ESG DATA QUALITY
The GRESB ESG Data Quality Standard is being developed to define the rules for high quality data reporting
Why we are developing the GRESB ESG Data Quality Standard
Ever since our launch almost a decade ago, GRESB has been committed to providing quality ESG data on real asset investments to the capital markets. For 9 successive years the ESG benchmark has grown, with a record 903 real estate portfolios, worth $3.5 trillion in GAV, reporting to us in 2018. The GRESB Infrastructure Assessment is also growing rapidly, reaching ‘critical mass’ in 2018 with a 75% increase in the Asset Assessment compared to last year.
The reason behind this growth has been our commitment to evolve the benchmark in line with the needs of our stakeholders, ensuring it continues to serve the industry that relies on it. We’ve listened to the feedback from our investor members and participants, and it’s clear that with ESG driving ever more investment decisions, expectations around quality and validation of ESG data are increasing. While we already ensure the quality of our ESG data through a 3-layer validation process developed by PwC, we’re now seeing an opportunity to leverage new advances in technology to take the next step in bringing the quality of non-financial data on par with the quality of financial data.
That process begins with the creation of the new GRESB ESG Data Quality Standard to define the rules for high quality data reporting. The Standard will draw on best practices and principles in data quality used by experts across different industries, applying them to ESG data reported through GRESB. By providing clear guidance to the market, the Standard will seek to reduce reporting and validation costs, while at the same time improving the reliability and effectiveness of data collection systems used by the industry.
We’re introducing this Standard because we are committed to providing new levels of insight on ESG risks and opportunities and increased investor confidence in data quality. The sum of these efforts will not only improve transparency and engagement for our investor members but provide participants with more valuable market intelligence about the impact of their sustainability programs. We think this is a worthy investment in the long-term evolution of the GRESB Assessment offering newer analytics and better-quality data in the GRESB ecosystem.
How the Standard will be developed
The GRESB ESG Data Quality Standard will be developed following GRESB’s usual process with oversight by the GRESB Benchmark Committees and Advisory Boards. The Technical Working Group (TWG) will define data quality rules and inform the content, structure and evolution of the Standard. Once a draft Standard has been developed it will be reviewed by GRESB’s Benchmark Committee and then submitted to the Advisory Board for approval.
The TWG will exist alongside GRESB’s other Industry Working Groups that are helping us to iterate and improve our Standards and Assessments. Taken together, GRESB’s Industry Working Groups are an integral part of the Assessment evolution process, ensuring that we move forward together as an industry to address topics relevant to achieving our shared vision of sustainable real assets.
Composition of the Technical Working Group
Members of the TWG include GRESB Partners (1 person per organization) and industry experts who have relevant subject matter expertise as well as the time and interest to participate fully. GRESB is convening the group to ensure that members have:
- High levels of technical expertise data quality assurance, software engineering and/or data science.
- Time to attend the working group meetings (see proposed timeline below).
- Competence and ability to share information, provide technical input and play an active role in Group discussions.
- Capacity to review documents distributed in advance of Group meetings and prepare inputs.
Members will be required to meet their own costs of attending meetings and contributing to the work of the TWG. They will not be paid consultancy or sitting fees. GRESB will chair the group and publish meeting minutes together with a list of TWG members (individual and organization).
GRESB Global Partner, Measurabl is Founding Partner of the TWG in recognition of their leadership in calculating and assuring ESG data quality.
Technical Working Group Members
|Tema Yara Goodspeed||LORD Green Strategies|
|Jenny TY Law||Swire Properties|
|Christopher Hill||Verco Global|
|Christopher Botten||Better Buildings Partnership|
|Henry Gilks||Carbon Credentials|
|Ari Frankel||Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.|
|Christopher Maddern||Schneider Electric|
|Kees van Alphen||hello energy|
|Cha Chungha||Re-imagining Cities Foundation|
|Carl Paulse||Refined Data Solutions Inc.|
|Hanae Maeda||CSR Design|
|Hazel M. Sutton||BOMA|
|Tony Pringle||Quinn & Partners Inc.|
|Conan O'Connor||Energy Profiles Limited|
|Chris Pyke||USGBC and ARC|
|Alistair Blackmore||EHS Sustainability|
|Joshua Kace||CodeGreen Solutions|
|Hannah Tillmann||RE Tech Advisors|
What is the proposed timeline?
The first meeting of the TWG was held on December 11, 2018 and the second on January 22, 2019. An in-person meeting was held in New York on March 7, 2019 and will be followed by an online meeting on May 7, 2019.
TWG meeting minutes
GRESB Data Quality Survey
The GRESB Data Quality Survey is an optional, unscored survey for GRESB Data Partners and Participants in the Real Estate Assessment that use the GRESB Asset Portal. New in 2019, the survey is the first step towards developing a mature GRESB Data Quality Standard. It was developed together with the Data Quality Technical Working Group.
A primary aim of the survey is to work towards the development of the GRESB Data Quality Standard. An important second goal is research-oriented: to understand the current landscape of ESG data systems and investigate how to improve the overall quality and trustworthiness of ESG data in the future. This research will be used to inform the development of future versions of the survey and the standard.
With these goals in mind, GRESB will not score the survey. Data Partners and Participants who fill it out will be formally recognized as having completed the GRESB 2019 Data Quality Survey. GRESB will publicly release an impact report based on aggregated Data Quality Survey results. Individual responses will remain confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone except GRESB and the responding entity.
The scope of the 2019 Data Quality Survey has a narrow focus on identifying what the data systems of Data Partners and Participants do to address the quality of the data that is transmitted to GRESB. Specifically, the 2019 version of this survey is focused on understanding what data quality checks are performed on environmental performance data (energy, water, waste, and GHG emissions) and associated building characteristics that are needed to interpret that performance data. The survey is organized around four aspects of data quality: accuracy, completeness, timeliness, and lineage.
The GRESB Data Quality Technical Working Group that developed this survey will be operational for two years, 2019 and 2020. The 2019 version of the survey is designed to be a high-level evaluation of ESG data systems and will be available as an optional pilot in the first year. The goal of the 2020 version is to move towards quantifiable metrics of data quality at a granular level. The results from the 2019 survey will be used primarily for development for the 2020 version, and any future iterations of this survey.
Timeline for the 2019 Data Quality Survey
April 1 – July 1: Survey period open
July 1 – September 4: Analysis of results by GRESB
September 4: Report on results published, participant recognition in benchmark reports