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Comillas analyses the relationship between real estate investment and sustainability

The university held a new edition of the Sustainable Finance Classroom with the presence of CaixaBank and CBRE, a global leader in the real estate sector

Elisa Aracil, director of the Observatory of Sustainable Finance, during the presentation of the conference.

"40% of energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the real estate sector and everyone has a great responsibility," said Patricia García de Ponga, chief financial officer, compliance officer and director of sustainability at CBRE. By "everyone", the head of one of the world's leading real estate consulting firms was referring to regulators, investors, credit agencies, corporations and funders, all of whom need to be concerned about sustainability and ESG criteria.

García de Ponga was one of the guests at the latest edition of the Sustainable Finance Classroom organised by the Sustainable Finance Observatory of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration (Comillas ICADE), CaixaBankAM and FundsPeople. The executive was accompanied by Álvaro Colino, Director of Sustainable Business Product at CaixaBank. Both focused on real estate investment and how this can be done on the basis of sustainable behaviour.

"The main measure of sustainability for a company is to have a good balance sheet and income statement", said Colino, who insisted that "if the real estate asset is not positioned in the ESG coordinates, it will not give investors as much profitability".

In this sense, García de Ponga confirmed that "unsustainable properties will be left out of the market" and that "85% of financiers already consider ESG criteria when granting loans". For his part, Colino recalled that "the mobilisation of funds in the field of sustainability is brutal" and that "banks go through climate stress tests to assess whether the bank is complying with the requirements of a low-carbon economy".

According to Elisa Aracil, director of the observatory, the conference was a further step in the objective of presenting new financial solutions that incorporate the perspective of sustainability, delving into the practical application of sustainable finance from an academic point of view. "It served to analyse how the real estate sector is being transformed in the light of ESG criteria and how financial institutions channel funds towards these assets," said Aracil. It also allowed students to learn first-hand about the current need to add non-financial criteria (ESG) to financial valuations.

The Sustainable Finance Classroom began with the awarding of the prize for the best End of Degree Project of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration (Comillas ICADE) in Sustainable Finance for the 2022-2023 academic year. The winner was Wenceslao Civeira for his work "Real estate and its incorporation into investment portfolios". For the dean of the faculty, Teresa Corzo, "things well done have a reward and it is a motivation for the student and recognition for a job well done".

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