On Thursday September 21st, Icebreaker One held its Impact Investing focus group, a smaller workshop drawing from members of our advisory group. The primary aim of the group was to identify new data categories that could provide value for impact investing in the built environment. This use-case-driven approach to identifying data categories allows us to refine the data that we catalogue in Open Net Zero in a purpose-led way. 


Prior to the feedback session on Open Net Zero, the group reflected on some key areas of discussion from our previous advisory group meeting. One issue that was still front of mind was the lack of asset level data in the built environment and how the absence of this was leading to a disconnect between ESG reporting requirements and the data needed to effectively comply with these. 

For an investor, understanding whether an asset aligns with climate policy or with their ESG strategy is vital. Having a granular analysis of a building can therefore prove crucial as it helps to identify the risks associated with the asset. This also holds true when it comes to red flag assessments of buildings. Here stakeholders rely on red flag assessments to make informed decisions about purchasing or investing in a property.

We also dedicated some time looking back at methods to improve Open Net Zero from our previous advisory group, with suggestions including:

  • More relevant (to the use case) categorisation for filtering
  • Geography
  • Timeliness
  • More datasets
  • Curation/grouping of datasets for a purpose
  • Displaying example data
  • UX improvements, including search prompts

Focus group insights

During our feedback session, our members offered suggestions for new data categories, including:

  • Tagging data by building ownership type eg: tenant, commercial, cooperative ownership. 
  • Data in the context of the life cycle of a building: What data is most relevant during the construction, operation and maintenance of a building and where in the life cycle of the building is the data coming from?
  • Building use: Recognising that a building’s energy profile varies based on its current usage, prompting a need for data that reflects these variations. Related to this is industry type. Refining the industry in which the building is being used can also help provide an idea of its current usage. For example, building a warehouse for a retailer vs an IT company. 
  • Data on procurement: Moving beyond technical data and looking at data on legislation requirements, contracts and corruption indices. 
  • Data Paths: Considering the data path that relates to a specific investment decision and the data requirements along this path.

Looking ahead

Our Open Net Zero: Impact Investing project has now advanced into the ‘COP28 recommendations and future planning’ phase. In this phase we’ll be producing a list of recommendations to take to COP28, using our fourth and final advisory group meeting on November 9th to validate these recommendations. The meeting will also include a summary that encapsulates our work and progress to date.