GRESB Newsletter | Despite Covid, the GRESB ESG benchmark has grown again this year

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The 2020 GRESB reporting period is over, and even during Covid, we are excited to announce that the number of GRESB Participants increased again this year. This is testament to all of the hard-working teams who collected the data, worked through the challenges, and coordinated the reporting. The 2020 Benchmark now covers more than US $5.3 trillion AuM (2019: US $4.5 trillion).

Here’s a breakdown of the coverage:

2020 Real Estate Coverage: 1,229 (2019: 1,005) real estate portfolios participated in the Real Estate Assessment, a 22% increase compared to 2019. The Real Estate Benchmark now covers US $4.8 trillion AuM (2019: 4.1 trillion) with data reported for more than 96,000 individual assets across 64 countries. 

2020 Infrastructure Coverage: The Infrastructure Fund Assessment increased by 10% to cover 118 funds (2019: 107) and the Infrastructure Asset Assessment grew by 8% to include 426 assets (2019: 393). The Infrastructure Benchmark now represents US $576 billion AuM (2019: 471 billion), covering 32 of the 34 industry sectors across 40 countries.

2020 Resilience Module Coverage: 534 entities (comprising 408 real estate entities, 98 infrastructure assets, and 28 infrastructure funds) participated in the Resilience Module, a 69% increase from the previous year. 

For more coverage information, please see our press release.

Validation, Review Period and Results Launch

The validation process conducted by GBCI is now underway. We estimate more than 38,000 (2019: 31,000) human validation decisions will be taken this year to ensure the quality of the reported data in preparation for scoring and benchmarking. This manual validation complements the automated checks on information completeness, accuracy and reporting rules integrated in the Portal. In parallel, the real estate team is conducting a reporting boundaries review to ensure portfolios have full coverage of their underlying assets.

New this year, we have introduced a Review Period to further strengthen the reliability of the benchmark results. Participants can make official requests for validation and scoring reviews between October 1 – when their preliminary benchmark reports will be available – and October 15. Assessments and scores can then be updated until October 22.

The launch of final 2020 Assessment results and benchmarks, to both Participants and Investor Members, will take place on November 1. The public results events will follow a week later, starting November 9, 2020. These will be online and take place at different time zones to cover the main regions. Look out for more details on the program coming soon.

Once again, congratulations to all 2020 Participants

We appreciate the time and effort it takes to collect the data and report to the Assessments. It’s your commitment to transparency and industry collaboration that is driving us forward towards a more sustainable future, both individually and collectively. Thank you for your efforts.

Kind regards

New features and improvements to the GRESB Portal

Bulk add entities into the Portfolio Analysis Tool to speed up your analysis
  • The new “import entities” feature allows you to add a large number of entities at one time to the Portfolio Analysis Tool. Once added, you can quickly assign custom weights for your analysis. This feature will be particularly useful for Investor Members with a subscription to listed data.
Quickly request ESG data access for your investments
  • Investor Members can now request data access in batches, as well as entity-by-entity.
Cleaner report pages for Investor Members
  • We have added new filters to the report pages to help you select and focus on the information that is most useful. You can also now search for entities by GRESB Fund ID.

We invite you to join an Industry Working Group to discuss reporting for Infrastructure Assets in Development

The Industry Working Group brings together GRESB Members and subject-matter experts to help shape the reporting approach for Infrastructure Assets in development (undergoing design and construction). The group looks at specific ESG issues, materiality and scoring implications and how a framework to cover Infrastructure Assets in Development best fits alongside the existing Asset Assessment, with a view to implement this in 2021.

The Industry Working Group met several times over 2019 and early 2020 and a further 2-3 video calls will be held over the next 6 months, with the first taking place in September 2020. Please get in touch if you are interested in participating, or if you have any questions. Current working group members do not need to reapply.

Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM) Decarbonization and Energy Reduction Pathways

A three month long public consultation has confirmed the approach taken for the CRREM decarbonisation pathways and the final pathways for the global real estate sector are now available. Pathways will be regularly updated to ensure that the latest climate and market data are leveraged as an underlying basis.

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) recently released its Net Zero Investment Framework for consultation, in which it highlights the CRREM methodology and recommends its use to determine the alignment of real estate assets with a 1.5°C pathway.

As a first stage, GRESB has automated the process of filling in the CRREM Tool with the asset-level performance data uploaded to the GRESB Asset Portal. This means that GRESB Real Estate Participants can already begin to leverage their asset-level reporting to identify and manage transition risks for individual assets against the CRREM pathways for the EU28. Later stages will have a broader scope, including the new global pathways and a greater integration of asset- and portfolio-level assessment capabilities into the GRESB Portal.

Upcoming events & webinars we’re participating in

IBEW (International Built Environment Week) 2020 | September 1-30
– The International Built Environment Week (IBEW) will go digital this year. To be held from 1 – 30 September, IBEW 2020 will offer a series of webinars, virtual exhibitions and networking sessions. These offerings are designed to support and lead the built environment sector towards a smooth and transformative recovery. 

Yardi Presents: CRECCHKI – Gurus’ Breakfast Chitchat | September 2
– There is increasing interest in ESG considerations amongst investors, including Asian investors, in recent years. During the pandemic, institutional investors have continued, and in many cases increased, their focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

Investor Relations, Marketing & Communications Forum Virtual Experience 2020 | September 2-3
– The Forum offers a unique opportunity to learn from the heavy hitters in the industry and help you position your career. Through exclusive panel discussions, interactive sessions, keynote interviews and hours of networking opportunities, attendees will debate strategies and discover new ways to differentiate their firms. Dan Winters, Head of Americas will be speaking. 

Sustainable Investment Forum Europe 2020 | September 8, 11, 15, 22
– The Sustainable Investment Forum Europe 2020 is going virtual! Don’t miss this opportunity to hear how investors are incorporating sustainability and ESG into their investment strategies. 

The Future of ESG Data virtual conference | September 9-10
– The Future of ESG Data virtual conference is an exciting new initiative, combining a mixture of live-streamed and pre-recorded content and unrivalled networking via a dedicated virtual event platform. Rick Walters, Director Infrastructure will be speaking.

INVESTMENTexpo | September 10-11
– INVESTMENTexpo is the forum and the initiative for real estate investors and asset managers when it comes to direct interaction, discussion, dialogue and obtaining information. Josien Piek, Head of EMEA, will be speaking.

PRI APAC Digital Symposium | September 14-17
– Join experts from the PRI and across the responsible investment industry this September for a series of insightful and informative conversations for the Asia-Pacific region.

RI Digital: Canada 2020 conference | September 15-16
– Hear how Canada’s large fiduciary investors are responding to the energy transition and the new normal for monetary policy. Join the discussion on Canadian leadership opportunities in the global sustainable finance agenda across asset classes, markets and major ESG themes.

The 3rd Annual Nordea | GRESB Green Building Forum | September 25
– Asset-level intelligence is the future of sustainable finance in the real estate sector. We invite you to work with us to harness the dynamism of the market to build a more sustainable and resilient future.

BNEW Barcelona New Economy Week | October 6-9
– Barcelona New Economy Week – BNEW is a physical and digital B2B event that gathers unique events of the sectors of Logistics, Real Estate, Digital Industry, Ecommerce and Economic Zones. Josien Piek, Head of EMEA will be speaking

Private Debt Investor – Germany Forum Virtual Experience 2020 | October 7-8 
– The PDI Germany Forum provides a unique virtual experience for investors and fund managers alike from the DACH region and further afield. Take your opportunity to network, face the lessons we have learnt so far in 2020, and discuss what the future holds for the private debt market.

Infrastructure Investment Global Summit Berlin 2020 | October 12-15
– With multiple forums, private meeting spaces, public networking, seminars and streams all taking place under one roof, the Summit is your chance to gain valuable connections with the entire global infrastructure industry.

Now on GRESB Insights

Last month, GRESB Insights featured articles and case studies on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion. Check out the articles submitted by the following GRESB Partners:

What GRESB is reading

+ Many infrastructure investors are already considering the SDGs in their investment approaches. PRIBridging the gap: how infrastructure investors can contribute to SDG outcomes

+ The American Real Estate Society (ARES) has awarded CRREM’s first paper as the best of the European market. The paper was published in the Journal of Sustainable Real Estate

+ IPE Real AssetsInfra managers oblivious to impending EU ESG disclosure rules. The rules are being introduced in March 2021.