17 January 2023 | 4 min.

Outlook for 2023: staying true to our purpose in turbulent times

Turbulence and unpredictability seem to be the new normal in which we operate. The COVID pandemic, global supply chains that no longer function, the terrible war in Ukraine, a nitrogen crisis that is having a major impact on the agriculture and construction sectors, rising energy prices and the prospect of a possible economic recession show us that we have moved from one crisis to another over the past years. Although these crises are rightly an immediate priority, they also sometimes distract us from global crises that may have an even bigger impact if we fail to act now, such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity and increasing social inequality.

Committed to our purpose and long-term fund strategies

This turbulence obviously calls for continuous reflection on our strategies, and it also tests the commitment to the long-term strategies of all our stakeholders. In times of great economic prosperity, it’s quite easy to talk about long-term focus, sustainability, contributing to societal needs and a fair share for all stakeholders. But can we stay true to our purpose when financial returns may be declining? At a.s.r real estate we are more than ever committed to our mission to create perpetual value for our investors and society. In this turbulence we see confirmation of our funds’ strategies from various perspectives.

First, confirmation of our long-term focus on quality, with our 130-year track record enabling us to be as predictable as we can in unpredictable times. Second, confirmation of the fact that we don’t see sustainability as a trend but as a foundation on which our funds’ strategies are built. With Paris Proof 2045 roadmaps in place for all funds and our commitment to a nature-positive Netherlands, as presented at the COP 15 biodiversity summit in Montreal, we are dedicated to playing our part. But mostly, confirmation that we derive from the constantly rising societal demand for the functions that we provide through our assets.

Responding to societal demand in all our funds

With the Netherlands facing a substantial housing shortage as well as pressure on the affordability of dwellings, our affordable housing strategy addresses one of our country’s key challenges in 2023. Sustainable mobility is crucial in the way we work post-COVID and for decreasing our CO2 footprint, and thus in what we demand from the office of the future. Dutch society clearly demands healthy food produced by a more sustainable food sector and farmers need access to farmlands and healthy soils to achieve their entrepreneurial goals in a changing rural landscape. During two years of lockdowns, and especially afterwards, our city centres and shopping centres have not only proved their resilience, but also shown that they have a quintessential role as favourite meeting places for society’s social and cultural needs and mental wellbeing. As well as providing a sustainable solution for retailers to thrive in a changing retail landscape. The innovation on our science parks drives our national economic development and sustainability agenda, while international developments highlight the need for domestic R&D capacity. Finally, the energy transition is in full swing, with high demand for renewable energy generation capacity. All these societal demands are exactly what we invest in with our funds and we see it not only as a big opportunity, but also our responsibility to continue to do so in 2023 and beyond.

This is only possible with the constant support of our investors. We are grateful for your continued trust in us, maintaining your long-term commitments to our funds throughout these turbulent economic times. This long-term horizon is essential for the implementation of our fund strategies and for creating perpetual value for both our investors and society.

We wish you an impactful 2023, and look forward to continuing our collaboration. If you have any questions regarding the fund management activities of a.s.r. real estate, please feel free to reach out to me, or any of the fund management teams.

Author(s)

David Harleman

David Harleman

fund manager

David is head of fund management and fund manager for the ASR Dutch Farmland Fund.

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