A Sneak Preview of the 2015 GRESB Results: Global Leadership and a Record-Breaking Response

GRESB has a simple but powerful mission: Create better built environments by enabling institutional investors with actionable information about environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance on their real estate investments. GRESB carries out this mission with a systematic process to assess, score, and benchmark property companies and funds around the world. GRESB members use this information to inform their investments and improve their portfolios.
In 2015, GRESB hit important new milestones (exact numbers to follow on September 2):

  • The most respondents ever: Over 700 reporting entities
  • The largest aggregate value ever: More than USD 2.3 trillion
  • The most Green Stars ever: 350 entities

The 2015 GRESB assessment provides unique insights into global trends in ESG management and performance. The results reflect two essential dimensions of performance: Management & Policy and Implementation & Measurement. The Management & Policy dimension is the foundation for effective action, including plans, assessments, and the organizational infrastructure required to collect and analyze data. The Implementation & Measurement dimension offers information about specific actions and operational achievements, including performance indicators for energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water, and waste. This year findings are summarized with respect to critical global issues (“themes”), including energy, water, waste, climate change, and human health.
A few highlights of trends between 2014 and 2015 include (just a teaser…):

  • Sustainability requirements for procurement: 76% from 65%
  • Building commissioning: increased to 35% from 8%
  • Monitoring of employee health and safety: 71% from 48%
  • Sustainability requirements in standard lease contracts: 61% from 43%
  • Climate change risk assessments for standing investments: 58% from 45%

These, and many more plans, processes, and actions contributed to significant overall improvements in energy efficiency, reduction in water consumption, and increased renewable energy generation.
Taken together, the 2015 GRESB results provide a clear picture of a global industry making steady progress to institutionalize the management of ESG issues. Trends indicate convergence around a core set of management practices and illustrate engagement across all property types and geographic regions. This shows progress toward GRESB’s mission of promoting better buildings for people and the environment.
This article was written by Chris Pyke.