Green Investments

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Green Investments

3040 Post Oak Caption: 3040 Post Oak, Houston, Texas; 2020 Dallas Regional ESG Challenge Winner.

MIM has a long history of investing in companies and projects that are focused on the conservation of natural resources, the production and discovery of alternative energy sources, the implementation of clean air and water projects, and other environmentally conscious business practices.

MIM currently defines green investments to include:

  1. LEED, ENERGY STAR, BREEAM and/or Fitwel certified real estate equity investments;
  2. commercial mortgage loans secured by LEED and/or ENERGY STAR certified real estate;
  3. renewable energy projects, including wind and solar;
  4. ESPCs (Energy Savings Performance Contracts);
  5. public and private corporate green bonds; and
  6. PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) residential and commercial loans.

Baltimore’s 414 Light Street: Environmental and Tenant Wellness

In 2020, MIM originated a $119 million commercial mortgage loan on 414 Light Street, a newly built LEED Silver multifamily building situated on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor waterfront. The transit-oriented property’s location on the city’s waterfront offers residents superior access to multiple modes of transportation. It is three blocks from Camden light rail and MARC commuter rail station, as well as the Charm City Circulator, a free rapid shuttle bus that has a stop directly adjacent to the site, along with two water taxi stops within a block of the site providing transportation across the Inner Harbor. This unique transit access makes the property an attractive option for residents who commute to Washington, D.C., and major employment hubs at Fort Meade/National Security Agency and Howard County. The property’s location, which boasts a Walk Score of 97, also offers residents walkable access to numerous retail, dining, and entertainment options and easy access to employers in the Central Business District.  The property offers its tenants plentiful environmental amenities, including smart thermostats, a green roof, electric vehicle charging stations, and dedicated parking for fuel-efficient vehicles. Tenant wellness also features prominently, with a 24/7 lifestyle concierge team devoted to resident services and wellness programs, a fitness center, yoga and movement studio, and a community garden featuring herbs and vegetables.

414 Light Street, a LEED Silver building on Baltimore's Inner Harbor waterfront.

Access to energy helps combat poverty in Peru

In 2019, MIM partnered with the Peruvian government for a first-of-its-kind project to bring electricity to rural communities in Peru through solar installations. Access to energy represents one of the most critical steps in combating poverty. In all, the project financed 200,000 rural off-grid solar kits and helped resolve several important elements that are intrinsically tied to access to energy. With solar-powered energy, the community now has ready access for charging mobile phones, better healthcare services delivered around the clock with access to lights and refrigeration, and new education opportunities with schools operating outside daylight hours and incorporating new technologies to enrich the experience. The project also marked the first time MIM financed an off-grid solar project in Latin America, with our investment team making significant efforts to understand, underwrite, and explain the transaction (including knowledge of the Peruvian electricity system, government concessions, and local laws) in order to bring the project to fruition.

Off-Grid Solar Renewable Energy Project, Peru. Photo provided by Ergon.

Expanding ENERGY STAR

MIM’s real estate equity team and other asset managers conduct due diligence on all new acquisitions, including a formal review of a broad spectrum of ESG risks and opportunities. Risk and opportunities evaluated include factors such as overall building performance and energy efficiency; viability of green certifications like LEED, ENERGY STAR, and BREEAM; indoor environmental quality; occupant health and safety; toxic materials; environmental assessments; and compliance with accessibility regulations. In 2020, MIM provided ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager training for more than 150 property managers to help them benchmark their buildings. By the end of 2020, MetLife and MIM had earned ENERGY STAR certification for 46 buildings. We implement our objectives with the intention to increase the efficiency and sustainability of MetLife’s real estate portfolio, to improve operational and financial performance, and to embed these ESG initiatives in our investment decisions.

Encouraging energy conservation with the ESG Challenge

As a responsible real estate investor, MIM manages and operates our real estate investment portfolio with focus on ESG integration, which we believe results in enhanced value for our clients, tenants, residents, and local communities. We aim to create value for our investment portfolio by increasing efficiency and sustainability, as well as improving operational and financial performance.

To illustrate our commitment to ESG integration efforts, we’ve developed an annual program, referred to as the “ESG Challenge,” to engage third-party property teams to reduce energy consumption. This program recognizes and celebrates investment properties that have made significant progress toward our energy efficiency and sustainability goals. Each year, an ESG assessment survey is sent to all investment property teams asking them to highlight innovative sustainability initiatives and/or successful energy reduction efforts. MIM reviews applications and awards winners with a plaque recognizing their achievements.

Achieving Carbon Neutrality with MetZero™

Building off of MetLife’s operational carbon neutrality commitment since 2016, MIM created the MetZero™ program to seek to achieve carbon neutrality at its investment real estate properties. Several MIM investment fund products collaborated in 2020 to launch the MetZero™ Program to seek to achieve carbon neutrality. MIM developed the program based on our benchmarking in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and organized around our proprietary Carbon Cascade™ approach, where emissions are systematically lowered through a series of investment tranches. First, emissions are reduced as much as possible through energy management and implementation of on-site renewables and increased use of collaboration tools to reduce employee business travel. The remaining emissions are then offset through the purchase of renewable energy, carbon offsets, and renewable energy certificates.

TARGETS

By 2025, MIM’s real estate team aims to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in its investment portfolio.