Popular super fund spends big on sustainable property

A major superannuation fund has invested in a new sustainable inner city property development focused on affordable housing, highlighting the value of environmentally and socially sustainable property for large investors.

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Health and community services industry fund HESTA announced on Tuesday that it had committed $20 million to Melbourne apartment project Nightingale Village, which will be carbon neutral and allocate 40 per cent of its homes to low-income earners and key service workers.

HESTA chief executive Debby Blakey said the project, a joint venture between sustainable developer Nightingale Housing and not-for-profit Social Ventures Australia (SVA), appealed to the fund because of its focus on delivering affordable homes for a key demographic in its member base.

“Our members deliver critical, life-changing services in their communities and we are looking for investment opportunities that improve their access to secure, affordable housing near infrastructure and in proximity to where they work,”, Ms Blakey said.

“The way we invest focuses on the much broader impact we can have for members by aligning investments with seven strategic UN Sustainable Development Goals, including how we can help make cities and communities more sustainable and inclusive.”


Nightingale, which has developed four sustainable housing projects in Victoria, focuses on allowing low-income and service workers to purchase inner-city homes at cost through savings it achieves on energy efficiency and marketing expenses.

The Nightingale Village development is HESTA’s second foray into sustainable property through its Social Impact Investment Trust, which has allocated $70 million of member funds towards impact investments that provide risk-adjusted market-based returns.

SVA executive director for impact investing Michael Lynch said the project was a good example of how large institutions could fund the affordable and environmentally friendly property developments of the future.

“It speaks to the scale of opportunities available to investors looking to make both a social and financial return and grow the impact investing market,” Mr Lynch said.

“We’re thrilled that through our partnership with HESTA we’re able to again support innovative projects like Nightingale Village that create more social and affordable housing and help build an Australia where all people and communities can thrive.”

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