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Update from Dominique Moerenhout

Welcome to the Conference edition of the EPRA Industry Magazine. For those of you who do not know, we are celebrating this year the 10th anniversary of the EPRA Sustainability Best Practices Recommendations. ESG and sustainability reporting are currently at the forefront of any discussion, no matter the sector, and the EU is very active in proposing measures to guarantee we reach a 55% greenhouse gas emissions cut by 2030. With the ten years of the EPRA sustainability standard, European listed real estate companies and investors are ahead of this curve. Moreover, our members are committing to carbon neutrality, and many of them are actively issuing green bonds.

However, the work does not stop here. With many dossiers on the table, from the EU Taxonomy to the European Green Bond Standard passing by the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, EPRA is bringing vast experience and knowledge to the table. With COP26 around the corner, we are working closely with policymakers to make sure the voice of the built environment is heard and that the specificities of the European listed real estate sector are understood and taken into account in current and future legislation.

Wellbeing is an integral part of ESG discussions, especially in the post-pandemic world. The theme is a cornerstone of our Conference programme, with the afternoon sessions dedicated to health and wellbeing from a tenant and employee perspective, as well as to greener and smarter buildings of the future. The topic is discussed in this edition by Meik Wiking, CEO of The Happiness Research Institute, and guest speaker at this year’s Conference.

People returning to the office comes in pair with the reopening of our economies and a steady recovery. As our updated Oxford Economics report demonstrates, the trajectory of the recovery is broadly in line with the initial predictions, faster than what we observed after the Global Financial Crisis, and expected to attain a pre-crisis level by 2022.

And when talking about recovery, one should not overlook Central and Eastern European economies, with countries such as Poland and Romania growing at a fast pace. It is no wonder that those countries are attractive to investors, and that REIT legislations are proceeding. Alex Morar, the CEO of NEPI Rockcastle, as well as representatives of four companies active in this region, discuss the uniqueness and opportunities of the CEE market in this edition.

Finally, and as always, I would like to welcome our newest members: AVENTOS, Claresco Finance, Norwegian Property, R8 Property, Residential Secure Income and St. Modwen.