India-based asset manager Nucleus Office Parks increases its GRESB Standing Investments score by 15 points in one year

About Nucleus Office Parks

Nucleus Office Parks is the operating platform for fully owned Blackstone Offices in India, managing an industry-leading portfolio of over 20 million square feet of Grade A commercial assets spread across all key markets

Business type: Asset manager
Region: India
AuM: Approximately 20 million sqft
Use of GRESB: GRESB Real Estate Assessment

ESG in Focus:

As part of its short-term sustainability targets for FY 2023, Nucleus Office Parks aims to:

  • Reduce its carbon emissions by 7%
  • Achieve 50% renewable energy for all operating assets
  • Include a Green Clause in 100% of all new lease agreements

Building on GRESB reporting and results

India-focused asset manager Nucleus Office Parks began reporting to GRESB in 2021 to obtain an objective review of its ESG performance. As a corporate high rise-focused firm targeting the Indian and Southeast Asian markets, Nucleus Office Parks found that the scores and peer benchmarking provided by GRESB are particularly helpful in understanding the firm’s performance compared to peers operating in the same category and markets. 

Following an analysis of its 2021 GRESB results and equipped with a better understanding of its relative standing and opportunities, Nucleus Office Parks was able to engage with its employees, tenants, and other stakeholders to design a detailed ESG roadmap outlining the actions, KPIs, and responsibilities necessary to achieve its sustainability goals.

Examples of improvements and actions undertaken by Nucleus Office Parks as part of the roadmap include the appointment of dedicated staff for the management of ESG aspects. This new team was tasked with developing and implementing an ESG framework, defining short- and long-term targets, and tracking progress towards achieving them. The newly developed framework identified four areas of focus and 14 indicators for the firm to address: Ecosystem (carbon, water, waste, building material, and certification), Human Capital (employee engagement, diversity, equity and inclusion, training and development, health safety and wellbeing), Communities (tenant engagement, CSR, human rights, and supply chain), and Governance (data management and responsible investment).

Additionally, as part of the roadmap, Nucleus Office Parks published its first sustainability report, which discloses the company’s targets as well as its environmental footprint and social impact, along with the measures taken to mitigate risks and enhance stakeholder engagement. One of the company’s goals was to reduce its carbon footprint and achieve 50% renewable energy reliance for its portfolio. To achieve this target, the company invested in solar panels and other renewable energy sources and ensured that all of its building operations and maintenance services are LEED EBOM certified.

Thanks to these initiatives, Nucleus Office Parks achieved significant improvements in its ESG management and performance, which resulted in a 15+ point increase in both its GRESB Standing Investment score and its GRESB Development score in its second year of participation. 

“We view our significant improvement in GRESB scores as a testament to our commitment to ESG principles and the hard work of our team and stakeholders. However, we also recognize that this is just the beginning of our journey towards achieving sustainable outcomes for our portfolio and stakeholders. Moving forward, we will continue to prioritize ESG considerations in our decision-making and operations, and we have set ambitious targets to reduce our carbon emissions and enhance our sustainability performance,” said Jiji Thomas, Head of Operations at Nucleus Office Parks.

“To achieve these goals, we plan to deepen our engagement with our tenants, employees, and other stakeholders to promote awareness and understanding of ESG issues and foster a culture of sustainability. We also plan to leverage GRESB and other reporting frameworks to benchmark our performance, identify areas for improvement, and communicate our progress to stakeholders,” he continued

Keeping ahead of emerging regulations

Nucleus Office Parks believes that it is critical for a framework to be both industry specific and aligned with other reporting standards. The specificity of a framework helps entities understand the views of industry peers and regulators, while also supporting the prioritization of efforts to report accordingly.

As an asset manager operating in India, Nucleus Office Parks is cognizant of the evolving ESG regulations in the local and the international landscape. The Securities and Exchange Board of India recently introduced the Business Responsibility & Sustainability Report (BRSR), one of the most significant regulations that emerged in India in recent times. The BRSR is a contemporary and comprehensive reporting framework that leans on India’s National Voluntary Guidelines of 2011 while also considering elements from other international regulations such as SFDR and TCFD.

While at this time BRSR is only mandatory for the top 1,000 listed companies by market capitalization, the Government of India has also encouraged all other entities to disclose their ESG performance according to the new regulation. As such, Nucleus Office Park is currently in the process of developing its 2023 ESG report in alignment with the BRSR, in addition to the GRI guidelines. 

“We recognize that ESG regulations and standards are evolving rapidly, and we are committed to staying ahead of the curve in compliance and best practices. We are currently aligning our ESG reporting with the BRSR and other relevant guidelines, and we will continue to monitor emerging regulations and market trends to ensure that we are meeting the highest standards of ESG performance,” said Thomas.

“GRESB participation could be a helpful tool for companies looking to meet the disclosure requirements set forth by the BRSR. By participating in GRESB, companies can benchmark their ESG performance against peers, identify areas for improvement, and provide a more comprehensive and robust ESG report to stakeholders,” he concluded.

Moving forward, we will continue to prioritize ESG considerations in our decision-making and operations, and we have set ambitious targets to reduce our carbon emissions and enhance our sustainability performanceJiji Thomas
Head of Operations at Nucleus Office Parks

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