2021 GRESB Benchmark: Growth despite global adversity shows industry wide commitment to ESG
As the 2021 GRESB Assessment deadline becomes a not-so-distant memory, we are allowed the opportunity to reflect upon the magnitude of growth in this year’s participation numbers. Standing as a testament to the industry’s resilience, GRESB is excited to announce that the number of participants this year greatly exceeded our growth targets for FY2021. Our gratitude extends to all of the hard-working teams who progressed tirelessly to collect the data, work through the challenges and coordinate the reporting. Together, we strengthen the calibre of the GRESB Benchmark every year.
We’ll soon release full details to illustrate how comprehensive and representative of the industry our ESG benchmarks are. Below are just a few key highlights:
- 2021 Real Estate Coverage: 1,520 (2020: 1,229) real estate property companies, REITs, and real estate developers participated in the Real Estate Assessment, a 24% increase compared to 2020.
- 2021 Infrastructure Fund Coverage: The Infrastructure Fund Assessment saw a growth in participation of 26% to cover 149 funds (2020: 118).
- 2021 Infrastructure Asset Coverage: The Infrastructure Asset Assessment saw a growth in participation of 31% to cover 558 assets (2020: 426).
- 2021 Overall Participation: Overall GRESB Assessment participation grew from 1773 submissions in 2020, to 2227 in 2021, a staggering 26% increase.
- Investor Members: GRESB’s network of Investor Members has expanded from just over 100 members, to include over 135 Investors, covering more than US $47 Trillion AuM.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Validation, Review Period and Results Launch
The validation process conducted by SRI Quality System Registrar, our accredited third-party assessment body, is now underway. We estimate more than 47,200 human validation decisions will be taken this year to ensure the quality of the reported data in preparation for scoring and benchmarking. This manual validation process complements the automated checks on information completeness, accuracy and reporting rules integrated in the Portal. In parallel, the Real Estate Team is conducting a reporting boundaries review to ensure portfolios submit 100% of their underlying assets.
From September 1st – when the preliminary benchmark reports will be available – to September 15th, Participants can make official requests for validation and scoring reviews. Assessments and scores can then be updated until September 26. The launch of 2021 Real Estate and Infrastructure Assessment results will be October 1st. A more detailed overview of the Assessment timeline can be found here.
2022-2023 Fee Adjustment
Growing the benchmark is central to our mission because with every new participant, peer comparisons become more useful, scores and ratings become more comprehensive and the quality of the entire datasets improves. As such, maintaining the single participant fee of EUR 4,000 is integral to our efforts of remaining an equitable reporting mechanism to all our members and partners. This fee remains the same as the fee for a single entity in 2021 and will be fixed for the next 2 years.
For participants with a large number of participating portfolios, the total Assessment participation fee will be capped at EUR 40,000 in 2022, and EUR 48,000 in 2023. The fee adjustment is a direct reflection of the value that GRESB provides through thorough data validation mechanisms; representing an assurance that the scale of reports will not hinder the quality of output.
A more detailed description will be provided via direct outreach in the coming days.
SFDR | The ESAs have published a Q&A which provides further clarifications as to what constitutes article 8 and 9 products. Some of these clarifications remain vague, for instance, what constitutes the promotion of Environmental and Social Characteristics for Article 8 and whether sustainable investments for Article 9 products, defined in article 2 (17) of Regulation (EU) 2019/2088, have any overlap with the EU taxonomy’s own definition of what qualifies as a sustainable investment.
This comes after the European Commision announced a 6 month delay in the application of the RTS leaving a big question mark as to if the final RTS documentation, originally meant to be published in June, will actually see the light of day. As such, GRESB remains attentive to any future developments.
If you would like to keep up to date on our proposed solution and relevant SFDR resources you can do so via our SFDR Reporting Solution page.
Transition Risk Tool | We are actively looking for feedback from the industry to help us better understand the needs of our members when it comes to transition risk. To facilitate this, we have launched a Transition Risk Survey to identify the most pressing issues our Participant Members are facing. Preliminary survey results show that more than 90% of respondents are actively seeking help with identifying, understanding, and addressing transition risks in their real estate portfolio. If you would like to share with us which are the issues you are facing when it comes to transition risk, please complete this short survey on the topic.
New GRESB Members
GCX | GRESB Partner
GCX is proud to be the first on the ground member of GRESB in Africa. GCX aligns our REIT clients with GRESB reporting guidelines as it provides the opportunity for global benchmarking and is the industry standard for real estate reporting. Being a partner of GRESB allows us access to GRESB resources and information that assist us in enhancing our offering in the REIT sector
Madigan Capital | Real Estate Investor Member
GRESB membership will provide Madigan with the necessary tools to help underwrite and monitor its performance and assist in its commitment to managing investments in a sustainable way to ensure long-term success for its clients and the communities it operates in.
EBI Consulting | Real Estate Partner
Finance Ideas | Real Estate Partner
Greenrock LLC | Real Estate Partner
Inspired Energy | Real Estate & Infrastructure Premier Partner
JW+A | Real Estate Partner
Asset Management One Co. | Real Estate Investor Member
NN Group | Infrastructure Investor Member
Principal Financial Group | Real Estate Investor Member
Spectral Energy | Real Estate Premier Partner
STOK | Real Estate Partner
New Employee Announcement | As the industry grows, so too does GRESB. We are positioning ourselves with skilled and talented individuals to help us actualize our goals towards a sustainable future.
GRESB 2021 Participation Survey | To ensure the highest quality of service, we have created a short 10 question GRESB Assessment Participation survey which you can fill out here. This survey intends to understand your relationship with GRESB and how we can best maintain a long-lasting partnership.
GRESB is hiring! We’re looking for:
Upcoming events you can join us at
September 9 – September 10
- Europe’s longest-running event focused on diversity in private equity will return to London once again in December.
- This year’s edition of City & Financial Global’s well established summit on infrastructure policy and investment, which is being held virtually on 6th July, comes at a particularly interesting point in the market’s development. Aurelien Reynolds, GRESB Infrastructure Associate, will be speaking at this event.
September 16 – September 17
- A sustainable financial sector is essential to achieve the Paris climate goals – this event explores how financial institutions contribute to a society in which Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) values are becoming increasingly important, by pursuing sustainable financial activities. Erik Landry, Climate Change Specialist at GRESB, and Cathy Granneman, Associate Member Relations – Infrastructure, will be speaking at this event.
- The Investor Day will create an intimate virtual setting for regional investors to knowledge-share challenges and opportunities associated with responsible investing and ESG practices. Hear from specialists on Environment, Social, Governance, and beyond to understand best practices in decision-making and due diligence process.
September 21- September 23 | Intercontinental O2, London
- The event will provide insights into what the “new normal” might look like for the global infrastructure asset class. Rick Walters, Chief of Standards and Innovation at GRESB, will be speaking at this event.
October 12 – October 14
- Pensions & Investments World Pension Summit is the global platform ‘for and by’ pension professionals and discusses the long-term components of vital ‘pension cross-roads’. Roxana Isaiu, GRESB’s Chief Sustainability Officer, will also be speaking at this event.
November 18 – November 19 | Amsterdam
- This year’s meeting will bring together key professionals in the PPP, project financing and infrastructure sectors to discuss the latest issues and trends within the Benelux market.
September 7 | Singapore and online
- The 4th Infrastructure Investors Forum: Asia, hosted by AVCJ and Inframation, will be returning as a hybrid event in September, bringing together global and local GPs, LPs, and infrastructure players for an in-depth one-day discussion into the Southeast Asian infrastructure landscape and beyond.
October 26 | Conrad Tokyo and Online
- The 3rd annual Infrastructure Investors Forum: Japan is the country’s most focused gathering of senior global fund managers and institutional investors and a key date on the fundraising calendar to discuss investment plans and future allocations.
October 5 | The Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney and Online
- The 5th annual Infrastructure Investors Forum Australia is the industry’s number one community gathering, attracting the leading infrastructure players in Australia, the biggest global fund managers, sovereign wealth funds and domestic and international pension funds and LPs.
September 21 – September 30
- The 6th annual Sustainable Investment Forum North America in partnership with UNEP-FI takes place in September 2021 alongside Climate Week NYC, with the mission to mobilise sustainable investment towards a 1.5 °C world. Rick Walters, Chief of Standards and Innovation at GRESB, will be speaking at this event.
October 20 – October 21
- BOMEX Virtual 2021 will be truly international, without borders to constrain and boundaries to pull back ideas. Thought leaders, industry insiders and innovators will come together for a full program of inspiration and engagement. Speakers will focus on three streams:
For a more detailed overview of GRESB upcoming events please visit our events page
Now on GRESB Insights
GRESB Insights provides case studies on ESG integration in real assets, data-driven analysis into how the industry is responding to the sustainability challenge and educational articles exploring topics covered in the GRESB Assessments. The topic for the month of July was “ESG Data Quality.” You can access all GRESB Insights posts here.
- Nature-Based Solutions: The Backbone of Sustainable Investment | Hoare Lea
- Climate Risk: How the Real Estate Industry is Bracing for the Inevitable | measurabl
- Resilience: Confronting Climate Change and Adapting Your Real Estate Asset Management Accordingly | Deepki
- 4 Ways to Increase Resilience in the Built Environment: Responding to the Threat | BRE
- Resilience Management: A Multifaceted Approach to Real Estate Investing | Manulife Investment Management
- Defining Resilience: A People-First Approach to Protecting Places | International WELL Building Institute
- The case for “bounce-forward” climate-resilient infrastructure | Longevity
GRESB is also opening up submissions for the month of August with the topic of “Carbon Neutrality/Net Zero”. Feel free to make a submission via our landing page here. If you would like to explore next month’s Insights topic you can find out more on GRESB’s Insights page.
What GRESB is reading
- World Benchmarking Alliance | Oil and Gas Benchmark
- World Bank | Nature Action 100: A proposal for targeted investor engagement on biodiversity
- The Conversation | Global warming below 1.7°C is ‘not plausible’, reveals our study of the social drivers of decarbonisation
- The FSB | Report on promoting climate-related disclosures
- TheFifthState | Embodied carbon: the elephant in the net zero room (or buildings)