Educational articles and case studies on sustainability best practices and leadership with the industry from GRESB Members and Partners. Here is our guidance and editorial calendar.
There’s much to celebrate in the advancement of climate-informed investment decisions. This is largely owing to the growth of actionable data that measures climate and environmental risk and opportunities — the “E” in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). However, there is little captured about “S,” which means that these climate-informed decisions can be made without considering social impacts.
When we support our clients in their GRESB reporting season, it becomes clear time and again that data availability and quality are often a challenge. Despite the increased use of software solutions, the situation has not changed much.
Businesses are expected to have timely, accurate, and verifiable financial information on hand at all times. As investor appetite for ESG disclosure and sustainability reports increases, the demand for non-financial data is rising nearly to that level of expectation. Stakeholders, as well as the public, are acutely aware of the risks associated with a company’s poor sustainability performance, unfavorable working conditions, and lack of diversity among management, and other factors.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Most sustainability professionals have heard this adage enough times to repeat it in our sleep (and possibly elicit an eye roll). Still, the unfortunate truth is that the “measure” part of the equation is often easier said than done.
Because climate change is constantly shifting the overall environmental equilibrium, “bounce-back” approaches are becoming less and less applicable in practice. A “bounce-forward” approach accounts for continuous adaptation to disturbances or changes to the steady state.
In my years working at the intersection of health and design, I’ve noticed that something interesting tends to happen in conversations about resilience. Often, when the word is mentioned, everyone nods in vigorous agreement – while thinking of very different things.In real estate, of course, resilience tends to be all about designing structures to withstand the increasingly violent consequences of a warming earth. The conversation might turn to things like base-isolated corporate campuses or minimalist modern floating homes.
Resilience is an ongoing initiative that continues to evolve rapidly. We believe that developing a comprehensive approach to addressing physical climate risk across the organization is key to resilience management. Our focus on awareness, evaluation, and integration supports us to further future proof our assets as we all look to transition toward a low carbon economy and help the fight against climate change.
The growing severity of climate-related risks and, as 2020 has shown us, the risk of global social, health and financial events we cannot anticipate means we will increasingly need to anticipate, respond, and adapt to a range of risks. To increase the resilience of our built environment, we will need to combine all available approaches: resistance, reliability, redundancy, response and recovery. Together they can help our buildings and infrastructure survive and thrive.
The real estate sector accounts for more than a third of CO2 emissions in Europe, yet only 1% of building inventory is renovated each year. This reality has led to growing market awareness, with the emergence of new European and national environmental regulations.
Real estate owners are feeling pressure from all sides to take climate change, and its inherent risks, more seriously. Regulators are demanding more transparency surrounding climate risk disclosure, with the UK and New Zealand implementing mandatory climate risk reporting to align with TCFD recommendations. Investors are also increasingly incorporating climate risk and resilience into their due diligence and decision-making processes.
Historically, climate-related risks have been mitigated through grey infrastructure such as sewers and HVAC systems, singular in function and difficult to retroactively expand. However, the built environment industry is waking up to nature-based solutions as a multifunctional approach to climate adaptation whilst meeting wider ESG priorities.
Building back – whether it’s our offices, schools, housing or federal buildings – we should ensure that we’re adopting a people-first approach to enhance these spaces. And the past year has demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that fostering health and well-being is not only a moral imperative, but an investment that always pays dividends.
With the environmental impact of real estate now increasingly important to investors, frameworks are evolving to help evaluate and improve the sustainability performance of assets. For example, GRESB (formerly the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) is an internationally recognised benchmark assessing the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance of property.
The real estate sector in Europe accounts for nearly half of the region’s energy consumption and more than a third of CO2 emissions. Despite this reality, only 1% of real estate inventory undergoes renewal each year. Faced with the climate crisis, European countries have set themselves a common goal: achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
The European Green Deal has launched an ambitious plan to transform the EU economy to a sustainable, climate neutral economy by 2050. To support the plan a range of working groups, action plans and new regulations have been established. All parts of the Green Deal are relevant to real estate, but in particular the outcomes of the EU Action Plan on Sustainable Finance are worth paying close attention to in the coming months.
The three US green building legislation trends you need to know about This article was originally published in Commercial Property Executive. See original article here. Introduction The United States has not always been a world leader when it comes to buildings that are good for the planet or supportive of human health. Rather, the market…
ESG reporting has developed into an essential factor in assessing ESG initiatives and communicating on sustainability commitments, and COVID-19 has only stood as a catalyst for this trend. The pandemic has demonstrated to the market that easily neglected ‘non-financial’ factors are equally as important to long-term sustainability of businesses as any financial factors. It is truly an exciting time to be a part of the movement towards knowledge sharing and harnessing new opportunities as means of managing and reporting towards ESG factors.
Lately, three letters have been blooming everywhere whenever conversation revolves around sustainability reporting: ‘ESG’. The concept of ESG first appeared in 2001, as such, the topic is not new, prescient concepts such as social, ethical, or environmental issues (SSE), or socially responsible investment (SRI) were already reported by different industries and businesses in the preceding decades. The letters alone might not mean much, but together they represent an entity’s behavior on environmental issues, its engagement with society, and the strength of its governance.
The emphasis in ESG reporting is usually on the ‘E’. The ‘G’ is also getting some attention with transparency and diversity also becoming focal points on boardroom agendas. However, post-pandemic the future of ESG reporting must lie with the ‘S’ and particularly with stakeholder engagement.
By elevating ‘S’ on the ESG agenda, we might just get close to squaring the circle through the adoption of a more holistic understanding of “value”. Embracing a longer-term time horizon and broadening the scope of metrics used to measure success would alleviate concerns associated with pressures organisations face for short-term returns. The real challenge is to find the right balance between harmonising social reporting requirements alongside the flexibility needed to effectively address local needs.
ESG reporting has surged in prominence amid a growing realisation among investors and financial institutions that sustainability risk is investment risk. The devastating impact of COVID-19 has further accelerated interest in companies’ ESG disclosure and sustainability performance. But with ESG performance soaring to the top of the agenda, the nascent industry of ESG reporting appears destined for change.
Stakeholders are no longer focused on financial data alone, and organizations today face increasing market pressure to meet new criteria – especially with the emergence of European regulations like the Tertiary Decree, MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards), the Dutch Building Decree, etc.
Since COVID-19 hit the world in an unexpected way, it has demonstrated to corporates that the easily neglected ‘non-financial’ factors are indeed equally important to long-term sustainability of businesses. The concern on ESG issues is higher than ever before.
The impetus towards ESG reporting and accountability has largely been led by investors. However, reporting is about more than just meeting targets and succeeding on benchmarks. The data collected as part of the ESG reporting process can be used to enhance the customer experience for tenants, making real estate assets more attractive.
ESG reporting is a fundamental component of the entire ESG value chain. As an important communication channel with stakeholders including shareholders and investors, it serves as one of the major sources of ESG data and functions. With the growing demand for quality ESG data, tightened regulations towards ESG reporting have been applied in many Stock Exchanges around the world to ensure listed companies provide decision-useful data.
Storytelling is how people naturally communicate. Within your sustainability report, it is a means of communication, using narrative techniques surrounding employees, the organisation, the past and visions for the future, social bonding and work itself, to build in the reader a new point-of-view or reinforce an opinion or behaviour. Storytelling
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting has gained considerable traction in recent years, underpinned by growing interest from investors at both international and local level.
We all saw what happened next: because companies could measure progress, and investors could reward it, buildings got greener, fast. Better metrics and more attention helped real estate companies construct and operate buildings in ways that support the health of our planet.
PREA today announced the winners of the inaugural PREA Real Estate Investment Management ESG
The places we live have become simultaneously our home, our office, our schools, our gym, and more. Whilst being at home has played a key role in protecting our health from the spread of the coronavirus, our homes are not always supportive of our well-being.
Resilience Insights Series: Part 5 Discussions of climate risk sometimes become highly technical and abstract. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that climate change is having real impacts on people’s lives. These are matters of life and death. Decisions that are made around managing real assets matter, not just to the bottom…
Pandemics, geopolitics, technological change, urbanization, climate change, and demographic change all present significant threats, but they also pose opportunities for those with the foresight and agility to invest in resilience. The International Standards Organization defines organizational resilience as “the ability to absorb and adapt in a changing environment.” Building resilience requires understanding and proactively managing risk, while at the same time building adaptive capacity.
Resilience Insights Series: Part 3 Building resilience in a time of uncertainty does not happen magically. It requires the ability to gather and integrate many different types of information, and then use that information in a purposeful and consistent way to make decisions. This must then be translated into clear mandates from company leadership and…
Every day, more companies are seeking to measure and manage their climate risk. Investors are familiar with the key concepts of risk and have tools and approaches to factor the riskiness of investment decisions into their value propositions and deals. However, climate change raises many new dimensions for the industry that need to be understood in context.
This Resilience Insights series is meant to serve three main purposes. Firstly, to put our learnings over the past three years into context and provide an orientation of how they guided the integration of climate-related resilience into the main Assessments. Secondly, to provide expert commentary on subjects core to the understanding of resilience, particularly as it relates to real assets. And thirdly, to disseminate high-level output/insights from the final iteration of the Resilience Module.
On the afternoon of Mar 3, 2021, at the BRE China Awards and BREEAM 30th Anniversary held at The Langham Shanghai, GRESB and BREEAM announced the winners for the inaugural GRESB BREEAM Asia Awards recognizing responsible investments in real estate in Asia. There were three award categories this year. The Best Performing Entity award recognized…