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The Green Lease

Sustainability and environmental awareness are among Swiss Prime Site’s core values. The company wants to achieve climate neutrality in its own portfolio by 2040. Green leases will play a key role in achieving this goal. But what exactly are they?

Unlike a conventional agreement between a property owner and a tenant, a green lease also sets out terms for the sustainable management of the rental space. In addition to establishing their regular rights and obligations in the contract, the landlord and tenant also agree to share the responsibility for sustainability aspects. 

Special characteristics of green leases
Swiss Prime Site has introduced green leases to bring about genuine change and achieve tangible results. In simple terms, a green lease is a commercial lease contract that includes a binding clause setting out specific measures for promoting sustainability and raising awareness of sustainable behaviour among building users and operators. This might include sustainable procurement practices and consumables, environmentally friendly waste management or the creation of suitable habitats to support local wildlife in outdoor spaces. 

SPS consults its tenants and works closely with them on targets and measures. Regular meetings are held, in which both parties can review their progress and set new milestones. Properties can thereby be made more sustainable overall through the efforts of tenants on the operation side and through measures taken by the owner on the infrastructure side. The improvements ultimately benefit both parties.

Creating understanding
Green leases are currently being rolled out across the entire portfolio. These «partnerships» between owner and tenant, which are based on shared goals and open communication, have led to greater trust and transparency. They have also given SPS a better understanding of the needs of its tenants, enabling it to improve its services and tailor them more closely to different needs and preferences. 

We are delighted with the positive response from the tenants. «At Post Immobilien, we attach equal importance to all three sustainability dimensions – environmental, social and governance. That’s why we enjoy working with Swiss Prime Site as they share our vision for the future. And the green leases are helping us to achieve our sustainability targets.» Green leases are also a valuable tool for Ospena Group AG: «The current green lease agreement fits perfectly into our sustainability strategy and helps us set a benchmark for the rest of the industry.»

Future in mind
A strong relationship between property owners and their tenants is crucial for the future. After all, sustainability is not just an essential consideration in the basic fit-out but also in tenants’ improvements and, ultimately, in the operation and use of rental spaces. Swiss Prime Site is playing a pioneering role in this respect as it already integrates sustainability in all aspects of the business relationship. It is aiming to have green leases in place for 50 percent of its spaces by the end of 2023, and for 100 percent by the end of 2024. 

The long-term goal is also to digitalise all agreed sustainability processes in order to increase user friendliness and establish green leases as an integral part of portfolio management. SPS is convinced that this approach will not only benefit the tenants but also the environment – fully in line with the goal of net zero by 2040.

This article was published as part of the NZZ Real Estate Yearbook 2023.

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