A step-by-step guide to successfully completing your GRESB Assessment
Table of contents:
- Review our core assessment documents
- Familiarize yourself with our Assessment services
- Engage your organization’s sustainability lead
- Engage the GRESB Member Relations representative for your account
- Log in to the GRESB Portal
- Review the Assessment indicators and refer to the guidance in the Portal
- Aim to complete your Assessment response by June 1
- Review your preliminary GRESB Results
- Review your final Assessment results
- Communicate your results to investors and stakeholders
1. Review our core assessment documents
Over the years, GRESB has developed a wealth of resources meant to support all entities in their reporting efforts to our Assessments, most of which are updated on a yearly basis. In the spirit of transparency and to empower you to get a head start on the reporting process, all of these resources are readily available on our website.
Our core assessment documents provide introductory information on each of our Assessments, including guidance on each of our indicators in relation to their content, validation, and scoring methodology. Our recently released 2023 Standards and Reference Guides and Scoring Documents can be found in this section.
Additionally, our Resources Library provides a more in-depth look into the technical guidance documents available on our website, including our 2023 Real Estate Asset Spreadsheet and the 2023 Infrastructure Materiality and Scoring Tool.
At GRESB we continually strive to make our assessments as accessible as possible. For this reason, we offer hours of training videos that are available for free on our Online Training Platform. Our team is currently working on updating the content of the training videos to reflect the latest changes made to the Assessments and provide you with the latest information and tips — we expect the updated platform to be back online by the end of March 2023.
2. Familiarize yourself with our Assessment services
We recommend starting your GRESB journey by evaluating which of our services can satisfy the needs of your entity and are relevant to your unique circumstances.
We broadly serve three types of members across both real estate and infrastructure business lines: investors (institutional investors, asset owners), managers (companies, fund managers, asset operators), and partners (consultants, solution Providers, industry bodies).
Alongside the GRESB Real Estate and Infrastructure Assessments, we also offer pre- and post-Assessment services to help participants maximize the value from their ESG efforts:
- The Response Check is a high-level check of your Assessment prior to final submission. It helps you reduce errors that may adversely impact your Assessment results and ensure that your submission is as complete as possible. Please note that the deadline to request a response check is June 1, with calls scheduled between May 1 and June 24 subject to availability.
- The Review Period is a post-assessment service designed to further strengthen the reliability of our Assessments and benchmark results. It is intended to be used in cases where you believe that there has been incorrect or incomplete data input, or an error in a validation decision. The Review Period is available between September 1 and September 15.
- The Results Review is a post-assessment service carried out by the GRESB team. It features an examination of your Assessment results as presented in the Benchmark Report, followed by an hour-long discussion call. After the discussion call, you will receive a Results Review report. The Results Review is available between October 3 and April 1.
The GRESB Assessments follow a yearly reporting cycle with our portal opening on April 1 and closing on July 1, 23:59 PDT. The key dates for the 2023 reporting cycle can be found in the 2023 GRESB Assessment timeline.
GRESB also offers a suite of additional products and solutions, including:
To learn more about how our investor members and participants leverage our data, services, and products to achieve their sustainability goals, please see our case studies.
3. Engage your organization’s sustainability lead
Bring your Sustainability Manager or the individual responsible for sustainability at your organization into the Assessment reporting process from the very beginning. In addition to providing their expertise, they can help ensure all stakeholders are involved so you can successfully respond to each indicator in the Assessment.
If your organization does not have a dedicated staff member responsible for sustainability, you may use the Assessment as a framework for mapping ESG responsibilities across various departments.
Additionally, GRESB collaborates with leading ESG consultants and solution providers to support our member base in their reporting efforts. GRESB Partners can help you collect, report, and manage your ESG data as well as complete the GRESB Assessments and improve your overall sustainability performance.
4. Engage the GRESB Member Relations representative for your account
Your GRESB Member Relations representative is available to help you get set up for success from the get-go. If you have any questions regarding the onboarding process, our fees, or a non-technical query, please reach out to the GRESB contact person for your account. If you have a technical query or you do not yet have a GRESB representative for your account, please reach out to our member success team at [email protected] or through our contact form.
Tackling those queries in advance will ensure a smooth reporting process and allow you to get clarification on any question you may have. You can expect to receive a thorough response from our dedicated team of experts within two working days.
5. Log in to the GRESB Portal
On April 1, you can log into the Portal to start your Assessment. Current users can log in using their existing account details. If you have not previously reported to GRESB, please create an account.
Once logged in, you will be asked to choose which Assessment and Components you are reporting. You’ll also be asked to provide the name of the reporting entity and your intent to submit. This information will be visible to GRESB Investor Members, who can track reporting progress.
6. Review the Assessment indicators and refer to the guidance in the Portal
As you run through the indicators and review the guidance for each, it makes sense to place the indicators into the following categories:
- Indicators for which you can provide identical answers for several entities
- Indicators that you can answer immediately
- Indicators that are more time-consuming to answer
- Indicators that require involvement from other employees from your organization or external consultants
This guidance is also provided in the Assessment Reference Guide, available in Resources and under the first point above. Please note that GRESB has developed the Template Tool to help reduce the reporting burden. The Template Tool allows you to apply the same answers across multiple Assessments, without having to do so individually (i.e. per reporting entity). It is available for both the Real Estate and Infrastructure Assessments.
7. Aim to complete your Assessment response by June 1
Your Assessment response should include all document uploads and required hyperlinks. Completing your response before June 1 will give you plenty of time to check that all required information has been included, arrange for internal approvals, and implement any changes following a Response Check (if requested before June 1) prior to the submission of your assessment.
Once you have obtained internal approval to submit your Assessment, you will need to formally submit your response in the Portal.
As a reminder, the deadline for submission is July 1 at 23:59 PDT.
First-year participants can opt out of allowing GRESB Investors Members, or Fund Managers in the case of the Infrastructure Asset Assessment, to request access to their data and GRESB results. This is referred to as a Grace Period.
8. Review your preliminary GRESB Results
In light of the 2023 GRESB Assessments timeline, your preliminary individual GRESB Results will be available in the Portal on September 1. During the Review Period, you will be able to submit a review request to GRESB through our portal and by using a dedicated form.
The final results will be released to both participants and Investor Members on October 1. Please note that Preliminary Results are subject to change and only results released on October 1 are considered final.
9. Review your final Assessment results
Following the GRESB Assessments timeline, the final GRESB results will be available in the Portal on October 1 in the form of a GRESB Benchmark Report.
The Benchmark Report includes a comprehensive analysis of your sustainability performance, providing the basis for competitive analysis and communication. It begins with the Scorecard and is followed by indicator-by-indicator information of your ESG performance and how this compares against your peers. The report is designed to help you identify areas of risk and opportunity, make informed decisions, and deepen your engagement with investors.
All participants who would like to receive an in-depth review of their GRESB results can request a Results Review, which will allow them to explore areas of opportunity for further improvement.
10. Communicate your results to investors and stakeholders
Your GRESB results provide you with a practical way to understand your ESG performance and communicate that performance to investors.
The key to analyzing GRESB data is in peer-group comparisons that take into account country, regional, sectoral and investment type variations. This richer analysis will enable you to understand your results in the context of your investment strategies and communicate this to investors.
Preliminary findings from our forthcoming GRESB Investor Member Survey show that the majority of investors use GRESB results and benchmarks as an engagement tool with their managers, with the data being particularly helpful in understanding where their investments stand and monitoring how managers are managing ESG risks, opportunities, and impact. In addition, about one-third of investor members now require mandatory participation in the GRESB Assessments, making results communication an essential part of the investment decision-making process.
We hope that this step-by-step guide will help you prepare for this year’s GRESB Assessments. For any questions, please contact us.
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