COIMA receives Italy’s first USGBC Leadership Award

The company is seeking to make the Porta Nuova district the world’s first LEED and WELL certified community



COIMA, Italy’s leading Real Estate investment, development and management company, has received the 2020 Greenbuild Europe Leadership Award from the U.S. Green Building Council for its ongoing commitment to sustainable real estate development.

The prize is awarded to organisations that stand out as leaders in the construction of buildings and in the creation of new communities, reducing impact on the environment, prioritising the health of inhabitants and improving living standards. The first company to pursue a LEED certification in Italy with the registration of Torre Unicredit in 2005, COIMA has now a portfolio of 33 LEED certified buildings across more than 400,000 sqm, representing c.40% of total LEED certifications across the entire city of Milan. In addition, COIMA has a pipeline of 15 buildings under construction, 10 of which will seek the complementary WELL Certification.

COIMA has also started the process to obtain the “LEED for Communities” and “WELL Community” certifications for Milan’s Porta Nuova district, making it the world’s first neighbourhood redevelopment project to start on the journey to a double certification. This will improve Milan and Italy’s position among the most advanced of those pursuing leadership in ESG initiatives with a measurable and transparent impact.

These two complementary certifications will analyse the social, environmental and economic aspects of the Porta Nuova development by documenting the community’s engagement in creating a district through the activation of public spaces, the creation of an innovative and replicable urban economic model, and the development of tools to communicate with the community.

The certification process includes a succession of design, data collection and reporting phases, which will also lead to the integration of a number of tools and services for the community, with the aim of obtaining the certifications in 2021.

Manfredi Catella, Founder and CEO of COIMA
“Cities will increasingly become the planet’s leading physical infrastructure, and as such require a responsible approach to urban regeneration, integrating innovation and addressing key issues such as the environment, social inclusion and health. We need to develop and adopt codes of conduct requiring a long-term commitment to responsible urban development, starting right here, from Italy’s leading cities - and Milan is an example of this commitment, serving as a model for cities worldwide.”

Mahesh Ramanujam, U.S. Green Building Council, President & CEO
“LEED for Cities and Communities rating system helps local leaders, planners and developers create communities with responsible, sustainable and specific plans for natural systems, energy, water, waste, transportation and many other factors that contribute to quality of life,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president & CEO, U.S. Green Building Council. “COIMA is well known for its ability to reinvent urban spaces focusing on excellence in sustainability and innovation and with the LEED for Communities program, they will be able to further demonstrate leadership by prioritizing the health and wellness of the community and its inhabitants.”

Kay Killmann, GBCI Europe, Head of Europe
“COIMA’s long-held commitment to sustainable real estate sets them apart. Under the foresight of founder Manfredi Catella, the organization is progressive in promoting sustainability and well-being across all their investments and business practices. Recently, COIMA established a Sustainable Innovation Committee, implemented structured governance and became a member of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark. For COIMA, LEED has always been a tool of best practice, ideal to help realize stand-out projects like the iconic Bosco Verticale. Now, aspiring to pursue LEED and WELL certification for Porta Nuova, the first dual certification of its kind in the world, is just the latest inspiration of a visionary leader. For being on the vanguard of real estate development not only for Italy but for all of Europe, COIMA is well-deserving of the 2020 Greenbuild Europe Leadership Award.”

Rick Fedrizzi, International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), Chairman and CEO
“The first project in Italy to pursue WELL Community Certification, Porta Nuova is an exciting new development in Milan that is changing the rules of architecture and prioritizing people’s health. COIMA, a company that has always focused on projects that generate the highest standards of sustainability and innovation, is refocusing people’s attention on the city center and offering a more human way of experiencing spaces. This major urban and architectural redevelopment project will breathe new life into this beautiful historic district and help people experience urban outdoor settings once again through public spaces and piazzas that bring a sense of well-being. We’re excited to welcome COIMA and its Porta Nuova district to the WELL family.”

The Porta Nuova development, which connects three historically separate districts, experiments with a form of sustainable urban regeneration focused on the concepts of people, community, integration and resilience, and sees in BAM - Biblioteca degli Alberi (a park known as the Library of Trees) a fundamental link connecting the surrounding urban fabric.

BAM, Italy’s first public park managed privately through a special agreement between the Milan City Council, COIMA SGR and the Riccardo Catella Foundation, is a pilot project in the management of public spaces, resulting in a collaborative network that is open to associations and companies with the aim of boosting civic and cultural awareness among citizens and involving the community on issues that affect our planet, such as climate change, education, diversity and inclusion.

The ongoing development of the Porta Nuova Gioia quadrant, based on a single masterplan that has received the approval of the Landscape Commission of the Milan City Council for the quality of the interventions proposed, represents a key element of the Porta Nuova district as a model of sustainability and community creation. The area - for which COIMA SGR foresees total investments of over 1 billion Euro, total contracts for 350 million Euro, 40 million Euro of investments in architecture, 120,000 square metres of public areas and 3,600 metres of cycle and pedestrian paths - will form a key element of the green, sustainable, regenerative corridor that is to run from the city’s Central Station to Scalo Farini, and on to the Expo area, cutting through the Bovisa district.

Central to the design is the holistic approach to real estate development adopted by COIMA with the aim of generating, measuring, monitoring and providing long-term sustainable, economic and social performance through precise key indicators based on the ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) parameters, such as reduced energy consumption, increased energy from renewable sources, revegetation and reduced water consumption.

An example is the Gioia 22 building, nearing completion, which has adopted the most effective best practices in terms of sustainable construction, making it a Nearly Zero Energy Building and reducing its energy requirements by 75% compared to Milan’s most recent executive towers. Gioia 22, made using Cradle-to-Cradle certified materials (an approach focused on the principle of circularity in real estate), aspires to obtain the LEED Platinum and WELL certifications due to the adoption of architectural, technological and management solution designed to maximise the well-being of occupants.

In terms of sustainable urban development, COIMA promotes COIMA City Lab, a think tank set up with the aim of playing a strategic role in defining guidelines for the creation of tomorrow’s urban spaces, both as regards projects promoted by COIMA but also as a cultural contribution to the development of Italian territories as a fundamental resource for the country. COIMA City Lab members are Stefano Boeri (Stefano Boeri Architetti), Elizabeth Diller (Diller Scofidio + Renfro - DS+R), Gregg Jones (Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects), Lee Polisano (PLP Architecture Ltd), Carlo Ratti (Carlo Ratti Associati), Cino Zucchi (CZA Cino Zucchi Architetti) and Christopher Choa (AECOM).

The first output produced by the working group, made up of architects and professionals with international experience and extensive expertise in urban planning, is known as the “Undertaking for great cities”, a charter addressed to architects, developers and institutions that establishes measurable, quantitative and qualitative standards for the development of sustainable urban regeneration projects. For each project, the COIMA City Lab Charter identifies specific, measurable ESG goals and parameters, and provides a calculation platform to enable verification of compliance with said goals. For example, to promote a green culture and a circular economy, it is important to reduce urban heat islands, to improve air quality, and to use energy from renewable sources - therefore, projects must come with certifications that guarantee these features. COIMA undertakes to adopt the principles of the Charter and to include them in its ESG policy, in its procedures and processes, and in all its urban regeneration projects.


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Lorenzo Barbato


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