GRESB Foundation Board Member Profile: Mathieu Elshout

We interviewed GRESB Foundation Board Member Mathieu Elshout on his motivation for joining the Foundation Board, the future of ESG, and how his organization approaches responsible investing. Mr. Elshout joined the Board in January 2022.

Name: Mathieu Elshout

Title: Head of Sustainability and Impact Investing

Organization: PATRIZIA SE

ESG topics of interest:

  • Decarbonisation of the built environment
  • Impact investment strategies
  • Sustainable real estate development

What motivated you to join the GRESB Foundation Board?

I have been working with GRESB since the early days in 2009, when I was with PGGM and together with APG and USS we established GRESB. I remember how we sent out Excel questionnaires to our managers at the time! Much has changed since then. GRESB has evolved and grown into a hugely important assessment and benchmarking framework, it has expanded from real estate into infrastructure, and is now applied across a significant number of investments globally. I am glad to have been involved from the very start, first as non-executive board member of GRESB and now, in the new governance set-up, as a Foundation Board member.

I believe that as an industry we still have to improve significantly when it comes to ESG. And I truly believe GRESB can be a powerful instrument in achieving this much needed improvement because, as the saying goes, what gets measured, gets managed. Industry involvement and good governance are key to achieving this goal, which is why I personally advocated for the formation of the GRESB Foundation, which governs the GRESB Standards, and why I am fully committed to making the GRESB Foundation a success.

How does your organization view ESG and what is your organization’s approach to responsible investing?

PATRIZIA’s mission is to build communities and sustainable futures and this mission has been part of the company’s DNA since its inception in 1984. ESG is integrated into everything PATRIZIA does and there is a clear sustainability strategy at PATRIZIA with ambitious yet measurable goals, including:

Achieving net-zero carbon status across our corporate operations and real estate portfolio by 2040 or earlier, with a clear ambition to execute as fast as our stakeholder requirements permit

How does your organization use GRESB and its data?

PATRIZIA uses GRESB data to measure progress against our corporate and fund-level sustainability targets. The data and the progress are communicated internally with the real estate and infrastructure fund and asset management teams with the goal of driving further improvements, as well as shared externally with our clients who require this data for compliance and regulatory reporting purposes.

What is next for ESG and what role will organizations like GRESB play going forward?

Currently ESG is something that many investment managers pursue and talk about deliberately and publicly. GRESB ensures that all these efforts are assessed and measured in an objective way and ultimately benchmarked. 

In time, once ESG finally becomes fully integrated into all layers of investment decision-making and strategies and everyone pursues it on a daily basis as part of our business practices, it will become a redundant artificial concept. But to get there, we must first make sure that as an industry we start to deliver on decarbonizing the assets we manage and invest in. GRESB can play a key role in this.

Learn more about the GRESB Foundation and its mission

Go to GRESB Foundation