GRESB Newsletter | A twin-track approach to Assessment development in collaboration with the industry

A twin-track approach to Assessment development in collaboration with the industry

We’re pleased to be starting a new year at GRESB energized and ready to go. With the formation of the GRESB Foundation now well underway, new appointments to our Management Board and the expertise and dedication of our growing network of Members and Partners, we’re ready to work with industry to accelerate progress on the transition to sustainable real assets at the scale and speed that is now required. 

We are following a twin-track work approach: Delivering the 2021 Assessments while developing a long-term strategy to guide our work and lay out a clear improvement pathway to our Members and Partners. The strategy will be developed jointly by GRESB BV and GRESB Foundation to ensure we consistently understand and incorporate the needs of our Members and Partners into our decision-making processes and plans for the future. 

Delivering the 2021 Real Estate and Infrastructure Assessments

Following the restructuring of the Assessments last year, the industry is seeking stability for 2021. Mindful of this, 2021 Assessments changes will be incremental, and focused on ensuring that the Assessments are fit for purpose and continue to support the move to a greater emphasis on ESG performance and outcomes over the next few years. Our focus has been on standardising reporting, increasing alignment with external frameworks and regulations, improving reporting efficiencies and quality control, and strengthening our analytical capabilities to deliver more ESG insights from the existing dataset.

2021 Infrastructure Assessments

The 2021 Infrastructure Assessments have already been made available in pre-release. The (TCFD aligned) Resilience Module, which was previously optional, has been integrated in the Management Components of the Fund and Asset Assessments. New metrics have been added to the Asset Performance Component based on alignment with other frameworks and input from stakeholders. The full Reference Guide and Scoring Document will be released on March 1, 2021. 

2021 Real Estate Assessment

The 2021 Real Estate Assessment Pre-release will be made available on March 1, together with the Reference Guide and Scoring Document, following feedback from Assessment participants and consultation with the Real Estate Advisory Board and regional Benchmark Committees.

As with previous years, the Assessment Portal will open on April 1, marking the start of the 2021 reporting period. See the 2021 Assessment timeline.

Developing our long-term strategy for 2022 and beyond

With the world waking up to the need to rapidly transition to a more sustainable and resilient future, the interest in ESG data and benchmarks is intensifying. As stewards of the global ESG benchmarks for the real asset industry, our role is to ensure our members have access to reliable and comparable ESG data and benchmarks to understand the sustainability performance of their assets and portfolios; communicate, engage and coordinate effectively; and ultimately make decisions that lead to positive social and environmental outcomes.

We are developing a long-term strategy in consultation with the industry to guide our collective effort. The initial steps for this work are set out below. These will weave into the activities of the GRESB Foundation, which is due to become fully operational by April 2021. The Foundation will govern the GRESB Standards upon which the GRESB Assessments are based, ensuring they remain independent and reflective of the industry and members they represent.

  • Quarter 1, 2021
    • Establish Foundation 
    • Call for Foundation Board nominations
    • Appoint Foundation Board positions
    • Call for governance group nominations
  • Quarter 2, 2021
    • Appoint governance group positions
    • Hold first meetings of governance groups
    • Develop the process for annual Standard review and approval
  • Quarter 3, 2021
    • Develop Strategic Plan for Standards
    • Draft key changes for 2022 Standards and put out for consultation
  • Quarter 4, 2021
    • Consultation period ends
    • Approve 2022 Standards
    • Publish 2022 Standards

It’s a privilege to work with so many sustainability champions and experts in our industry and we look forward to a period of deep engagement, consultation and co-creation with you.

Best regards
The GRESB team

Online training to improve your reporting to the GRESB Assessments

In a few weeks, we will reopen our free online training program to support participants reporting to the 2021 Assessments. The training is primarily designed for new participants looking to get familiar with the reporting process and scope of the Assessments, but it will also provide a useful refresher for existing participants and GRESB Partners.  

As part of the training, we will run a series of live training Q&A sessions where we will respond to any questions you have about participating in the 2021 Assessments.  Look out for more details soon.

Establishment of Supervisory Board and new appointments to the Management Board

GRESB BV has moved to a two tier board governance structure with a Supervisory Board and Management Board. The Supervisory board will guide the Management Board including ensuring we fulfil our mission as a benefit corporation (B-corp). 

We are pleased to announce that Roxana Isaiu is joining our CEO Sander van Tongeren on the Management Board as Chief Sustainability Officer, alongside Rick Walters as Chief of Standards and Innovation, and Bas Blokpoel as Chief Technology Officer. The Management Board oversees day-to-day operations including responsibility for delivering good quality and timely data, benchmarks and services to our members, as well as coordinating the relationship with the GRESB Foundation and reflecting the industry perspective in the GRESB activities. 

We will be growing the GRESB team considerably in 2021 and opening up new positions for existing GRESB staff. This process is underway, and we are pleased to announce that Charles van Thiel has been promoted to Director, Real Estate and Steven Pringle will transition to a new role as Director, Member Relations.  

New Members, welcome to GRESB

Longevity – Global Partner:

“GRESB has played a tremendous role in raising awareness and mobilising climate action in the real estate industry for the last 10 years. Longevity operates in 38 countries with offices in the US, Germany, France, Netherlands and the UK and we are delighted to join the organisation as a Global Partner to better support our clients with their GRESB reporting requirements and the achievement of their climate goals. Carbon emissions have no frontiers and neither do we.” Etienne Cadestin, Founder and Global CEO.

Nuveen Services LLC – Real Estate and Infrastructure Investor Member

GLIO and GRESB team up to launch the world’s first specialist ESG-filtered listed infrastructure index

We are excited to announce that we have teamed up with Global Listed Infrastructure Organisation (GLIO), the representative body for the listed infrastructure asset class, and Global Property Research (GPR) to launch the GLIO/GRESB ESG Index.  

The index arrives at a key juncture, when investors are increasingly aware of the importance of coherent climate and ESG goals. It will expand upon the parent GLIO Index, use GRESB’s annual infrastructure Public Disclosure scores to weight constituents and be managed by global real assets index specialist GPR, registered under EU Benchmark Regulations (BMR)

2021 Public Disclosure Scores

GRESB is starting the annual evaluation of the transparency of sustainability disclosures by infrastructure companies. This will produce the 2021 Public Disclosure scores which are used to determine investible weights in the index. Companies will be able to review and adjust the information collected for the evaluation between April 1 and July 1 2021, by logging into the GRESB Portal. Contact us to learn more about GRESB Public Disclosure and how participating in the full Infrastructure Asset Assessment can support your ESG objectives.

Events we are participating in

GRESB Insights

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

Thus far, we have chosen monthly topics unilaterally, but going forward, we will make the editorial calendar a collaborative effort with our stakeholders. We have created a quick form to hear your views into the most important topics you are following right now. Please submit your ideas here.

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