2015 GRESB Debt Survey: Debt Funds Starting to Integrate ESG in Real Estate Lending

Amsterdam, November 5 – GRESB, the global standard for sustainability assessments of real assets, today released the outcomes of the 2015 GRESB Debt Fund assessment. The data and GRESB Debt Report illustrate growing appreciation for the importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information for fixed income investors.

Since the 2007 financial crisis, private debt funds have sprung up to fill the debt-funding gap in commercial real estate, resulting in the emergence of a new asset class. Two out of three institutional investors are considering or already investing in private debt funds and 43% of those specifically prefer real estate debt. The GRESB Debt Fund assessment, released in 2015, provides investors in debt funds, as well as debt fund managers, with a new platform for systematic assessment, objective scoring, and peer benchmarking of sustainability information. The result of the inaugural assessment is an important first step forward toward the goal of providing a globally consistent ESG benchmark for fixed income property investors. The 2015 GRESB Debt Report and data provide insight into an emerging industry shift towards ESG integration in real estate lending.

Report Highlights and Trends:

Response Rate: 10 funds, representing 7% of the real estate debt fund universe. The aggregate value of the funds reporting totals $5.03 billion in net asset value (NAV), and covers 127 assets (loans).

Results: The average GRESB Debt Score is 42, with an average Management & Policy (MP) score of 34 and an average Implementation & Lender Practice (IL) score of 48.

Organizational Integration: While 70% of participating debt funds have policies that address environment issues at the collateral-level, only 10% disclose the sustainability performance of their collateral.

Risk Management: 30% of debt funds review the sustainability performance of borrowers, yet none leverage existing corporate ESG ratings to do so.

Standardization and Capture: While none of the participating debt funds provide energy efficiency financing or other specialized sustainability finance products, financing for capital expenditures and property improvements is routine, and in some cases, these funds go toward Planned Property Maintenance or energy efficiency retrofits, which result in higher performing buildings and positive environmental outcomes.

“Given the outsized role that lenders play in providing capital for real estate investment, we want to encourage their engagement in the sustainability debate, not only because investors value participation and transparency, but because lenders can begin to utilize ESG data to better manage downside risks,” says Sara Anzinger, Manager Real Estate Debt & Fixed Income at GRESB.

The real estate sector offers unique opportunities to address environmental issues, while also creating economic opportunities for lenders. The ability to identify, mitigate and verify impacts related to real estate, requires integrating asset-level and borrower-level ESG metrics into credit analysis, pricing models, due diligence procedures and portfolio monitoring.

“We focus on ESG considerations and value their integration across our entire investment portfolio and throughout the investment and financing process. Therefore, we are pleased that GRESB has developed a new sustainability assessment for real estate lenders, which will provide greater insight into the ESG performance of real estate debt funds,” says John Gellatly, Head of Europe, Real Estate Multi Manager Team, Aviva Investors.

2015 GRESB Consultation Period: October 1 – November 13, 2015

GRESB will hold the 2015 Consultation Period starting October 1 and going through November 13. The Consultation Period is public and open to all GRESB stakeholders, including participants, members and partners.

The goal of the Consultation Period is to collect feedback from 2015 participants and other involved stakeholders on their experience with the GRESB assessment process, the supporting materials and services, and on the delivery of the results and related output materials, such as Scorecards, Benchmark Reports, etc. The feedback will help GRESB refine and streamline the submission process in order to improve user experience and continue our work toward investment-grade data. In addition, the Consultation Period provides an opportunity for GRESB to receive feedback on opportunities to help participants interpret GRESB data.

Please use one of the following options to provide your feedback by November 13:

1.    Provide general feedback by answering questions in the Consultation Period form

2.    Provide more detailed feedback by logging into the GRESB portal and commenting on specific questions or tools.

The GRESB team will review and analyze the feedback and share the results on gresb.com in mid-January 2016.

We appreciate your feedback and input and look forward to our discussion.

The GRESB team

ABN AMRO to Become First Bank to Use GRESB ESG Data in Real Estate Lending

Banks' interest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors follows the interest of pension funds, insurance companies, and other large equity investors, who have been developing their awareness about the sustainability performance of their real estate and infrastructure allocations over the past decade. “Access to corporate ESG ratings such as GRESB scores can assist CRE lenders in better identifying sustainability risks that can adversely impact collateral value and a borrower’s ability to repay their loan,“ says Nils Kok, CEO of GRESB.

Beyond information on the ESG profile of borrowers, ABN AMRO and GRESB see multiple opportunities for collaboration. Earlier this year, GRESB released a new sustainability assessment and benchmark for real estate lenders (GRESB Debt), which from 2016 onward will open to a wider range of CRE lenders, including life insurance companies, banks and mortgage REITs. ABN AMRO plans to participate in the GRESB Debt Survey next year, benchmarking itself against other large commercial banks.

Rutger Schuur, Head of Commercial Real Estate Lending at ABN AMRO: “As climate change risks, building regulation, and changing tenant preferences are becoming ever more relevant for the real estate sector, the sustainability profile of borrowers and their assets is increasingly important to real estate lenders. The partnership with GRESB will allow ABN AMRO to incorporate sustainability more deeply into the real estate lending process. This is a natural fit with our ambition to play an important role in making the real estate sector more sustainable.”

In June of this year, ABN AMRO became the first commercial bank in the Netherlands to issue a green bond. Proceeds went toward mortgages on sustainable commercial real estate, energy efficient homes, and solar panels on existing homes. ABN AMRO will participate in the GRESB Green Bond Working Group, which brings together institutional investors, property company issuers and underwriters, to share expertise and evolve best practices for global real estate sector involvement in the green bond space.

GRESB Launches Sustainability Benchmark for Infrastructure Investments

Amsterdam, September 7 – A group of global institutional infrastructure investors, including AIMCo, APG, ATP, Aviva Investors, CalPERS, Mirova, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and PGGM, representing US$1.5 trillion, today announced the launch of GRESB Infrastructure, a global sustainability benchmark for infrastructure assets. The new investor-led initiative has partnered with GRESB, the global standard for portfolio-level sustainability assessment in real estate, to develop and establish a consistent global sustainability framework for the infrastructure sector. The assessment will allow more capital to flow into sustainable infrastructure and to raise the level of sustainability of existing infrastructure worldwide.

With governments around the world increasingly looking to the private sector to fund infrastructure investments, the asset class is presenting attractive opportunities for investors. Infrastructure is rapidly becoming an integral part of a diversified investment management strategy, especially for long-term institutional investors. Data shows that 28 percent of pension funds now invest in infrastructure, though allocations are still low (below 1 percent of their total investments, on average) and are expected to increase in the coming years. Infrastructure and sustainability are closely related: as the backbone of the global economy, infrastructure investments offer scalable, resilient pathways to sustainable economic growth by delivering key societal benefits, such as vital transportation links, (renewable) energy sources, livability, social infrastructure, water and waste management systems, smart grids and low-carbon transportation systems.

“Given the long-term horizon and the societal impact of infrastructure investment, sustainability and broader environmental, social and governance considerations are critically important for infrastructure investors. Therefore we join forces in setting up a global benchmark that provides insight, allows us to measure the progress and gives us the means to engage with our investee funds and companies,” says Patrick Kanters, Managing Director, Global Real Estate and Infrastructure, APG Asset Management.

The new infrastructure sustainability benchmark will offer investors an industry-wide assessment and process to enable systematic evaluation of the sustainability performance of their global infrastructure assets. It will provide a consistent framework for investors to collect and compare key environmental, social and governance (ESG), and related performance metrics across their infrastructure assets. Access to better quality and standardized ESG data also enables investors to fulfill increasingly rigorous ESG reporting obligations.

“CalPERS looks forward to working with GRESB’s platform to gain insights into current and prospective infrastructure assets. GRESB has an established and global track record in assessing and evaluating social and environmental factors, which will shed more light on sustainability considerations for investors to understand and manage. Utilizing this platform gives CalPERS a process for implementing our Investment Beliefs, enabling us to better understand and navigate the multi-faceted risks and opportunities of our portfolio,” says Anne Stausboll, Chief Executive Officer, CalPERS.

The first assessments under the GRESB Infrastructure framework are expected in the first quarter of 2016. 
2015 GRESB Results: Global Real Estate Industry Significantly Reduces Carbon Footprint

New report shows listed companies and private equity real estate funds embracing sustainability practices

Amsterdam, September 2 – GRESB, the global standard for portfolio-level sustainability assessment in the real estate sector, today released its 2015 data and industry report. The data and report are based on an assessment of 707 property companies and private equity real estate funds, representing 61,000 assets and USD 2.3 trillion in asset value. The report provides new insights regarding the energy and sustainability performance of the global real estate industry, documenting a 3% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2014, a 50% increase in on-site renewable energy generation, and a 19% improvement in overall ESG performance.

The global property industry is at the heart of critical global issues that include resource constraints, climate change, and urbanization. There is strong evidence that more sustainably designed and operated buildings can provide solutions to these challenging issues, while also creating value for real estate investors and shareholders.

The 2015 GRESB Report provides new data showing that the global real estate sector is increasingly integrating environmental, social and governance considerations into corporate policies and business strategy. Critically, the data also shows that policy and strategy are backed by actual implementation of energy and water efficiency programs, and demonstrable improvements in sustainability performance.

Report Highlights:

  • More property companies and funds report on sustainability: 707 companies and funds, representing USD 2.3 trillion and 61,000 assets – an 11% response increase from 2014
  • Better environmental performance: on average, the sector achieved a 3.04%reduction in GHG emissions, 2.87% reduction in energy consumption, and a1.65% reduction in water use
  • Significant uptake in renewables: on-site renewable energy generation of445GWh in 2015 (0.5% of total energy consumption) from 296GWh in 2014
  • Australia and New Zealand continue to significantly outperform other regions with an average GRESB Score of 69 – compared to a global average of 56

The global sustainability performance of the real estate sector improved across all areas of environmental, social, and governance performance. Trends in GRESB data show that sustainability goals and ESG disclosure are now firmly part of mainstream business practices: 93% of property companies and funds incorporate sustainability into business objectives. With extreme weather events and shifting weather patterns threatening economies and the built environment,54% of all property companies and funds have policies in place that address climate risks. In addition, the real estate sector increasingly recognizes the health, safety and well-being of occupants, the community, and the supply chain as sources of both risk and opportunity.

"The 2015 GRESB Report and data show that the global property industry increasingly incorporates sustainability issues, making them a core part of business strategies. This is reflected in widespread adoption of sustainability management practices and on-going efforts to address critical issues related to energy, water, waste, and human health. The recent reductions in energy, carbon and water consumption achieved by the commercial real estate sector are impressive, yet in absolute terms, the sector’s environmental impact is significant and more work remains to be done,” says Nils Kok, CEO of GRESB.

GRESB Debt Survey Deadline Extended
GRESB has extended the deadline for Debt Survey submissions until August 21. The GRESB Debt Survey opened for responses via the GRESB Portal on May 1. In order to accommodate the full spectrum of fund managers interested in participating, the deadline has been extended by 3 weeks.  
The GRESB Debt Survey is designed to assess and benchmark the sustainability engagement and performance of real estate lenders, applying established methodology that enables institutional investors to extend ESG integration to their real estate debt investments. In its first year run, Debt Survey participation is open only to private real estate funds that identify their primary investment strategy as debt.   
GRESB Welcomes New Members

HCP, Inc. is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT) that invests primarily in real estate serving the healthcare industry in the United States. The company's portfolio of assets is diversified among five distinct sectors: senior housing, post-acute/skilled nursing, life science, medical office and hospital. It has been a publicly traded company since 1985 and is the first healthcare REIT selected to the S&P 500 index and the only REIT included in the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats index. It is a global leader in sustainability as a member of the CDP, Dow Jones and FTSE4Good sustainability leadership indices, as well as the GRESB Global Healthcare Sector Leader.

GE Solar develops turnkey renewable energy solutions that offer both performance and reliability for commercial and industrial businesses. Their energy solutions focus on electricity costs savings, reducing operating expenses and hedging against future market volatility. GE Solar is a part of the Renewable Energy business of GE Power and & Water.

Sustainable Buildings Pay off for Real Estate Investors

A new study by the University of Cambridge reveals a strong relationship between the sustainability of buildings and the stock market performance of real estate investment trusts (REITs). The study, commissioned by Carbon War Room and based on GRESB data is titled The Financial Rewards of Sustainability: A Global Performance Study of Real the Estate Investment Trusts.

REITs own and frequently operate income-producing real estate – and represent an increasing focus of energy-efficiency and renewable energy stakeholders. Modeled after mutual funds, REITs allow anyone to invest in portfolios of large-scale properties and typically offer high yields, providing investors with regular income streams, diversification, and long-term capital appreciation.

For the purpose of this study, the University of Cambridge used a dataset provided by GRESB. The data comes from the GRESB Survey of more than 442 detailed sustainability ratings for global REITs, from the period 2011–2014. The 2014 GRESB Survey covered 56,000 buildings with an aggregate value of USD $2.1 trillion.

Key findings of the report include:

  • A higher sustainability ranking of REITs in the annual GRESB Survey correlates to superior financial performance. Both the returns on assets and returns on equity of REITs with high GRESB scores outperform their peers.
  • Adjusted for risk, there is a significant link between portfolio sustainability indicators and REIT stock market performance.
  • The study establishes for the first time that investing in sustainability pays off for investors in REITs, enhancing operational performance and lowering risk exposure and volatility.
  • There remains significant room for improvement in the sustainability performance of REITs. Despite improvements in the REITs ratings in recent years, the median score of rated real estate companies in 2014 was 58 out of 100, underlining the vast untapped potential for further optimization of most REITs' sustainability practices.

"The message has never been clearer: in real estate, smart business managers are investing in sustainability," said José María Figueres, chair of the board of Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room. "This study complements thought leadership and direct industry engagements that prove time and time again that what's good for the environment is good for business, and that sustainable buildings offer higher returns for real estate investors."

"GRESB provides institutional investors with the tools they need to actively engage with their real estate investments, with the aim to improve the sustainability performance of their investment portfolios, and the global property sector at large," said Nils Kok, co-founder and CEO of GRESB. "The positive relationship between GRESB scores and REIT performance documented in this report strengthens the foundational argument that engagement and focus on sustainability performance is critical to achieve a long-term competitive advantage for real estate investors and owners."

"Previous studies have established links between sustainability and improved cash flow at the building level, but this study widens the lens to the level of institutional investors," said Franz Fuerst, faculty member in the Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge. "Using datasets provided by GRESB, we evaluated key financial indicators of REITS and uncovered a clear link between building portfolio sustainability and stock market performance.

GRESB Introduces Green Bond Guidelines for the Real Estate Sector

Amsterdam, June 3, 2015 – GRESB today released Green Bond Guidelines for the Real Estate Sector. The Guidelines complement the Green Bond Principles (GBP) by providing specific real estate and construction sector guidance for capital market participants when originating and/or investing in green bonds.

Global green bond issuance tripled to $36.6 billion in 2014, with yet another tripling to $100 billion projected in 2015. To date five major listed property companies, all of which participate in the annual GRESB benchmark, have issued green bonds. This new source of financing allows issuers to diversify their investor base and direct proceeds to projects with improved environmental outcomes.

The Green Bond Guidelines for the real estate sector have been developed in response to a need expressed by investors and early market participants who seek clarification and further guidance on how to identify, report and communicate outcomes of green bonds related to real estate.

Nicholas Pfaff, Senior Director at the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) remarked, “The GBP Executive Committee welcomes these Guidelines from GRESB which will be posted on the GBP website as a resource for GBP Use of Proceeds.”

Suzanne Buchta, Head of Green Bonds Americas at Bank of America notes, “The real estate sector is a logical starting point for sector specific green bond guidance. Robust third party certification standards for green buildings are well-established globally, and provide a ready framework to tap into for communicating impacts to investors.”

The Guidelines specify reporting concepts, timing and metrics for Green Property Bonds from origination to maturity in accordance with established real estate industry protocols, and are applicable to each bond type outlined in the 2015 Green Bond Principles. Issuers, underwriters and investors can use these Guidelines to identify Eligible Green Projects, specify appropriate metrics, and determine reporting constructs for green bonds related to real estate.

Nils Kok, CEO of GRESB: “Green bonds are attracting new types of capital to the property sector, with market growth set to benefit developers, owners, investors, as well as the environment. As a new source of financing linked to environmental impacts, Green Property Bonds have the potential to further enhance the sustainability performance of the global real estate sector.”

In developing the real estate Green Bond Guidelines, GRESB has drawn on the expertise and recommendations of various industry stakeholders including leading institutional investors, listed property companies, green bond underwriters, and several of the largest green building certification bodies worldwide. GRESB will convene a working group comprised of existing and potential Green Property Bond issuers, underwriters and investors to provide a forum for ongoing input, and create a catalyst for market growth.

New GRESB Members and Partners

Kilroy Realty Corporation (KRC), a publicly traded real estate investment trust and member of the S&P MidCap 400 Index, has more than 65 years’ experience owning, developing, acquiring and managing real estate assets in West Coast real estate markets. As of March 31, 2015, the company’s stabilized portfolio totaled 13.0 million square feet of office properties, all located in the coastal regions of greater Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. Kilroy Realty's sustainability vision is a portfolio that minimizes the environmental impact of the construction and operation of buildings while maximizing tenant comfort, health and financial savings.

Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LPT) is a $8.9 billion real estate investment trust which owns 106 million square feet of industrial and office space throughout the United States and the United Kingdom (as of December 31, 2014). Founded in 1972 and headquartered outside of Philadelphia, Liberty develops, acquires, leases and manages properties with the mission to enhance people's lives through extraordinary work environments. Liberty is committed to the sustainable design, development and operation of their real estate portfolio and strives to create high performance work environments that limit resource consumption, improve building performance and promote human health and productivity. To date the company has completed or has under construction 88 LEED Buildings, 140 ENERGY STAR building certifications, and is a four-time ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award winner.

NABERS, the National Australian Built Environment Rating Scheme, is the most widely used building rating tool in Australia, with over 2,000 accredited ratings every year, including ratings for offices, hotels, shopping centres and data centres.  It measures the environmental performance of buildings, tenancies and homes by by using measured and verified performance information, such as utility bills, and converting them into an easy to understand star rating scale from one to six stars. The program has also been licensed in New Zealand.

Updated terms & conditions for GRESB participants.
As of May 20, 2015, GRESB has updated its terms & conditions for all participants in the GRESB Survey. These changes reflect 1) that GRESB will provide all participants with an overview of the Investor Members that have access to their data, and 2) that access to GRESB data, beyond eligible Investor Members, is limited to employees of the GRESB team.
GRESB Launches Survey for Real Estate Debt Funds

GRESB released the 2015 GRESB Debt Survey on May 1. Serving real estate equity investors with ESG data since its launch in 2009, GRESB will now also assist institutional investors in real estate debt. The debt assessment will apply a standardized reporting framework, enabling investors to extend ESG integration to their real estate debt investments.

Institutional investors are engaging more and more with their debt investments and requesting that sustainability be integrated into lending practices.  However, they recognize that the integration of ESG issues in real estate debt decision-making and associated business processes is still an emerging practice, and likely to be less evolved relative to real estate equity investing.

“Data is critical in making informed investment decisions and that data needs to be collected in a uniform manner. Townsend uses GRESB data to assess and monitor ESG activities across distinct client portfolios. Our ultimate objective is to encourage a wider participation in data collection to ensure consistency and depth of the database, to improve its integrity,” says Jennifer Young, Principal at The Townsend Group.

The GRESB Debt Survey has been specifically tailored to the functions and processes of real estate lenders and has been developed to capture both sustainability engagement and performance. In 2015, the first year of the GRESB Debt Survey, participation will be open to private real estate funds that identify their primary investment strategy as debt. Participating real estate debt funds will be an integral part of further evolving the assessment process, content and the future of sustainability integration within real estate debt.

In addition to governance issues related to fund management, policy and disclosure, the GRESB Debt Survey focuses on sustainability considerations at the collateral and borrower-level, the sustainability touch points for a real estate lender and the greatest channels for sustainability integration and impact in lending decision-making.

“Collectively, real estate lenders can have a major influence on the global environmental and social impact of the real estate sector. Through the extension of credit, lenders enable development, investment and borrower activity in a sector that consumes 40% of energy and contributes 30% of greenhouse gas emissions globally,” says Nils Kok, CEO of GRESB. “By capturing the ESG performance of real estate investors through the GRESB Survey, and lenders by way of the GRESB Debt Survey, GRESB now serves the full spectrum of real estate capital providers.”

New Members and Supporters

Normandy Real Estate Partners is a real estate investment and management firm that owns and operates one of the largest diversified real estate portfolios in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It has acquired or developed over 25 million square feet of commercial space, 2,500 residential units, 1,100 hotel rooms, and numerous land development sites. Their investments are acquired and managed through a series of funds with approximately $1.5 billion of equity capital, representing over $5 billion in total capitalization. Normandy has developed and implemented sustainable best practices across its portfolio, including green cleaning and purchasing, sustainable water management, comprehensive recycling, and strict attention to energy efficiency.

DTZ Investors is a research-driven investment house, which has provided specialist real estate fund management services to clients for more than 45 years. The company manages more than £7 billion of assets for a range of high profile institutional investors seeking superior risk-adjusted returns from property investing. With headquarters in London, DTZ Investors operates in Europe, and has more than 120 investment professionals who create a diverse platform of experience, covering investment strategy, fund and asset management, property management and financial reporting. In recognition of the importance of strong Environmental and Social Governance, DTZ Investors has developed a detailed Responsible Property Investment strategy (RPI) which protects and enhances fund and asset performance for their clients.

Growthpoint Properties Australia (GOZ) is an ASX listed A-REIT that specializes in the ownership and management of quality investment properties. GOZ owns a diversified portfolio of 51 office and industrial properties located in every state in Australia as well as Canberra valued at approximately 2.2 billion Australian dollars. It has a philosophy to be a ‘pure landlord’, with all or most of its income derived from rent under leases with quality tenants of commercial real estate. This philosophy is supported by its investment mandate to invest in the office, industrial and retail property sectors. GOZ is 65% owned by South Africa’s largest listed property group, Growthpoint Properties, with the balance of the register owned primarily by Australian and offshore institutional investors.

The Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) is a collaboration of the UK’s leading commercial property owners, representing over £180bn AUM, who are working together to improve the sustainability performance of existing buildings. Their aim is to enable market transformation through sustainability leadership and knowledge sharing across the property industry.

2015/2016 Development Topics
GRESB is constantly evolving the benchmark survey to reflect the sustainability developments in the global real estate market. This year, GRESB has selected several topics for focused research with the potential to refine existing or introduce new questions. These topics include community engagement, health and well-being, supply chain and performance indicators.

GRESB members will have the opportunities to participate in the research and discussion on the development topics in three new working groups. More information to follow.
2015 GRESB Benchmark to Increase ESG Transparency in Real Estate

GRESB released its 2015 Survey on April 1. The GRESB data is used by almost 50 institutional investors, representing USD 6 trillion in assets under management. This year, GRESB delivers a stable survey, supported by newly developed tools to streamline the sustainability data reporting process for the growing number of participating property companies and funds.

Institutional investors increasingly recognize the materiality of sustainability information for their decision-making, and demand reliable, top-quality ESG data on their assets and portfolios. “GRESB provides us with detailed information on how companies actually implement sustainability. It’s an important part of our investment process and helps us compare and contrast the companies we own and that we plan to own,” says Patrick Kanters, Managing Director Global Real Estate & Infrastructure of APG Asset Management.

GRESB continuously develops new products and services to ensure and facilitate the integrity of the data and assessment process. “We are contributing to GRESB because we want to know how well we are doing in our sustainability performance and where we need to make improvements. It also provides us with a uniform framework to report to our investors. Reporting is important, responsibility is important, and GRESB is a leading factor in that,” says Pieter Hendrikse, CEO EMEA of CBRE Global Investors.

In 2014, GRESB covered 637 funds representing USD 2.1 trillion in property value. Since its inception in 2009, GRESB has rated more than 1,000 REITs and funds globally on behalf of close to 50 institutional investors that on aggregate represent some USD 6 trillion. Nils Kok, CEO of GRESB: “The benchmark has become a global standard in the property industry, covering both private equity real estate funds and the listed property industry. Reporting to GRESB is for many companies a logical step to communicate sustainability KPIs and initiatives in a structured manner.”

The 2015 Survey comes with refined questions and definitions, but consistent content, allowing participants to leverage their previous experience and benefit from new features, including pre-filling previous answers, automated connections from GRESB partner data providers and a new data converter for EPA Portfolio Manager. The automated data feed, developed in partnership with GRESB Data Associate Members allows users to directly load data from participating data providers’ data collection systems to automatically complete the Performance Indicators section of the GRESB Survey. In collaboration with the US EPA, GRESB has created a converter to use Energy Star Portfolio Manager data for GRESB submissions, using a simple process.

The 2015 GRESB Survey is open from April 1 until July 1, 2015. The GRESB results will be released on September 2. For more information on the Survey visit www.gresb.com.

2015 Survey opens on April 1

The 2015 GRESB Survey opens for submissions on April 1 -- the GRESB data input Portal will be available from this date. The Survey closes on July 1, 2015. Prior to submission participants can request a Response Check. The deadline for Response Checks is June 15.

The 2015 GRESB Survey (available in both PDF format and in an Excel speadsheet) and Survey Guidance are already available to assist participants with preparations for data collection. In addition, GRESB has an updated Participant Guide that explains more about the GRESB 2015 Survey and submission process.

The 2015 Survey remains stable, no questions have been added or deleted. GRESB has developed new tools to help streamline the Survey process and help participants submit high quality data. You can access and download the relevant tools on the GRESB website. 

Australia’s authority on sustainable buildings and communities partners with GRESB to ensure world-class benchmarking

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has formed a new partnership with GRESB, the leading global sustainability benchmark for real estate portfolios, to advance reporting on environmental, social and economic performance in Australia’s real estate sector.

“Increasingly, investors are demanding reliable data on energy efficiency and sustainability to help guide their decision-making. The Green Building Council of Australia is determined to play a role in the global discussion around benchmarking on behalf of its members, and to ensure Australia maintains its position as a global leader in sustainability,” says the GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew.

GRESB assesses the environmental, social and governance performance of property funds globally, including corporate sustainability strategy, policies and objectives, environmental performance monitoring, and the use of high-quality voluntary rating systems such as Green Star.

In 2014, GRESB covered 637 companies and funds representing $2.1 trillion in property value. Australia had 44 participants, with a gross asset value of $131 billion.

“There is no doubt that buildings will continue to be a focus of environmental legislation. Green building certification programs have become institutionalised in the real estate market, with more than 800 Green Star-certified buildings across Australia. This trend of increasing transparency and enhanced sustainability performance at the asset level will meet investors’ need for reliable, investment grade data on sustainability,” says Ruben Langbroek, GRESB’s Head of Asia Pacific.

“Reporting on sustainability performance at the portfolio and asset level will increase the speed with which sustainability best practices diffuse into the global real estate industry. This will enhance and protect the value of real estate investments, and ultimately contribute to a more efficient and more sustainable built environment,” Mr Langbroek adds.

The 2014 GRESB results confirmed Australia and New Zealand lead in overall performance, with Lend Lease and ISPT announced in a list of 11 global leaders.

“Increasingly, investors are demanding global comparability and transparency. Aligning the number of global labels and benchmarks across geographies is critical. GRESB and the GBCA have the opportunity through this partnership to benchmark sustainability and non-financial ESG metrics, “says Kylie Rampa, Managing Director of Lend Lease Investment Management.

“This new partnership will provide GBCA members with more value, and ensure they are part of the conversation about the future of sustainability benchmarking in Australia and around the world,” Ms Madew concludes.

BRE and GRESB Partner to Promote Sustainability in Commercial Real Estate

BRE, the organization responsible for the marketing and development of the BREEAM green building certification scheme, today announces its partnership with GRESB, the leading global sustainability benchmark for real estate portfolios. Collaboration between the two global organizations will promote their shared goals of advancing transparency and sustainability performance in the real estate industry.

The BREEAM family of schemes is used in more than 60 countries, with several country-specific BREEAM schemes operated across Europe. BREEAM encourages integrative design, construction, and operation that promotes low carbon, low environmental impact buildings and communities. As a partner of GRESB, BRE will also serve on the GRESB Benchmark Committee, providing strategic, commercial and technical input regarding the GRESB assessment process and related products and services.

“BREEAM is a globally-recognised sustainability standard for buildings which provides proven economic, environmental and social benefits to property owners and occupiers. It currently provides a valuable route to achieving credits under the GRESB benchmark and our hope is to extend its reach under the partnership so more clients can realise the benefits on new and existing properties. Our collaboration demonstrates that GRESB recognizes all green building standards and schemes that have credibility and rigour behind them. We look forward to a fruitful relationship,” said Gavin Dunn, Director of BREEAM.

GRESB assesses environmental, social, and governance attributes and performance of property funds around the world. In 2014, GRESB covered 637 funds representing $2.1 trillion in property value. The GRESB benchmark addresses issues including corporate sustainability strategy, policies and objectives, environmental performance monitoring, and the use of high-quality voluntary rating schemes such as BREEAM. Close to 25% of GRESB participants have one or more BREEAM-certified assets in their portfolio.

“Commercial real estate investors are increasingly demanding information on their assets and portfolios to better understand immediate sustainability risks such as flooding and exposure to energy efficiency regulation, but also to allocate capital to sustainability-related investment opportunities, such as the repositioning of inefficient assets that might otherwise become obsolete. Our partnership with BRE helps both organizations to further deliver on the joint mission to advance sustainability in the built environment to enhance and protect shareholder value,” said Nils Kok, CEO and co-founder of GRESB.

The partnership between BRE and GRESB will help improve connections between asset- and portfolio-level assessments, streamlining the flow of relevant, actionable information.

New Members and Partners

The Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) is the third largest institutional investment manager in Australia, serving 90 institutional investors in Australia and internationally, with more than $74 billion in funds under management including over $10bn in property. QIC is a government owned corporation based in Brisbane. It became a signatory to the United Nations-backed 'Principles for Responsible Investment' initiative in 2008. “At QIC, we are committed to delivering outcomes for our clients in line with their investment objectives, and creating value through sustainable innovation. Responsible Investment and continually improving our ESG practices is an important focus, and our decision to join GRESB as a member is part of this commitment. We look forward to working more closely with GRESB going forward.”

Kimco Realty Corp. is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns and operates North America’s largest publicly traded portfolio of neighborhood and community shopping centers. The company owns interests in 814 shopping centers comprising 117 million square feet of leasable space across the USA, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and South America. The company’s inaugural 2013 Social Responsibility Report articulates its approach to a wide range of environmental, social and governance issues. “We believe that corporate responsibility leadership requires both action and transparency, and over a few short years GRESB has become the de facto standard for communicating sustainability performance to key stakeholders. As a member of GRESB, we will engage more deeply with the investment community on these issues and contribute to the further development of reporting standards in this important emerging area,” says Will Teichman, Director of Sustainability.

CeGeREAL is a French REIT based in Paris, France, listed on Euronext Paris since 2006. It invests in modern office properties located on the outskirts of Paris that offer high quality amenities and environmental performance. Their portfolio’s appraisal value is €900 million. CeGeREAL is France’s first 100% Green REIT with a portfolio that has been entirely certified for its environmental qualities.

2015 GRESB Survey Pre-release

GRESB is pleased to announce that the 2015 Survey will be officially launched on April 1, 2015. Ahead of the launch GRESB is releasing a Survey preview to help participants prepare for the 2015 Survey process. 

The 2015 GRESB Survey should be very familiar to previous participants. No questions have been added or removed, refinements were restricted to clarifying definitions and requirements to improve consistency, and for some questions the provided answers have been restructured for clarity. In addition, the Survey Portal will offer new functionalities to help participants make efficient and accurate Survey submissions. The result is a stable, clearer assessment supported by new tools to make submission faster and easier.

2015 Survey Developments – Consultation Period Outcomes

In conjunction with the real estate industry, GRESB continuously works on refining the Survey, to keep up to date with the latest sustainability developments. Approximately 40 property companies, fund managers and consultants provided feedback during the 2014 Consultation Period. Feedback was given on the entire Survey submission and validation process, as well as on all supporting and output materials and associated services.

While the 2015 Survey will remain stable, key developments in the Survey, Guidance, Survey Portal and data validation process are outlined in detail in the2014 GRESB Consultation Period Feedback – Results document, which can also be found on the GRESB website. These developments are based on the 2014 Consultation Period feedback and on input from GRESB Members, including user groups, regional Benchmark Committees and the Advisory Board, throughout the survey and assessment period. To assist participants with their preparation for the data and information collection, GRESB will pre-release the 2015 GRESB Survey in early February, in advance of the official launch on April 1.

New Members

Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP is a professional investment fiduciary specializing in the acquisition and management of commercial property throughout the UK and continental Europe on behalf of major institutional clients – either directly for single-client accounts or through the group’s series of tax-efficient, commingled investment funds. As of September 2014 Rockspring had gross assets of €7.2bn in funds under management and undrawn commitments and investments in 15 European countries. Fully independent and 100% owned by its senior executives and employees, Rockspring is headquartered in London and has a network of eight European offices.

Value Retail PLC develops and operates luxury outlet shopping villages in Europe. Value Retail PLC has a joint venture, Value Retail China, to provide outlet solutions for China’s metropolitan markets. The company was founded in 1992 and is based in London, United Kingdom. To date, it has developed nine European villages with locations in Milan, Munich, Dublin, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Brussels, Antwerp, Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Frankfurt.

EP&T Global provides environmental and energy saving solutions for the commercial, retail, health and industrial property sector in Australia, the Middle East, Asia and the UK. The company assists organizations and companies with the management of their energy, water and waste using the EDGE technology, developed by EP&T. It conducts an annual assessment of its environmental impact as a part of its corporate environmental policy.

Energy Deck is a web-based energy analytics and engagement platform that enables organizations to track and manage their energy consumption. It is based on open-source technologies that combine data analytics and benchmarking with a crowdsourcing approach to sharing data, knowledge and experience.

Energy Profiles is a sustainability data management, energy engineering and consulting firm serving commercial, retail, industrial and multi-residential building owners and managers. It provides energy information management systems and reporting for a commercial portfolio of more than 2000 properties and $400 million of annual costs.

GRESB Announces New Board Members

Representatives from Norges Bank Investment Management and NAREIT Appointed as Non-Executive Directors

GRESB today announced the appointment of Mie Holstad, Chief Administrative Officer at Norges Bank Investment Management, and Steven A. Wechsler, CEO and President of NAREIT, as non-executive directors on the Board, effective immediately. With the appointment of Ms. Holstad and Mr. Wechsler the GRESB Board now includes seven directors, one executive and six non-executive, three of whom represent GRESB investor members. In addition, Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of the GBCI, was appointed as Chairman of the GRESB Board.

“Mie, Steve and Rick bring valuable experience and perspectives to our Board,” said Nils Kok, CEO of GRESB. “Their expertise, industry leadership and commitment to sustainability and responsible investment in real estate will benefit GRESB’s development, and further advance the sustainability performance of the commercial real estate sector.”

Mie Holstad is Chief Administrative Officer Real Estate of Norges Bank Investment Management, manager of the Government Pension Fund Global. The fund’s assets under management is approximately 860 billion dollars, and its mission is to safeguard and build financial wealth for future generations in Norway. Ms. Holstad joined the organization in September 2010 as Advisor in Control and Compliance. In 2011, she joined the Real Estate Asset Management team. Prior to joining Norges Bank Investment Management, Holstad worked with PwC, both within audit and advisory services.

Steven Wechsler is President and Chief Executive Officer of NAREIT(National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts), the worldwide representative voice for REITs and publicly traded real estate companies with an interest in U.S. real estate and capital markets. He also serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Real Estate and Urbanization and as a Board Member of the American Council on Capital Formation.

Appointed as Chairman of the GRESB Board, Rick Fedrizzi is the CEO of theU.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and CEO of the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). The GBCI was established as an independent certification and credentialing body in 2008.

ANREV Annual Review: Greater Push from Investors for GRESB participation

Investors in Asia are putting more and more emphasis on sustainability and requesting their fund managers to participate in annual assessments, with preference for GRESB, according to a newly released annual review published as a collaboration between ANREV and PwC. Interviews with investors and fund managers in the region show that the perspective on sustainability in Asia has generally evolved to become a core part of some fund and fund managers' business strategy and philosophy. The 2014 GRESB results show that the overall performance of property companies and funds in Asia increased most significantly, compared to other regions, by 23% from a score of 37 in 2014 to 46 in 2014.

The second annual "ANREV Review of Investor Reporting Trends Asia Pacific 2014" provides an update on current market practices in investor reporting within the non-listed real estate fund industry, and in particular to what extent the reporting complies with the new INREV Guidelines issued earlier this year. The full report is available on the ANREV website for members only.

GRESB in the News

“Ignoring Sustainability Means Losing Money”

GRESB’s CEO Nils Kok talked to Privcap RE, a digital media platform serving the global institutional real estate investment market, about benchmarking real estate fund managers’ sustainability practices across portfolios and across risk spectrum, the need for lenders to underwrite sustainability in order to reduce risk and how the rising interest in Green Bonds can revolutionize investment in sustainability.

Engagement among investors has increased and the materiality of sustainability is starting to grow:

“[In commercial real estate in the US, if you are not “green” certified] you are really the minority, you are missing out on the blue-chip tenants that you really want to have in your buildings. So I think that awareness continues to increase. Investors are also starting to become more sophisticated in how they start to use ESG information in their investment decision-making.”

Among the surprises from the latest GRESB results, he quotes:

“It’s the mainstream managers that are integrating sustainability into their business. And among them, it’s not just core – 61% core, 26% value-added and 13% opportunistic. There’s no reason to think that the capitalization of efficiency doesn’t affect an opportunistic manager.”

You can access the full interview here. (Subscription required.)


“Mapping the Sustainability Efforts of Real Estate Companies”

GRESB’s Head of Sustainability, Elsbeth Quispel talked to Miljö Rapporten, a leading Swedish journal for sustainability professionals. In the interview Elsbeth talks about how Scandinavian real estate companies, known to be at the forefront of sustainability, compare to the rest of Europe. Overall, they score higher on Implementation & Measurement, but lower on Management & Policy.

You can access the article here. (In Swedish).

New GRESB Members and Supporters

DBJ was established under the Development Bank of Japan Inc. Law as part of the Japanese Government’s efforts to reform policy finance. The successor to the Development Bank of Japan, DBJ’s purpose is to maintain the foundations of investment and financing functions of long-term business funds in Japan and internationally. "The stream of green buildings is now inevitable in the world. As a pioneer of green finance in Japan, I believe that there is a common philosophy between DBJ and GRESB, and would like to cultivate new horizons of the two entities," says Shiro Yasumatsu from the Green Building Team of DBJ.

Wereldhave NV is a Dutch listed property investment company, which invests in commercial property in northwest Europe and in sustainable offices in Paris. Its focus is on easily accessible shopping centers, providing for 90% of shopping needs, strong international tenants, fully embedded food and beverage functions and easy accessibility. Wereldhave has been an early adopter of corporate sustainability and since 2013 has included CSR into its overall strategy and operations as an integrated part of doing business.

The Link Real Estate Investment Trust is the first real estate investment trust in Hong Kong and currently Asia’s largest REIT and one of the world’s largest retail focused REITs in terms of market capitalization. It is wholly owned by private and institutional investors. The Link REIT's portfolio consists of retail and car park spaces, based on the assets formerly operated by the Hong Kong Housing Authority.

Health Care REIT, Inc. is a real estate investment trust that invests in seniors housing and health care real estate. The company also provides an extensive array of property management and development services. As of mid-2014, the company’s broadly diversified portfolio consisted of 1,224 properties in 46 states, the United Kingdom and Canada.

EnergyDeck is a web-based energy analytics and engagement platform focused on enabling users to identify and act on energy efficiency opportunities. It combines data analytics and benchmarking with a crowdsourcing approach to sharing data, knowledge and experience.

The Japan Sustainable Building Consortium (JSBC) has joined GRESB as a supporter. The JSBC is an organization established to develop Japan’s original assessment system of building environmental efficiency, as well as to promote it through collaborations with the academic, industrial and governmental sectors.

GRESB’s CEO Nils Kok Presents at Greenbuild 2014

GRESB’s CEO Nils Kok presented at Greenbuild 2014 in New Orleans, the US, at a panel, discussing the investor perspective on sustainability in real estate portfolios. Greenbuild is the world’s largest annual conference and expo dedicated to green building, bringing together industry leaders, experts and professionals.

The panel included also Chris Pyke, COO of GRESB and VP of Research for the USGBC, and Dan Winters, Senior Research Fellow at USGBC. The presentations focused on the 2014 GRESB results and the approach of institutional investors in integrating sustainability into real estate investment, as well as insights from GBIG, a prominent web-based platform providing project-level transparency, market context, and rich timelines for green buildings worldwide.

The session introduced the audience to the capabilities of GRESB and GBIG as complementary platforms for data collection, analysis, and communication with the investment community. The panelists discussed new trends in portfolio and asset-level data collection and emerging data-driven tools helping investors drive market transformation. 

New GRESB Members

The UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust (the “Trust”) provides health care benefits for 755,000 eligible UAW retirees of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, along with their eligible dependents. Launched in 2010, the Trust is the largest non-governmental purchaser of retiree health care in the U.S. The Trust has $56 billion in investment assets that are used to purchase benefits for members and, invested to ensure coverage in the years ahead for current and future retirees.

“The Trust is a responsible steward of the fund’s assets,” said Avtar Vasu, interim chief investment officer of the Trust. “As both a purchaser of health care and an investor, the Trust promotes best practices in corporate governance at companies in which the Trust invests to protect and enhance long-term shareholder value for the benefit of its retiree members. The Trust’s participation with GRESB aligns with its investment philosophy.”

Clarion Partners is a leading U.S. real estate investment manager with a presence in major markets across the United States, as well as São Paulo, Brazil, London, England and Mexico City, Mexico. The firm manages investments of $30.5 billion in total assets, in high quality properties from the five key property types: office, retail, industrial, multifamily residential and hotel . It’s Clarion’s mission of responsible investing “to seek exceptional investment returns by responsibly investing and managing high performance, high quality, environmentally responsible, healthy and productive places to live, work, shop and stay that are beneficial to our local communities,” says Richard H. Schaupp, Head of Sustainability Task Force.

PE INTERNATIONAL is a sustainability software and consulting company providing organizations with tools, in-depth knowledge and a wide spectrum of experience in making both corporate operations and products more sustainable. Applied methods include implementing management systems, developing sustainability indicators, life cycle assessment (LCA), carbon footprint, design for environment (DfE) and environmental product declarations (EPD), technology benchmarking, or eco-efficiency analysis, emissions management, clean development mechanism projects and strategic CSR consulting. Over 2500 companies and institutes worldwide use PE INTERNATIONAL’s consultancy and software.

GRESB Joins Forces with GBCI

GRESB is joining forces with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), a non-profit organization providing independent certification of buildings and professional credentialing processes globally.

While GBCI has historically focused on measuring the sustainability performance of commercial, residential, and public buildings, GRESB has established itself as the industry standard for transparency at the real estate investment enterprise and portfolio level.

“Joining forces with GBCI enables us to deliver on the demands of both the property industry as well as the financial markets,” said Nils Kok, CEO of GRESB. “Together, we will be able to execute our roadmap towards investment grade data at a higher speed. This move is a logical next step in providing comprehensive sustainability information to the real estate sector, from individual assets to the portfolio level.”

GRESB is an industry-driven initiative that plays an instrumental role for institutional investors and industry associations. While GRESB will continue to independently conduct its annual Survey, the merger is an important step in its strategy to advance transparency in the sustainability performance of the real estate sector and enhance the metrics that constitute the most important sustainability considerations for their stakeholders.

Patrick Kanters, MD Real Estate & Infrastructure at APG Asset Management and non-executive director on the board of GRESB: “Institutional investors continue to seek for ways to better assess the value of sustainability in real estate. The combined sustainability expertise, networks and resources will further GRESB’s unique offering, while the continued, active involvement of institutional investors on GRESB’s Board ensures that future demands of the market and stakeholders will be met.” On behalf of PGGM Investments, Mathieu Elshout will be appointed to the Board as a non-executive director.

Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of GBCI: “Since 2000, GBCI has evaluated and certified more than 10 billion square feet of green building space around the globe, and that number is increasing. We are excited about the possibilities from combining our network, knowledge and skills with GRESB, enabling both organizations to deliver better service and support, research, education and training.”

The merger will provide the global real estate industry with a powerful set of integrated sustainability solutions, linking real time performance, asset certification, and portfolio-level reporting to deliver investment-grade data. These solutions will leverage GBCI’s established expertise providing rigorous third-party review, verification and training, which will be extended to the GRESB Survey, complementing GRESB’s unique capabilities to assess and benchmark critical aspects of environmental performance, social responsibility, and corporate governance.

2014 GRESB Consultation Period - October 1 till November 14
The 2014 Consultation Period starts today October 1 and will continue through November 14. It is public and open to all GRESB stakeholders, including participants, members and partners.

The goal of the Consultation Period is to collect feedback from 2014 Survey participants and involved stakeholders on their experience with the Survey process, the supporting materials and services and on the delivery of the results and the output materials, such as Scorecards, Benchmark Reports, etc. The feedback will help us further refine and streamline the submission process in order to facilitate better user experience and improved quality of the data submitted. In addition, during the Consultation Period we would like to discuss how we can help you further with interpreting GRESB data and best utilizing our products and services in preparation for the 2015 Survey. GRESB will keep the content of the Survey stable and does not plan to make any material changes to it.

Please provide your feedback by November 14 by answering the questions in the Consultation Period form. Participants can access the form by logging in to their account, using their individual username and password via the GRESB Portal. In addition, a PDF version is publicly available also on the GRESB website and can be sent to info@gresb.com.

The GRESB team will review and analyze the feedback received during the Consultation Period, together with input we have collected throughout the 2014 Survey period, as well as input provided by the GRESB Advisory Board, Benchmark Committee and the user groups. The outcomes will be communicated on the GRESB website in mid-January 2015. 

GRESB's Head of Sustainability Elsbeth Quispel Presents at Ecobouw 2014

GRESB’s Head of Sustainability, Elsbeth Quispel took part in Ecobouw 2014 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Ecobow is a three day event connecting real estate industry experts, including architects, engineers and builders to introduce and exchange ideas on the latest in sustainable design, construction and operations.  

Elsbeth gave a presentation and led a discussion on the main trends and outcomes of the 2014 GRESB results for the Dutch real estate sector and the developments in its overall score. “The average Dutch score for Management & Policy is relatively high, although it hasn’t increased. Dutch real estate companies and funds demonstrate well-developed sustainability governance and processes, with a relatively high score on Management, Policy & Disclosure and Risk Assessments and Stakeholder Engagement,” Elsbeth commented. ”There are areas for improvement, including Stakeholder Engagement, in particular when it comes to tenant engagement and the supply chain, which is key to further improving sustainability performance of real estate portfolios in the Netherlands and also related to the Implementation  & Measurement score. The challenge for Dutch GRESB participants and the Dutch real estate market is how to use technical knowledge and implement sustainable measures, working together with the supply chain to further improve sustainability within real estate portfolios.”

GRESB in the News

GRESB Executive Director Nils Kok discussed the 2014 GRESB results in a video interview with Matt Bechard on REIT.com at NAREIT headquarters in Washington D.C. in the United States. In Sarah Borchersen-Keto's article “GRESB Survey Results Underscore Increased Response Rate” and an interview excerpt Kok highlights the most significant changes in this year’s Survey, including increase in the response rate, a strong improvement in the sustainability performance of the global real estate industry as a whole, and REITs strongly outperforming private equity funds.  

Here are some highlights of recent news coverage of GRESB:
Real Estate Sector Continues to Lead on Sustainability: GRESB
Amanda White, Top 1000 Funds
Survey Shows Strong Improvement in Sustainability in Real Estate Industry
Jana Viktoria, Benzinga
Listed Sector Outperforms Non-Listed on Sustainability – Study
Russell Handy, IPE Real Estate
GRESB 2014: Australia Still Global Sustainability Leader
Cameron Jewell and Tina Perinotto, The Fifth Estate  
Property Industry Celebrates Australia’s GRESB Results
The Fifth Estate  
Asia Beats N. America in Green Real Estate Survey
Chan Yi Wen, The Business Times  
Australia Leads the World in Green Building
White Paper: Commercial Real Estate Sustainability Reporting and GRESB
Matt Ellis, Measurabl  
How Can Global Real Estate Reporting Shape a Greener World? 
Nils Kok, GreenBiz
2014 GRESB Results: Commercial Property Sector Rises to Sustainability Challenge
ESG reporting becomes standard practice in real estate investments

The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) has announced the release of the 2014 GRESB results. A leading global source of portfolio-level sustainability data for the real estate industry, the dynamic benchmark provides more than 40 institutional investors, representing USD 5.5 trillion in assets under management, with timely, actionable information about the sustainability performance of property portfolios. The 2014 GRESB results not only demonstrate that sustainability reporting has improved, both in coverage and in quality of the data submitted, but also show significant development in the overall sustainability performance of benchmark participants.  

  • 637 listed property companies and private equity real estate funds submitted data, covering 56,000 buildings with an aggregate value of USD 2.1 trillion; 
  • GRESB covers 52 percent of the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Index, with 38 percent in Asia Pacific, 76 percent in Europe, and 51 percent in North America;
  • The overall GRESB score increased by 9 points and is now 47 (out of 100), mainly driven by an increase in the Implementation & Measurement score (+23 percent);
  • Listed property companies obtain on average a 7 points higher score compared to private funds. The overall score for listed companies is 52;       
  • Collectively, in 2013, the commercial real estate sector reduced its energy consumption by about 0.8 percent, carbon emissions fell by 0.3 percent, and water consumption fell by 2.3 percent;      
  • Regionally, the overall performance of property companies and funds in Asia increased most significantly, by 23 percent to 46 points, while Australia/NZ still lead in overall sustainability performance, with a score of 61. The average score in North America is 44 and the average score in Europe is 47. 
Five years after the launch of the benchmark in 2009, GRESB participation has become standard practice for most of the world’s fund managers and listed property companies. There has been a more than 220 percent increase in response rate since 2009. Sustainability and its broad spectrum of aspects are annually assessed by GRESB, focusing on: executive decisions, plans and policies; performance measurement; and stakeholder engagement. In consultation with the real estate industry, GRESB has further developed the set of metrics that constitute the most important sustainability issues for its more than 130 members. ”The need for reliable, investment grade data continues to increase with the advent of capital market interest in the topic of energy efficiency and sustainability in real estate, and GRESB will be at the forefront of providing increasingly granular, high-quality data to the industry,” says Nils Kok, GRESB’s Executive Director.  

The data provided by GRESB offers transparency, allowing pension funds and other institutional investors and lenders to incorporate responsible investment principles into their decision-making. “We believe that there is sufficient data available to show that sustainability, and especially environmental matters are increasing their impact when forecasting investment returns. Being part of GRESB helps build our knowledge of these matters amongst like-minded investors that share that view,” says Phil Clark, Head of Property Investment for AEGON Group’s Kames Capital.  

For the global real estate industry, accurate benchmarking at the portfolio level will increase competition and the speed with which sustainability best practices diffuse into the market. “TIAA-CREF is committed to the principles of socially responsible investing, and its demonstrated leadership in sustainable operations has generated measurable improvements in energy efficiency, cost savings, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. GRESB enables us to quantify our relative performance for our investors and other stakeholders,” says Nicholas E. Stolatis, Sr. Director of Global Sustainability & Enterprise Initiatives of Global Real Estate at TIAA-CREF Financial Services.

New GRESB Members
Several new members have joined GRESB in recent weeks:

Valad Europe
Valad Europe is a leading independent diversified real estate investment manager with a network of local offices throughout Europe. Its core business is value-adding real estate investment management with local asset management teams, specializing in multi-let commercial real estate. Valad Europe manages €4.5 billion of investment and development assets across its funds and mandates in Europe, comprising 500 properties and 4,000 tenants in 13 European countries. You can find out more about the company’s approach to sustainability here.

Sonae Sierra
Sonae Sierra, together with its subsidiaries, invests, manages, and develops shopping centers. The company is involved in procurement, conceptual development, architecture and engineering, leasing, marketing, property management, and asset management of shopping centers. The company owns 47 shopping centers in 12 countries on 4 continents and manages and leases approximately 82 shopping centers. The company was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Portugal. You can find out more about the company’s approach to sustainability here.

Code Green
CodeGreen Solutions is a sustainable building and energy engineering firm focused on developing innovative solutions for real estate to conserve capital, reach sustainability goals, and reduce energy consumption. It provides solutions for individual buildings, portfolios and corporations through energy management services, LEED certification management, energy auditing, retro-commissioning, and sourcing for energy efficiency financial incentives. The CodeGreen team has worked on projects throughout the United States and Canada greening over 200 million square feet of property, and managed the LEED certification of over 25 million square feet. You can find out more about the company's approach here.

Goby Goby LLC is a US-based real estate consulting services company, focused on increasing market value and optimal performance of real estate assets through sustainability. It assists customers in the areas of operational performance, green corporate branding and marketing, including market recognition operations that comprise LEED consulting and green building achievements. It also provides sustainability planning operations, including portfolio analysis and planning, and strategic initiative alignment and risk management strategy. The company focuses on commercial interiors, existing buildings, new construction projects, industrial buildings, and new/re-development projects. You can find out more about the company's approach here.

GRESB’s Nils Kok Awarded the 2014 World Green Building Council Entrepreneurship Award

GRESB’s Executive Director Nils Kok has been awarded the 2014 David Gottfried Global Green Building Entrepreneurship Award for his work on the intersection of sustainability and finance in the real estate sector.

The David Gottfried Global Green Building Entrepreneurship Award is given out annually by the World Green Building Council to a person demonstrating entrepreneurial and transformational vision and leadership, and whose work has helped to transform or advance the green building mission.

“Mr Kok’s ground-breaking work has helped large portfolio owners understand how they can protect and enhance the value of their buildings by embracing sustainability. He essentially cracked the code that has made the business case for sustainability a ‘no brainer’,” said WorldGBC’s Chairman, Bruce Kerswill when presenting the award at the WorldGBC Congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil in August.

The award, first presented in 2011, is named after the inaugural winner, David Gottfried, the founder of the World Green Building Council and the US Green Building Council.  
2014 GRESB Results Launch Events in September

The 2014 GRESB results will be launched on September 4 with multiple events globally on the date of the release and throughout the month of September. The events will offer first exclusive presentations of the global and regional Survey results, as well as insightful panel discussions with senior real estate and investment executives.

September 4, Global Launch Events:

New York – The US launch will be hosted by GRESB Associate Member Cushman & Wakefield at C&W Headquarters at 16:00 -18:00, followed by a reception. It will include 2014 GRESB Results presentation by Nils Kok, Executive Director and co-founder of GRESB, the release of the C&W 2014 Occupier Sustainability Briefing, and an expert panel discussion featuring, among others, APG Asset Management and MetLife. If you are interested in more details about this event, please click here.

London – The European launch will be hosted by GRESB Associate Member Jones Lang LaSalle at JLL’s London office at 16:00 - 17:30, followed by a reception. It will include 2014 GRESB Results presentation by Elsbeth Quispel, Head of Sustainability at GRESB and an expert panel discussion on how investors and real estate companies and funds use GRESB, as well as how the benchmark compares to other mainstream real estate benchmarks. Panel speakers include IPDPGGM InvestmentsRobeco Asset Management and Sonae Sierra. If you are interested in more details about this event, please click here.

Singapore – The Asian launch will be hosted by GRESB Associate Member CBRE. The event will take place at Pan Pacific Hotel at 7:30-10:30, including a breakfast reception. It will include 2014 GRESB Results presentation by Ruben Langbroek, Head of Asia Pac at GRESB and an expert panel discussion featuring M&G Real EstateCapitaLandUBS Global Asset Management, and Singapore's Building and Construction Authority. If you are interested in more details about this event, please click here.

Other Regional Launch Events:

September 9

 - The Dutch launch will be co-hosted by GRESB, together with Associate Members Philips and OVG at the Edge, one of the most innovative and sustainable new buildings, and the new headquarters of Deloitte and AKD in Amsterdam. The event will take place at 16:00 – 18:00 and will include a 2014 GRESB Results presentation by Elsbeth Quispel, Head of Sustainability at GRESB and an expert panel discussion, featuring Anna Denell, Sustainability Director at Vasakronan, Egbert Jan Nijmeijer, Senior Portfolio Manager Real Estate at Kempen Capital Management, Dirk Anbeek, CEO of Wereldhave and Elsbeth Quispel and followed by an exclusive tour of the Edge and a reception. If you are interested in more details about this event, please click here.

September 10

Sydney - The Australian/New Zealand results event will be hosted by GRESB Associate Member JLL at their Sydney office at 16:00 -18:00. The event will include a 2014 GRESB Results presentation by Ruben Langbroek, Head of Asia Pacific at GRESB and an expert panel discussion of institutional investors and portfolio managers, featuring Rowan Griffin, Head of Sustainability – Investment Management at Lend Lease and Davina Rooney Senior Manager, Operations and Sustainability at Stockland. The event will be concluded with a networking reception. If you are interested in more details about this event, please click here

September 18

Toronto - The Canadian results event will be co-hosted by GRESB, together with REALpac and Oxford Properties and will take place at InterContinental Toronto Center Hotel at 15:00 – 18:00, including a reception. The event will offer 2014 GRESB Results presentation by Nils Kok, Executive Director and co-founder of GRESB and an expert panel discussion that includes Bentall KennedyOTPPPresima, and the TD Bank Group. If you are interested in more details about this event, please click here.

Follow us on Twitter for more updates.

GRESB Joins the Climate Bonds Green Property Technical Working Group
Recent market offerings show clear demand from both institutional and responsible investors for exposure to Green Bonds in general and Green Property Bonds in particular. This demand has also created the need for standardized criteria and methodology to assess the asset's environmental credentials and practices.

The Green Property Technical Working Group is a part of the Climate Bonds Initiative, an international, investor-focused initiative, working on mobilizing the $80 trillion bond market for climate change solutions. The group has developed eligibility criteria for property investments to be certified under the Climate Bonds Standard. The goal is to provide clarity to investors for the low carbon integrity of energy efficiency investments in green buildings through a standardized screening tool.

GRESB Executive Director and Co-Founder Sander Paul van Tongeren will represent GRESB in the Climate Bonds Green Property Technical Working Group, providing investor and industry insight into the practicality of the proposed eligibility criteria. Van Tongeren: “Green Property Bonds are an essential and logical next step to integrate sustainability credentials in the offerings to the financial market."
New GRESB Members
Several investors, fund managers, and property companies have joined GRESB in recent weeks.

TIAA-CREF, founded nearly 100 years ago, is a full-service financial services company with AUM of USD 569 billion (at December 31, 2013). In the early 1970s, it became one of the first institutional investors to engage with companies on social issues.  Speaking about joining GRESB, Senior Director Nicholas Stolatis said “TIAA-CREF has been recognized as a leader in promoting sustainable property operations, achieving measurable improvements in energy and water efficiency, enhancing our investors' financial returns while reducing the environmental impact of the portfolios. Joining GRESB will allow us to expand our benchmarking initiatives to a broader scope of socially responsible investment activities, and offer us the means to track and achieve even greater results.”

HESTA is the Australian-based industry super fund for health and community services. Since 1987, HESTA has grown to become the largest super fund dedicated to this industry. Today, it serves more than 770,000 members and more than 150,000 employers. You can find out more about HESTA’s approach to environmental, social and governance issues here.

AEW Europe is one of the leading European real estate asset and investment managers with USD 24.8 billion in assets under management. It manages a wide spectrum of real estate investment strategies across Europe from core to opportunistic.

Altera Vastgoed is a sectoral property fund for pension funds. Since its inception in 2000, the company has grown to EUR 1.7 billion with 28 pension fund shareholders (as at December 31, 2013). As a sector-specific private property fund, not listed on the stock exchange, Altera manages four sector-specific portfolios (residential, retail, office and industrial) within the framework of a single company. Speaking about its decision to join GRESB Altera Vastgoed said “Our mission is to serve Dutch pension funds and offer them the opportunity to invest indirectly in Dutch property. Sustainability is an integral component of the investment policy adopted by Altera Vastgoed. Altera is a strong believerin a pragmatic approach to sustainability with tangible results. We believe GRESB membership will help us accomplish and communicate these results." Click here to find out more about Altera Vastgoed's investment approach.

Foncière des Régions currently owns and manages a EUR 16 billion (total share) portfolio, mainly dedicated to offices, in promising markets. With a business model based on partnerships that are strong both in rental and financial terms, Foncière des Régions today occupies a prominent place among European REITs. Making sustainable development part of its strategy has strengthened its real estate, technical and financing expertise. You can read more about the company’s sustainability strategy here.

Genesta is an independent real estate fund management company with investment focus on commercial assets in the Nordic region. The company’s current assets have a total investment value of approximately EUR 770 million and the portfolio includes a diverse selection of office, retail and logistics assets in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Lithuania.

OVG Real Estate is a Netherlands-based, independent property developer that includes an Investment Management business unit. With current AUM of more than EUR 250 million, sustainability and client approach is central to OVG Investment Management's business. You can find more about the company’s approach here.

Measurabl has joined GRESB as an Associate Data Member. The company is an online, on-demand, Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for sustainability reporting.  The company’s cloud-based software automatically collects asset-level data and guides users step-by-step through the GRESB reporting process.

APREA Sustainability Awards
APREA recently announced its collaboration with GRESB to launch the APREA Sustainability Awards. As with the APREA Best Practices Awards, there will not be “winners” or “losers” but just “leaders”. The awards will honor companies that have demonstrated strong and sustainable sustainability performance. APREA will only disclose the “leaders” who will be recognized for their best practices and outstanding performance.

The awards will be structured as follows:
  • APREA member companies that participate in the GRESB survey will be eligible to participate;
  • The judging criteria:
  • (i) A majority of the judging criteria will be based on the score obtained in the GRESB Survey;
    (ii) The remainder of the judging criteria will be based on a score obtained for a group of three to five APREA supplementary questions.
APREA’s Sustainability Committee is developing the supplementary questions in collaboration with GRESB. GRESB will also be the program administrator, while an independent jury will oversee the evaluation of the supplementary question responses.

The first awards will be based on the 2014 GRESB Survey, which is open for participation via www.gresb.com. The results will be announced at the APREA Property Leaders Forum in 2015. In the 2013 GRESB Survey, 61 participants within Asia Pacific with a combined AUM of USD 210 billion (GAV), were APREA members.

New GRESB Members
GRESB has welcomed several new Members in recent weeks:

AP2 is one of northern Europe’s largest pension funds, managing SEK 264.7 billion in virtually every asset class and all parts of the world. AP2 adopts an active approach to ethical and environmental issues, with a view to promoting sustainable investment. Speaking about the decision to join GRESB, Christina Olivecrona of AP2 said, “AP2 decided to join GRESB because we believe it will help us follow-up, evaluate and improve the sustainability performance of our real estate portfolio.”

Brookfield Office Properties is a commercial real estate corporation that owns, manages, and develops 85 million square feet of real estate across the globe. Brookfield is committed to the continuous improvement of energy performance and the sustainability profile of its global office portfolio. You can find out more about its approach here.

HOOPP (the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan) is a leading pension provider in the Ontario healthcare community, serving more than 286,000 working and retired healthcare workers. HOOPP, managing $51.6 billion net assets (as at end 2013), is a global leader in environmentally conscious real estate practices with over 30 million square feet of commercial, retail and industrial real estate in 163 locations across Canada and around the world. “… As a long-term investor, HOOPP's real estate group has established a sustainability program designed around industry best practices to enhance property values and manage portfolio risks by investing in and developing healthy, resource efficient, and high-quality buildings. As an organization supported by global, leading, sustainability-focused investors, GRESB is well aligned with HOOPP's commitment to the continuing evolution of sustainability practices and initiatives within the international real estate community.”

Klépierre is a major player in continental Europe’s retail property market, with shopping centers in 40 cities and 13 countries. Its property portfolio is worth €14.1 billion (as at December 31, 2013). The Group’s effective approach to environmental management is founded upon accurate environmental indicators, including consumption analysis, environmental risk prevention, and support from international certifications and standards.

OFI REIM is renowned for its expertise in the French real estate market with €1.1 billion assets under management (as at December 2013). The company specializes in the office and retail sectors of Paris and French regional markets. On behalf of OFI REIM, Judith Davis said “As real estate investment managers, joining GRESB and participating in the survey is right in line with the guiding principles of OFI REIM, to successfully ensure economic viability without compromising the natural, ecological and social capital of tomorrow.”

Principal Real Estate Investors is the dedicated real estate asset management group of Principal Global Investors. It provides access to opportunities across the spectrum of public and private equity and debt investments. Its investment process is team oriented, research based and multi-disciplined, using a relative value approach for investment management decisions. “We are very excited about becoming members of GRESB”, said Jennifer McConkey, Director of Operations and Sustainability at Principal Real Estate Investors. “Our clients increasingly expect a holistic approach to environmental, social, and governance issues, and the GRESB platform gives us greater insight and feedback on how our work in this area enhances investment value.”

Quinn & Partners is a sustainability strategy and integration advisory firm providing strategy, implementation, measurement, reporting and audit services.  The team’s knowledge spans Canadian and international sustainability best practice. Quinn & Partners work with organizations to design and execute sustainability leadership strategies to strengthen their clients’ position with customers, investors, employees and industry stakeholders.

Ventas, Inc. is a leading real estate investment trust, with a highly diversified portfolio of nearly 1,500 senior housing communities, medical office buildings, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Ventas, Inc. believes that a strong commitment to environmental sustainability and a platform for charitable giving are smart business practices that are essential to delivering long-term superior results and sustained excellence.

Verdani LLC is a full-service sustainability consulting firm, maintaining a high level of technical and practical knowledge in real estate, building operations, energy analysis, financing, codes, and certifications. Their approach is to identify and prioritize effective solutions that can be sustained over the life of the building, adding economic, social and environmental value along the way.

Vornado Realty Trust is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT). It is one of the largest owners and managers of commercial real estate in the United States with a portfolio of over 100 million square feet, primarily located in the New York and Washington, DC areas. Vornado’s goal is to be a leader in sustainability by creating a corporate culture that integrates the principles of environmental responsibility and sustainable growth into their business practices, planning and relationships.

We look forward to working with all our Members over the coming Survey year and beyond.
Upcoming Events
APREA-GRESB Sustainability Event 26 May 2014
APREA, PHILGBC and GRESB will host an event ‘The Added Value of Sustainability in the Real Estate Market’ in the Philippines. The event will take place on May 26 between 8.30 am and 10 am at the Holiday Inn in Makati. Please click here to register for this event, or send an email to events@gresb.com (spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis).

Fiabci Conference 22 May 2014
The 65th FIABCI World Congress is taking place between May 17 and May 22, 2014 in Luxembourg. Nils Kok of the GRESB Executive Board will speak on May 22 at the World Council of Developers Forum. To view the program and to register click here.

Survey Webinar
On April 15, 2014 GRESB hosted two webinars to explain the 2014 Survey process and to highlight the changes to the Survey as compared to 2013.
To view a recorded version of the webinar, please click here. To view the webinar slides, please click here.
2014 GRESB Survey Release
GRESB launches its 2014 Survey today.

In 2013, 550 property companies and funds participated in the GRESB Survey, managing USD 1.6 trillion in value. The database covers 49,000 assets in 46 countries and is actively used by more than 100 institutional investors, fund managers and property companies managing USD 6.1 trillion in assets.

This is the fifth year that GRESB will undertake its annual benchmarking process. Since it began collecting sustainability data in 2009, GRESB has seen rapid development in the real estate sector’s reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Following pressure from investors, regulators and building occupants, the real estate industry has started to look more closely at sustainability issues, with many property companies and fund managers integrating sustainability into their overall business strategy. The pension funds (and their fiduciaries) that use GRESB data are increasingly scrutinizing the quality of sustainability disclosure. They want credible, quantitative data, based on relevant metrics that they can use in their investment decision-making process.

The 2014 GRESB benchmark is aligned with other globally recognized reporting frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). GRESB examines sustainability-related strategies, policies and objectives, actions to implement those policies and to reach defined objectives. It measures environmental performance data regarding energy and water consumption, GHG emissions and waste and investigates the use of voluntary standards and certification schemes and compliance with mandatory regulations.

Useful Tools: Webinar, Participant Guide, and Data Portal. 
This year, GRESB has launched a new online data collection platform. The system is fully integrated with its online benchmark results platform and has been designed to make the data input process as smooth as possible. GRESB now operates a unified system for the entire data collection, analysis and benchmark results process.The following are useful tools for property companies and fund managers participating in the 2014 GRESB Survey: 

The Participant Guide explains GRESB’s mission and background, as well as the practicalities of submitting a Survey response;

GRESB hosted two webinars to briefly explain the Survey process and to highlight the changes in the Survey as compared to 2013. You can view the recorded webinar here.

GRESB’s data collection portal remains open for three months from April 1 until July 1. Click here to contact the GRESB team with enquiries about the 2014 benchmark.
GRESB announces new members
Since our March update, the following companies have joined GRESB:

Aberdeen Asset Management Plc is a global investment management group, managing assets for both institutional and retail clients from offices around the world. The group manages USD 40 billion (at February 28, 2014) of property assets across Europe, Asia and North America. Its mission is to deliver strong fund performance across diverse asset classes in which the group has a sustainable competitive edge. It is committed to responsible investment and to delivering more sustainable properties coupled with sound investment returns.

Australand is one of Australia’s leading diversified property groups. Sustainability is at the heart of the group’s operations and covers a wide range of topics from energy and water efficiency, waste management to urban planning, sustainable construction and fostering the local community.

Bentall Kennedy is one of North America's largest real estate investment advisors. The company serves the interests of more than 500 clients across 145 million square feet of office, retail, industrial, and residential properties throughout North America. As a leader in Responsible Property Investing, Bentall Kennedy is committed to best-in-class environmental, social and governance practices in developing, leasing and managing commercial real estate.

Bouwfonds Investment Management is the real asset investment management division of Rabo Real Estate Group, one of Europe’s leading real estate companies. Bouwfonds’ investment philosophy is based on dedicated teams, responsible investing, standardized processes and integrated risk management. Its guiding principle for investing and managing real estate and infrastructure sustainably is to find the right balance between economic, social and environmental aspects.

Corio is a European retail property company with a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility. It is committed to integrating sustainability into its operations and measures a broad range of sustainability indicators for its centres. To find out more about Corio’s approach, visit its dedicated CSR website.

The Dutch Green Building Council has joined GRESB as a Partner. A network organization for real estate and sustainability, the DGBC’s mission is to bring sustainability to the Dutch real estate market.

Invesco is one of the largest asset management companies in the world, managing USD 778.7 billion globally, of which USD 55.7 billion is invested in real estate.  Invesco is committed to responsible corporate citizenship of which environmental management forms an important part. You can read more about Invesco’s approach here.

GRESB looks forward to working with all its new members.
GRESB welcomes Global Logistic Properties as a member
Their property portfolio of US$ 16.9 billion is strategically located across 63 cities, forming an efficient logistics network serving more than 700 customers. Sustainability Development is a core element of GLP’s social responsibility strategy, which also includes education and cultural exchange.
GRESB welcomes Catholic Super as an investor member
Garrie Lette, the Fund’s CIO said “we have had a long-standing commitment to Responsible Investment and are delighted now to be joining GRESB. The comprehensive analysis undertaken by GRESB will assist us in understanding the extent to which our property managers integrate ESG considerations into all aspects of their operations, and to engage with them over time to further lift standards.”
GRESB welcomes Prologis, Inc. as a member
An industry leader in environmental stewardship, Prologis is committed to implementing best practices in sustainable design and construction for its new developments globally and to enhancing the energy efficiency of its property portfolio.
GRESB and PRI announce joint support
GRESB and PRI have worked together to develop alignment and help reduce the reporting burden for organizations’ reporting against both frameworks where possible.Click here to read the joint letter of support.
GRESB signs up large group of property companies and investment managers
AMP Capital is one of the largest real estate fund managers in Asia Pacific, with AUM of $US 20 billion and 50 years of experience in real estate investment. AMP Capital believes that consideration of ESG factors should be woven into day-to-day property and asset management and is the responsibility of the entire investment team.CapitaLand is one of Asia’s largest real estate companies. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, the company's businesses in real estate and real estate fund management are focused on its core markets of Singapore and China. You can find out more information about Capitaland’s approach to sustainability by clicking here.Goodman is an integrated commercial and industrial property group with US$ 21 billion AUM, that owns, develops and manages real estate including warehouses, large-scale logistics facilities business parks and offices globally. A global expert in functional business space and logistics, Goodman’s sustainability vision is focused on creating long-term relationships with key stakeholders around the world and enhancing the communities in which it operates.Heitman is a global investment management firm with more than US$ 29 billion AUM. Heitman is focused solely on real estate and has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility. Its strategy is focused on two areas: sustainability and civic involvement.  Speaking about its decision to join GRESB, Heitman said “With increased investor and occupier focus on sustainability, Heitman is pleased to formalize its membership in GRESB as a follow up to the participation of its European Private Equity funds in the annual survey since 2010. GRESB membership provides a logical synergy with Heitman’s annual asset level business plans which incorporate measureable targets for reducing energy consumption and improving the overall sustainability of its property portfolio.”SNS Asset Management (SNS AM) is a subsidiary of the SNS REAAL Group. SNS AM has €46 billion in Assets under Management (as at December 2012). Responsible Investing has been the core business of SNS AM since 1970 and nearly the entire asset management portfolio is based on the SNS AM Fundamental Investment Principles.Unibail-Rodamco is the third largest real estate company in the world. Listed on the Paris stock exchange since 1972, today the Group owns prime commercial properties to the value of €30.5 billion as at June 30, 2013. Speaking about GRESB, Unibail-Rodamco said “As a leader in sustainability, Unibail-Rodamco fully supports the GRESB initiative because this index is the only one to provide a worldwide relevant ESG benchmark across the real estate industry, including property categories' vision.”Vesteda manages Vesteda Residential Fund FGR, which is the largest independent residential fund in the Netherlands. At the end of the third quarter 2013, the portfolio consisted of 24,000 dwellings properties with a market value of €3.7 billion. To Vesteda, sustainability is more than just saving energy or limiting CO2 emissions. It applies just as much to good operations, reducing the overall environmental footprint and improving ergonomics and health aspects in developing or constructing and managing the property.
British Property Federation partners with GRESB
The British Property Federation membership includes the biggest companies in the real estate industry - property developers and owners, institutions, fund managers, investment banks and professional organizations that support the industry. The BPF supports the industry in addressing sustainability issues. You can find more about their work by clicking here.