taxonomy, the ambitious programme tending towards more sustainability and primarily concerning investors, financiers, and construction professionals.

To measure the impact of this new reference tool for environmental practices, we met Florent Houssais. He is Export Development Director at Equance, a Franco-European investment company specialising in real estate funds.

Florent Houssais

Florent Houssais, Export Development Director at Equance

Will the Taxonomy change the lives of major European real estate investors?

Some of them have already begun. We are seeing the creation of more and more investment companies that focus exclusively on green financial projects. In particular, non-traded REITs (Non-Traded Real Estate Investment Trusts). But let’s face it: if an investor must choose between profitability and taxation on the one hand and CSR on the other, unfortunately, the choice will often be quickly made…

Are some countries better prepared than others?

I’m not going to say anything new by recalling that these societal values have long been integrated into investments in northern Europe, especially in Scandinavia. For the rest of Europe, it is more diffuse and therefore challenging to draw conclusions. In any event, it is politics that will set the tone. The European Taxonomy is a strong signal since all the countries have agreed. But, again, let’s be realistic: if it’s not binding, it won’t exist. Therefore, it will be necessary to maintain a strong political will to bring this greening of investments to fruition. We have between 8,000 and 9,000 clients in around fifty countries, and I can tell you that the attraction for green projects is still in the minority. But they will get there, sooner or later, and that’s a good thing. Today, the ROI will be the same, whether it is green or not. One way to encourage investors to green their portfolios would be, for example, to reduce taxation. And then, we will immediately see a difference. 

Is the Taxonomy a genuine opportunity for the real estate sector? 

Traditional investors will grumble a little because it will involve changing their habits and increasing certain costs. However, it will be more straightforward for newcomers to the market because it will be easier to adopt these ethical practices immediately. 

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