The GRESB ESG benchmarks expand in 2021 to cover $6.4 trillion of assets under management despite global challenges from Covid-19

AMSTERDAM, August 30, 2021 – Participation in this year’s GRESB assessments grew by 26% to 2,227 real estate and infrastructure entities, surpassing expectations amidst the global pandemic.

“We are pleased to see such a high level of participation in this year’s GRESB benchmark coverage, particularly considering the business disruptions we have all experienced over the past year and a half,” said Sebastien Roussotte, CEO of GRESB BV. 

“Increased engagement with a standardized benchmark demonstrates a strong industry commitment to ESG transparency and collaborative action. As the risks of climate change become more pronounced, participants are making important strides in accelerating the transition to a more sustainable asset industry.” 

The 2021 GRESB benchmarks cover the ESG performance of real estate and infrastructure funds, companies and assets, providing investors with validated data and a window into complex sustainability issues. GRESB data is now used by 140 institutional investors – with more than $47 trillion in assets under management – to better understand and benchmark the performance of their portfolios. This transparent data helps bridge the knowledge gap between actual and predictive performance in order to manage business risks and opportunities while accelerating the growth of responsible investment. 

2021 Real Estate coverage

This year, 1,520 property companies, REITs, funds and developers participated in the GRESB Real Estate Assessment (up from 1,229 in 2020), generating a benchmark that covers $5.7 trillion of AuM (up from $4.8 trillion). The benchmark covers nearly 117,000 assets (up from 96,000 last year), all of which are reported at the asset level. The data combines high-level overall scores with in-depth information across hundreds of ESG data points, including performance indicators such as GHG emissions, waste and energy and water consumption.

The dataset now covers 1,187 non-listed funds and 326 listed property companies and REITs (up from 958 and 271, respectively) as well as seven governmental entities. When combined with the GRESB Public Disclosure Dataset, this includes full coverage of all major listed real estate indices.

While global real estate participation increased by 24% this year, there were notable regional increases:

  • Italian market coverage grew the most, both in terms of absolute and relative increases, with more than 50 new entities participating (a 329% increase from last year)
  • German market coverage increased by 68%, with more than 30 new entities participating
  • The United States market has now reached 300 participating entities
  • The Japanese and Australian markets have both reached over 100 participating entities

2021 Infrastructure coverage

The Infrastructure Fund Assessment grew by 26% to cover 149 funds (up from 118 last year), and the Infrastructure Asset Assessment grew by 31% to include 558 assets (up from 426). The Infrastructure Benchmark now covers $343 billion of AuM at the fund level and $738 billion of AuM at the asset level. 

Assets that now participate in the Assessment are located in 69 countries, up from 59 last year. The average percentage of individual assets within funds reporting to GRESB continues to grow, which is now up to 83% – 6% higher than last year. This increase shows that infrastructure managers are moving closer to asset-level reporting. 

For the Asset Assessment, the Transport and Renewable Power sectors saw significant growth of 44% and 65%, respectively. The benchmark now reflects 148 transport assets and 134 renewable power assets.

Paving the way for industry transformation

Transitioning to a sustainable world is a fundamental challenge that we must face together. It can only be met with reliable ESG information, standardized global benchmarks and collective action from all stakeholders. Thank you, to all our participants, investor members and partners for your continued commitment to advancing ESG integration.


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 140 institutional and financial investors to inform decision-making.