The top 10 questions about GRESB, answered

As sustainability reporting becomes more critical for the real assets industry, GRESB has emerged as a valuable tool for assessing sustainability performance. However, the GRESB reporting process can be time-consuming and complex for some users, especially for first-time participants, occasionally leading to questions among participants.

Through the GRESB Helpdesk, we have received a number of inquiries from current and potential participants seeking clarity on various aspects of GRESB. In this article, we will answer the top 10 most common questions about GRESB to provide insights and guidance to help companies navigate the essential practical information. Topics covered in the article include using the GRESB Portal, understanding the different components of the assessments, and managing user access.

1. Who can see my results?

Generally, GRESB results are made available to participants, which include real estate and infrastructure companies, fund managers, and asset owners who have completed the GRESB assessments. The results can also be shared with a variety of industry stakeholders, including institutional investors, pension funds, and other financial institutions that use GRESB data to inform their investment decisions. 

However, accessing an entity’s GRESB results can vary depending on the type of reporting entity:

  • Listed entities have their data made available to all listed investor members at GRESB. In contrast, non-listed entities are able to share their data with individual investor members on an as-approved basis.
  • Participants reporting to GRESB for the first time are able to choose the Grace Period, meaning that they can opt out of allowing GRESB investors members to request access to their first-year GRESB data and results.

2. GRESB access rights: Who can submit data and make changes on behalf of an entity?

Participant member accounts can have four types of users on the GRESB Portal and are managed for each reporting entity:

  1. External Contributor – Able to make changes to the assessment, use the template tool, view other users, and change entity settings
  2. Internal Contributor – Same as external contributor, but can also upload documents, view reports, and purchase GRESB products such as the TCFD Alignment Report, the Transition Risk Report, and the SFDR Reporting Solution
  3. Investor Relations Manager – Same as an internal contributor, but can also accept incoming access requests from investor members
  4. Account Manager – Same as Investor Relations Manager, but can also invite new users to access the submission and can click to complete the final assessment submission before July 1

3. What are the different components in the GRESB Assessments?

GRESB administers multiple assessments with the main focus being the following:

  • Real Estate Assessment
  • Infrastructure Fund Assessment
  • Infrastructure Asset Assessment

Participants completing the GRESB Real Estate Assessment can complete three components: management, performance, and development.

  • Management Component: Measures the entity’s strategy and leadership management, policies and processes, risk management and stakeholder engagement approach, comprising information collected at the organizational level
  • Performance Component: Measures the entity’s asset portfolio performance, comprising information collected at the asset and at the portfolio level.
  • Development Component: Measures the entity’s efforts to address ESG issues during the design, construction, and renovation of buildings and is suitable for entities involved in new construction (building design, site selection and/or construction) and/or major renovation projects.

Participants who complete the management and performance components receive a Standing Investments Benchmark Report and participants who complete the management and development components receive a Development Benchmark Report.

More information on the three components  that are part of the GRESB Real Estate Assessment can be found here.

The GRESB Infrastructure Asset Assessment and Fund Assessment consist of a Management Component and a Performance Component. More information on the GRESB Infrastructure Asset Assessment and Fund Assessment can be found here.

4. What are the minimum requirements to report to GRESB for the Real Estate Assessment?

It ultimately depends on which components a participant would like to complete. Even without assets in a portfolio, participants can complete the Management Component. For example, a fund in its capital-raising stage could participate in this component.

For the Performance Component, as long as an entity already owns operational assets, they can report to GRESB.

For the Development Component, participants need to own assets that are new constructions (building design, site selection and/or construction) and/or major renovation projects.

5. Can I download an asset spreadsheet that has my entity’s 2022 GRESB Real Estate Assessment asset data already filled in?

When starting the reporting process after the GRESB Portal opens on April 1, participants who also reported to GRESB in 2022 can navigate to the “Asset Portal” section of the portal and select “Export data to Excel.” This will download an asset spreadsheet with the 2021 data rows already filled for all assets reported during the 2022 GRESB Assessment.

6. Can I use the data I uploaded for the GRESB Assessments in different GRESB products?

To ease the reporting burden, GRESB participants can purchase and prefill or automatically generate several products using data from the GRESB Real Estate Assessment or GRESB Infrastructure Asset & Fund Assessments. The GRESB products that utilize data reported by participants through the different GRESB Assessments include:

  • The TCFD Alignment Report is automatically generated for participants who purchase the report and have completed the GRESB Real Estate Assessment and/or GRESB Infrastructure Asset and/or Fund Assessments.
  • The Transition Risk Report is automatically generated for participants who purchase the report and have completed the GRESB Real Estate Assessment only.
  • The SFDR Reporting Solution is partly prefilled using the asset-level data for participants that are completing the GRESB Real Estate Assessment or the GRESB Infrastructure Assessments. On the Infrastructure side, SFDR data can also be used to partially prefill the GRESB Infrastructure Assessments.

7. Do I need to fully translate all evidence documents I upload that are not in English?

Documents uploaded as supporting evidence do not need to be entirely translated, however, a thorough summary of the sections/pages that support the issues selected for an indicator is essential for evidence validation. This means that each selected issue must be identifiable in the evidence uploads by providing page number and exact location such as paragraph, clause, sentence, bullet number. Participants may make use of the open text box to provide the document(s) summary.

8. When does the GRESB Portal close for submission?

The GRESB Assessment Portal closes on July 1, 23:59 PDT. This is the submission deadline for all 2023 GRESB Assessments.

9. I have created an account on the GRESB Portal but cannot login – why is this?

Users have 48 hours to click the activation link that is sent to their email inbox after creating an account on the GRESB Portal. If the link is not selected during this timeframe, please send an email to our Helpdesk and we will resend the account registration link.

10. What are the changes to the 2023 GRESB Standards?

All changes to the 2023 GRESB Standards can be found here, including the changes to the 2023 Real Estate Standards, 2023 GRESB Infrastructure Fund Standard, and 2023 GRESB Infrastructure Asset Standard.

In this article, we have answered the top 10 most common questions received through our Helpdesk and provided practical insights and answers. By following the tips and advice presented here, companies can streamline their reporting process and gain a better understanding of how GRESB works. More information on how to prepare for successful GRESB reporting can be found here. For additional guidance, please sign up for our free online training platform.

Should any further questions arise, please feel free to contact us via our Helpdesk using the form below.

Tom Wallace

Analyst, Member Success

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