Manager Case Study: QuadReal Property Group

Global investment group QuadReal zeroes in on the S in ESG with GRESB

About QuadReal Property Group

QuadReal Property Group is a global real estate investment, operating and development company focused on office, industrial, logistics, residential, retail and alternative assets. Additionally, QuadReal invests in equity and debt in both public and private markets and through operating companies.

Business type: Direct investor, real estate manager

Reporting region: Canada

AuM: CAD 67.1 billion

Use of GRESB: GRESB Real Estate Assessment

Focus on ESG:

QuadReal’s mission is to create living and working environments that enhance the lives of the people and communities it serves, now and for generations to come. To accomplish this, QuadReal has committed to:

  • Integrating ESG into the company’s core activities, including their corporate, global real estate and debt management, due diligence and investing activities
  • Being a Responsible Company by taking actions to provide healthy buildings for our tenants, residents and guests to live, work and play
  • Science-based Net Zero targets including a 50% carbon reduction in its Canadian portfolio by 2030 and a completely Net Zero carbon global portfolio by 2050

Monitoring performance across markets

QuadReal uses GRESB data and benchmarks to drive continuous improvement across the spectrum of ESG issues and set long-term targets with confidence. The GRESB benchmarks help QuadReal understand its relative performance across all aspects with the goal of being at least in the top quartile for each aspect.

GRESB is core to QuadReal’s annual feedback cycle on ESG. Every year, the internal ESG team at QuadReal summarizes the main trends and opportunities identified through GRESB data and presents them to the company’s executives and clients. This enables feedback and clarity on where resources need to be allocated to maintain QuadReal’s strong performance and deliver value to their stakeholders, particularly investors, employees, tenants and residents.

GRESB scores and benchmark reports also serve as an evaluation tool for QuadReal to assess the performance of their international partners including that of its operating companies. Outside of Canada, QuadReal works with partners who invest and manage real estate on their behalf. This allows QuadReal to consistently assess how their partners are advancing on ESG topics in their respective markets and how they might be able to leverage each other’s tools and programs.

“Through collaboration, we are focused on improving the ESG data and benchmarking landscape, ensuring that thoughtful approaches are in place not only for QuadReal to maintain the standards expected of institutional ownership but for the benefit of the broader market and our industry peers. The GRESB performance data from our portfolios is essential information to understand relative performance, identify gaps, and focus on strategic opportunities,” says Jamie Gray-Donald, Senior Vice President, Sustainability & EHS, at QuadReal.

Focusing on the S in ESG

QuadReal has been participating in GRESB since 2018 and, over the years, the team has witnessed the evolution of the GRESB benchmark and assessments. The increasing depth of required data and evidence plays an important role in helping sustainability leadership ensure that improvements continue to be made as part of the company’s processes and at each property. 

“Over time, we have become even more convinced that timely, consistent, verified data within an agreed upon format is essential. GRESB has ensured the real estate sector is significantly ahead of other sectors when it comes to commonly agreed upon language, indicators, and material issues. A broadening of GRESB to include much more on stakeholders and the social impact has also been a positive change. The deepening of evidence required by GRESB and greater specificity in topics like Health and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), has been useful in informing our policies and practices at QuadReal,” says Nisha Agrawal, Director, Sustainability at QuadReal.

As part of QuadReal’s commitment to its stakeholders and to being a responsible company, QuadReal has increased its focus on the social aspects of ESG. QuadReal prides itself on being an involved member of the communities in which its people live, work, and invest. It is through its Community Program involving charitable giving, volunteering, and local engagement that QuadReal strives to advance the quality of life in these communities. As part of this program, QuadReal aims to find new ways to participate in the community and give forward, including through non-profit partnerships. 

Another insight garnered through GRESB is how much more tenant data is being captured by peer companies in sectors where historically this has not been easy, in particular the industrial asset class. This challenged the QuadReal team and led to new programs aimed at gathering more data and enabling the company to deliver more utility savings for industrial tenants. 

“The change we are seeing in data collection across our portfolio is a prime example of how real estate companies can be leaders in the transition to a net-zero economy and a more sustainable world. In order to be successful, real estate professionals need to remain committed and open to innovation, collaboration, and guidance by organizations such as GRESB. By working together with industry peers, we can build both a better future and a better industry,” says Don Fairgrieve-Park, Executive Vice President, Operational Excellence at QuadReal.

Over time, we have become even more convinced that timely, consistent, verified data within an agreed upon format is essential. GRESB has ensured that the real estate sector is significantly ahead of many sectors when it comes to commonly agreed upon language, indicators, and material issues.Nisha Agrawal
Director, Sustainability, QuadReal