GRESB Newsletter | 2020: With crisis comes opportunity

2020: With crisis comes opportunity

Amid all the disruption and uncertainty of the year, we witnessed a great upswing in ESG transparency and collaboration from across the real asset industry. ESG issues are nothing new of course, but the crisis has intensified them and underlined how critical it is to build resilience for systemic problems like the climate crisis, social inequality, and biodiversity loss.

2020 also saw regulators taking up the ESG baton like never before, and investors demanding ever more granular, standardised and validated data to enhance their risk management and investment processes.

These forces have the power to align the markets with the ecological, social and economic systems on which they depend, and ultimately shape a more sustainable and resilient world. This is the opportunity we are planning for and we are committed to doing our part to support the industry through these historic times.

Update on governance and engagement

Following last month’s announcement about the changes to GRESB’s governance, we are in the final stages of setting up the GRESB Foundation as a legal entity. We recognize the importance of working closely with all our stakeholders over the next few months to ensure we establish the right structures and engagement processes under the Foundation. This design stage is crucial and the intention is for the GRESB Foundation to become fully operational by April 2021, with the right arrangements in place in time to oversee the development of the 2022 GRESB Standards.

The existing Advisory Bodies and Benchmark Committees will remain in place in the interim period to oversee the release of the 2021 Assessments.

2021 Assessments timeline

We have published the 2021 Assessments timeline on The key milestones include:

  • December 2020: 2021 Infrastructure Assessments Pre-release
  • March: 2021 Real Estate Assessment Pre-release
  • April 1: GRESB Portal opens
  • July 1: Portal closes
  • September 1: Preliminary release of 2021 Real Estate and Infrastructure Results
  • September: Results Review Period
  • October 1: Release 2021 Real Estate and Infrastructure Results
  • October: Public results events

As this year draws to a close we would like to offer you our best wishes for the holiday season and thank you for all your collaboration, insight and support for our work in 2020.

Kind regards,

The 2021 GRESB Infrastructure Assessments are available in Pre-release

The 2021 Assessment development process is informed by in-house data analysis, market research, detailed gap analysis/alignment work, feedback from Assessment users and input from our governance groups. This approach ensures that our Assessments and benchmarks are shaped and driven by the stakeholders we serve and helps to move the entire industry closer to a shared vision of sustainable real assets.

The 2021 Assessment changes will provide further alignment with external frameworks, enable us to enhance our analytical tools and support our efforts to improve the quality of the ESG data available to the industry.

Invitation to express interest in collaborating on EU regulatory reporting and assessment

The upcoming EU regulations are a significant development for the real assets sector. The most important regulations are the EU Taxonomy (EU-T), the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD). These regulations will require a step change from the industry in terms of transparency as it pertains to environmental, social and governance criteria and the need for more aligned, comprehensive and quality ESG reporting. GRESB is committed to helping its members address these regulations.

GRESB recognises that these new regulations represent a challenge to the industry and that GRESB Members and Partners have considerable expertise in addressing such challenges. We therefore invite Members and Partners to express their interest in collaborating on EU regulatory reporting and assessment. This is intended to be on a voluntary basis, with recognition provided for input.

PERE releases 2020 Sustainable Investing Report

This year’s Sustainable Investing Report from PERE looks at how the sector is measuring up to ESG and dealing with climate change. We were pleased to provide GRESB 2020 results highlights for the report and commentary for a piece on “Quantifying sustainability” where we were joined by experts from Kempen and Altera Vastgoed. The article ends with a table illustrating the alignment of GRESB participants with the 32 indicators of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation.

Nareit Announces Winners of 2020 Leader in the Light Awards

The 15th annual Nareit Leader in the Light Awards recognize REIT achievement in sustainability in 2020, and this year, Nareit has included eight property sector awards, one innovation award, and one individual leadership award. The 2020 Leader in the Light Awards are based, in part, on the results of the GRESB Real Estate Assessment, as well as judged responses to supplemental questions.

The BREEAM Awards go online for 2021

The BREEAM Awards is an annual celebration that proudly recognises the people, projects and organisations that are leading the way with significant achievements in sustainable building design, development and management.

The GRESB / BREEAM Awards nominations have been communicated to the shortlisted entities. Starting the week commencing 23rd March 2021 and spanning over three days, For an hour each day, attendees will hear from experts, keynote speakers and celebrate as this year’s winners are announced.

Upcoming Events and Webinars

BRE China Awards | January 13, Beijing

BRE China welcomes you to join the 2021 Awards Ceremony & BREEAM 30th Anniversary at The Peninsula Beijing (The first newly renovated hotel with BREEAM certification in China) on January 13th, 2021.

EDGE Discovery Workshop by IFC | January 21, Online

  • IFC invites you to a free workshop on Thursday, January 21st to learn practical steps for designing zero carbon buildings using EDGE: a fast, easy, and more affordable way to build and brand green.

2020 Results: Event recordings, slides, and public results now available

After more than 15 webinars covering 6 languages, the 2020 GRESB Results Events have come to an end. In case you missed them, you can find the slides and event recordings here.

Once again, congratulations to all 2020 participants. The Public Results are now available on the GRESB website.

GRESB Insights

GRESB Insights is open to contributions from GRESB Investor Members, Participant Members, Partners and Industry Partners. Find out more.

In the month January, we’ll be accepting articles covering “Outlook and key themes for 2021”. If you would like to contribute an article or case study for this month, please submit it to [email protected] by 15 January.

New Members: Welcome to GRESB

GRESB is hiring

We will be growing the GRESB team considerably in 2021 and placing information about job opportunities on the website. We are currently looking for a QA Engineer (Senior), a Software Engineer – Ruby, and a Research/Sales Support Analyst. We also have internship roles available in the GRESB Infrastructure and Marketing, Events & Communications teams.

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