Name Patrick Suter
Function Responsible Investment Manager Real Estate
How long with Baloise Since January 2022
Last professional station before Baloise Real Estate Industry; Area Corporate Ventures & Innovation
3 words that describe you creative, curious, ambitious
Actually, right at the beginning of my professional career, the course was set in the direction of sustainability. Through my apprenticeship as a building services planner for heating, which I started more than 18 years ago, I learned early on how sustainable real estate projects can be realized economically. During my work as a civil engineer in the field of building maintenance, I was then able to expand my building technology knowledge with the findings from building physics. Buildings as well as social structures that are cemented in the course of time are actually not that far apart from each other when you take a closer look. Only if one succeeds in understanding and assessing the existing structures can one find the right tools to develop a solution concept. For me, the appeal of sustainability is that it's approach requires a technical as well as a social perspective.
I came to Baloise through the General Management Trainee Program. During my first trainee block, I already had the exciting challenge of laying the foundation for sustainable development of our real estate together with our real estate experts and the Responsible Investment core team. At Baloise, we don't just talk about something for a long time, but also follow it up with really concrete actions. This was demonstrated by the fact that Baloise offered me the position of "Responsible Investment Manager Real Estate" during my second trainee block.
«According to the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), buildings in Switzerland are responsible for about ¼ of the greenhouse gas emissions emitted and since Baloise is one of the largest real estate owners in Switzerland, we can have a big leverage here.»
My job is very diverse, every day is different, especially if you interpret sustainability holistically across the three areas of environment, society as well as gonvernance / economy. This does not make the topic less complex, but all the more exciting. Projects in the field of sustainability are therefore only successful if you manage to address all stakeholders. My job is therefore characterized by a lot of collaboration, in which I take the open innovation approach to work together with authorities, suppliers, customers, partners and tenants to develop solutions that someone could not have developed alone in the value chain.
This may not come as a surprise, but for me it is real estate. According to the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), buildings in Switzerland are responsible for about ¼ of the greenhouse gas emissions emitted and since Baloise is one of the largest real estate owners in Switzerland, we can have a big leverage here.
The federal government speaks a clear language with its net zero target by 2050, which also applies to the Swiss building stock. Homeowners know what I'm talking about when I talk about the long renovation cycle of buildings. By the year 2050, we will in fact have only one renovation cycle left. My task is to provide support so that Baloise's real estate portfolio can be transferred into the future as efficiently as possible and thus without any major destruction of value.
At Baloise, or rather in the entire real estate industry, I see a great need for action with regard to the topic of "true costs". Investments in the field of sustainability sometimes come off too badly, simply because models used to make financial decisions do not reflect reality. The essence of a model is to simplify complex real-world processes and make them tangible to humans. However, when a model oversimplifies and it does not, for example, reflect current energy prices, effective lifetime, or annual maintenance requirements, sustainable energy systems are often unfairly disadvantaged. Specifically, I am thinking here of a ground-source heat pump that requires very little maintenance and where the ground probes, the largest cost component of a heat pump, have a life span of over fifty years. To ensure that in the future such and other portfolio decisions are made about the entire life cycle costs, I certainly see a need for action on our part. This is particularly true because properties that only meet the minimum requirements in terms of sustainability will achieve an ever greater discount in property values in the future.
Find out here how Baloise aims to reduce the CO2 emissions of its properties through a Responsible Investment Policy for Real Estate.