Institutional investor motivation, processes, and expectations for sustainable building investment

Pernille H. Christensen, Spenser Robinson, Robert Simons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper examines strategic motivations, processes and expectations for institutional real estate owners around sustainable improvements and eco-labelling in office buildings. A series of 33 industry interviews with senior representatives of institutional real estate owners (e.g. REITs, Pension Funds, Opportunity Funds, and Investment Managers) were conducted to explore three key research questions. First, what motivates firms to invest in and move towards green technologies and certifications? Second, how do firms choose to implement, manage and maintain green investments and eco-labels? Third, what, if any, are the financial expectations of investing in green labelling and efficiencies? Results from the constant comparison analysis of the transcripts reveal that expected financial outcomes dominate environmental, broader sustainability and governance concerns when making decisions related to sustainability. The perceived value in eco-labelling was found to be widespread. Data collection and benchmarking related to energy and water usage were found to be the new norm for institutional managers and investors. In addition, a range of localized and firm-level policies was identified. A rigorous interview protocol was followed to reduce threats to reliability and validity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-290
Number of pages15
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • Energy Star
  • LEED
  • Sustainability
  • corporate strategies
  • office tenants
  • qualitative research


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