Investors unite to push for deeper ESG reporting across Asia-Pacific

Collaborative engagement will reach 50 companies in 12 regional markets

SYDNEY, April 6, 2022 – A group of 16 investors representing US $19 trillion have launched a round of coordinated engagements to strengthen dialogue on ESG performance and GRESB participation with real estate companies across 12 key markets in the APAC region. The work is undertaken in close collaboration with GRESB, a global ESG benchmark for real estate portfolios.

This year’s initiative – focused on markets such as Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan – is supported by established investors including B&I Capital, Bouwinvest, CenterSquare, Heitman, JP Morgan Asset Management, and Schroders.

Real estate companies in Asia-Pacific tend to score highly in the GRESB Benchmark, often leading the world in aggregate, but tend to submit data later in their ESG journey than companies in other regions, which has led to underrepresentation in total numbers.

In addition to providing ESG data directly to investors, real estate companies that participate in GRESB often indirectly benefit through ESG indices such as the iEdge-UOB APAC Green Reit Index launched in October 2021, which uses GRESB Assessment performance data.

This year, 50 companies will be engaged and invited to participate in the GRESB Real Estate Assessment. This is an expansion from last year, in which 13 investors collaborated with GRESB to reach out to more than 30 companies in nine Asian markets.

Tomas Hlavaty, Sustainability & Data Analyst – B&I Capital
“We are convinced any company developing and reporting its ESG positively contributes to the evolution of market best practice, transparency, data collection, and impact which is beneficial to all stakeholders and common goals.”

Tim Kesseler, Portfolio Analyst, Listed – Bouwinvest
“We develop full ESG models in addition to our financial models for our integrated listed and non-listed investments. At Bouwinvest we view companies with strong ESG standards favorably. It is very helpful where companies participate in GRESB as this means that the information will go automatically into our models.”

Joachim Kehr, Portfolio & Regional Manager, Asia-Pacific – CenterSquare
“At CenterSquare our investment experience over the past decades has taught us that ESG integration is a key driver of performance and participation in GRESB allows us and company participants to measure said integration in a transparent and comparable way. Increased engagement particularly through GRESB is a cornerstone of continually improving performance and impacting positive change.”

John White, Senior Managing Director, Asia-Pacific – Heitman
“We see multiple risks and opportunities from ESG. Where companies are effectively managing their stakeholders this is a signal of better quality management.”

JP Morgan Asset Management
“Real estate companies that do not keep pace with strong ESG credentials are likely to face accelerated obsolescence in a world where investors increasingly avoid properties that are left behind from an environmental perspective. We look forward to exercising our stewardship responsibilities in partnership with GRESB to support APAC real estate companies’ outperformance both financially and environmentally.”

Justin Blaess, Principal & Portfolio Manager – Quay Global Investors
“Companies that take a proactive approach to ESG issues and disclosure are more likely to be tomorrow’s winners.”

Tom Walker, Co-Head of Global Listed Real Assets – Schroders
“While investors always like to see listed developers and REITs with high GRESB scores, we want to see broad industry participation; it is important that the real estate sector unifies behind an agreed set of principles. GRESB participation allows us to see how a fund is changing and improving over time. To us, it is key that companies start the process and understand the crucial role they can play.”

Investors supporting the engagement include:

  • Aegon Asset Management
  • AEW
  • B&I Capital
  • BMO Global Asset Management
  • Bouwinvest
  • CenterSquare
  • Cohen & Steers
  • Heitman
  • JP Morgan Asset Management
  • Legal & General Investment Management
  • MFS Investment Management
  • Quay Global Investors
  • Resolution Capital
  • Schroders

GRESB is a mission-driven and industry-led organization providing standardized and validated Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data to financial markets. Established in 2009, GRESB has become the leading ESG benchmark for real estate and infrastructure investments across the world, used by 150 institutional and financial investors to inform decision-making. GRESB standards are governed by the independent, not-for-profit GRESB Foundation, while ESG assessments are managed by GRESB BV, a benefit corporation. For more information, visit