Commerz Real hires head of sustainability, launches impact investment division

German property investor Commerz Real has recruited a new head of sustainability and created a new division focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

Commerz Real has named Viola Joncic as its new sustainability head, with responsibility for developing and implementing a sustainability strategy. This also includes the performance of current and future investments being analysed more closely from an ESG perspective than has been the case to date.

Joncic was most recently manager of sustainability services at accounting firm Deloitte, where she headed consulting projects for handling the topic of social and ecological sustainability and was responsible for sustainability report audits.

Tobias Huzarski will head the newly-created Impact Investment division at Commerz Real. With this appointment the asset manager intends to focus more on investments whose returns are not measured solely in terms of economic success, but which also consider their positive impact on society and the environment.

'More and more investors would not only like to earn money, but also do something good with their investment,' said Andreas Muschter, CEO of Commerz Real. 'As an established asset manager for real assets we intend to meet this need and assume responsibility.'

Huzarski will be in charge of developing a portfolio focused on the so-called 'ecological and social return', including investments in renewable energies but also acquisitions for funds for institutional and private investors oriented to the UN sustainable development goals.

'Impact Investment will network the core areas of sustainability, digitalisation and real assets in a consistent and creative manner. We will develop solutions that offer investors access to conservative and sustainable investments, and in doing so attain positive ecological, social and civil outcomes,' explained Huzarski, who before joining Commerz Real co-founded a private platform which invests in proptechs. Prior to this he had worked at Man Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in the areas Private Equity and Real Estate Investments.

Commerz Real already manages 50 brownfield solar power plants with a nominal capacity of 380 megawatts and twelve onshore wind farms with a nominal capacity of about 171 megawatts. In addition, together with Wertgrund Immobilien, the hausInvest open-ended real estate fund has been investing in affordable residential property since 2019, and the sector is expected to represent 10 to 20% of its €16 bn portfolio in the future.

Read more about Commerz Real's plans for 2020 in an interview with CEO Andreas Muschter which appears in PropertyEU's February edition. 

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