Infrastructure Debt Industry Working Group
Debt providers find ESG data valuable, but access to comparable data is an important challenge to ESG in infrastructure debt.
Purpose of the Infrastructure Debt Industry Working Group
Mission-driven and investor-led, GRESB works in collaboration with the industry to provide key environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data on real asset investments to capital markets. GRESB offers a consistent framework to measure and compare ESG indicators and related performance metrics across global infrastructure funds and assets. Our Assessments measure sustainability transparency and performance based on self-reported data that is validated, scored and peer benchmarked. This approach allows investors to analyze their portfolios for ESG risks, opportunities and impacts and to engage with managers on their performance.
With sustainability becoming an increasingly important topic for the financial sector, there is a growing need for high quality, standardized and validated ESG data. This data is valuable for due diligence, monitoring and asset stewardship, but access to standardized comparable data is challenging. There is a need for a common framework that is understood and agreed upon by the industry.
The purpose of the Infrastructure Debt Industry Working Group (Infrastructure Debt IWG) is to determine how the GRESB approach to ESG data assessment, scoring, and benchmarking can be used to inform infrastructure debt providers in the same way it does infrastructure equity providers. GRESB’s Industry Working Groups (IWG) 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.
The majority of infrastructure lending takes place at the asset level. The Infrastructure Debt IWG will focus on the GRESB Infrastructure Asset Level Data. The Infrastructure Asset Assessment assesses ESG performance at the asset level for infrastructure asset operators, fund managers and investors that invest in infrastructure assets.
GRESB Infrastructure Asset Assessment
The GRESB Infrastructure Asset Assessment provides the basis for systematic reporting, objective scoring and peer benchmarking of ESG management and performance of infrastructure assets around the world. Both single and multi-asset operators can participate and the process leads to deep insights for investors, lenders, fund managers and asset operators.
The Assessment provides the information needed to assess efforts to maximize beneficial outputs, such as energy production, mobility, or access to clean water, while minimizing social and environmental impacts. Based on the Assessment, GRESB provides an overall GRESB Score for each participant as well as peer group comparisons that take into account sub-sector and location of the asset. For more information on the core aspects, sector coverage, and indicators, see here. Resources such as the Infrastructure Assessment Reference Guide, Asset Scoring Document, and Infrastructure Materiality Tool are all publicly available.
All participants receive a Scorecard with a summary of their sustainability performance. The Benchmark Report provides a more in-depth analysis of performance and the Portfolio Analysis Tool allows investors to compare their defined portfolio to any other subset within the GRESB database.
Composition of the Working Group
The Infrastructure Debt IWG is comprised of banks, insurance companies, and asset managers. Industry experts with relevant subject matter expertise are invited to help drive the development of the Working Group. Please contact us if you are interested in joining.
|Emma Haight-Cheng||AMP Capital|
|Susannah Stock||Aviva Investors|
|Maximilian Kufer||AXA IM Real Assets|
|Karen Azoulay||BNP Paribas Asset Management|
|Will Devenney||Legal & General Investment Management|
|Dillon Anderiesz||Macquarie Group|
|Lisa Shaw||Vantage Infrastructure|
Process and next steps
Coverage – current and future access for debt providers
In 2019, 393 assets completed the GRESB Infrastructure Asset Assessment. The list of participants can be found here. A coverage analysis has been completed to determine the overlap per Debt Provider and the GRESB universe. The Infrastructure Debt IWG aims to improve coverage of infrastructure assets in the GRESB Assessment.
Assessment development – possible gaps and necessary alignment
A gap analysis between a number of ESG infrastructure questionnaires of Infrastructure Debt IWG members and the GRESB Infrastructure Asset Assessment will be undertaken to determine whether the Infrastructure Asset Assessment captures all relevant data points for lenders. This is based on due diligence questionnaires shared by Working Group members. The 2019 GRESB Asset Assessment can be found here.
Legal advisors will be asked to advise on a set of ESG terms for covenants that could be added to loan documentation. Technical advisors are also invited to join the Infrastructure Debt IWG.
The first in-person meeting took place in London on October 2, 2019. The next meeting will take place in Paris on December 3, 2019. The Infrastructure Debt IWG is open to additional members, specifically industry experts such as legal and technical advisors. If you are interested in attending the next meeting either in-person or by teleconference, please contact us.
+ Meeting held on October 2, 2019 – Download slides