URBICSA’s journey to ESG integration with GRESB 

About Urbs Iudex et Causidicus S.A

Urbs Iudex et Causidicus S.A (URBICSA) is the concessionary for the City of Justice of Barcelona. The contract was signed in September 2003 with the Government of Catalonia. The project comprises eight buildings dedicated to justice use, private offices, commercials, and a car park. The total surface area is 232,369 square meters. URBICSA is overseeing the infrastructure’s construction, finance, operation, and maintenance until 2038. 

GRESB Assessments, tools, or products used:

  • GRESB Infrastructure Asset Assessment
  • GRESB SFDR Reporting Solution

Region(s) of operation:

  • Spain

Blueprinting sustainability

URBICSA embarked on its GRESB journey in 2019 and has since used GRESB benchmarks and data to improve its approach to sustainability. Leveraging GRESB metrics and guidance, the company has adapted its structure, procedures, and information systems to align with ESG needs, fostering the integration of ESG values into daily activities and decision-making processes.

Recognizing the pivotal role of GRESB reporting for shareholders, URBICSA places high importance on receiving a high ranking and evaluating ESG improvements. The company’s board is using sustainability metrics to establish targets and action plans, specifically focusing on areas such as waste reduction and energy consumption.

“The annual GRESB Assessments serve as a compass, enabling URBICSA to identify missing policies and areas for improvement. A recent example of this is the development of a net-zero policy in response to GRESB guidance,” said Francesc Carbó, General Manager & President of ESG Committee.

From policy development to reducing energy consumption and measuring GHG emissions, GRESB has become a key focus area and vital performance indicator for URBICSA’s investors, including abrdn. To ensure accuracy and continued improvement, URBICSA has taken advantage of GRESB tools, including the Grace Period and the Results Consultation. In both 2022 and 2023, URBICSA requested a Results Consultation, which helped the company reduce errors and led to higher GRESB scores and more accurate assessments, ultimately providing crucial insights for driving investor engagement.

360-degree ESG integration

In addition to enhancing its ESG strategy at the asset level, URBICSA has extended its commitment to sustainability throughout its value chain by incorporating ESG requirements for suppliers and contractors. The company has also proactively responded to evolving regulatory requirements, restructuring its operational department and creating new positions such as Energy Manager and Project Leader. Training initiatives and external advisors played a crucial role in adapting to regulations, while the establishment of specialized committees focused on ESG, legal compliance, risk management, and energy efficiency helped foster collaboration and goal achievement.

Looking ahead, URBICSA has set further sustainability goals, focusing on both medium- and long-term plans to calculate and reduce its carbon footprint. “We aim to implement a series of technical improvements at the project level, with a strong emphasis on reducing our energy consumption. One notable initiative involves the replacement of all lighting fixtures with LED technology, a move that is projected to result in substantial annual energy savings of 1,850,000 Kwh,” added Carlos Pastor, Technical Director & President of Sustainability, Decarbonization and Circular Economy Committee.

The company is also actively addressing areas identified as being at risk, promoting the circular economy, emphasizing decarbonization efforts, and fostering the creation of inclusive workplaces.