Whether you’re new to the ESG disclosure market or a seasoned veteran, you’re probably aware of a paradigm shift in the real estate industry. Recent years have shown an increased demand for sustainability-focused construction and operations, as well as greater transparency into the efforts put forth by organizations in regards to ESG-centric business practices.
There are many reasons to begin your journey to transparent and sustainable practices, including pressure from investors and stakeholders, demand from your target market or current customers, or gaining a competitive edge. Whatever the motivation, pursuing this shift of your underlying company operations and values isn’t always easy; there are many factors to account for, risks to be weighed, opportunities to identify and seize.
GRESB provides a strong framework for any company looking to make a commitment to sustainable practices. The GRESB Real Estate Assessment allows companies to better understand the impact of policies and operations, as well as benchmark their efforts and results against similar companies. Below is a short overview of nine strategies to improve your GRESB submissions:
- Membership has its perks: There are several benefits to being a GRESB member, such as avoiding non-member submission fees ($4,100 USD per entity). Membership also grants access to GRESB’s advanced analytics tools and services, and members can take advantage of preferential marketing and industry recognition.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again: Your first submission may not perform as well you hoped, but the insights you’ll gain from the results will enable you to take actions to improve your results in subsequent years.
- Healthy leads to wealthy: Strategic and intentional consideration of the health & well-being of tenants and employees provides opportunities to generate long term growth.
- Teamwork makes the team work: Engage your employees on every level of the company, from executives to property managers and beyond. Open lines of communication will help to simplify and streamline your disclosure process.
- The early bird gets the worm: The data-gathering process for GRESB, which requires at least 2 years of historical portfolio data, can be grueling and time-consuming; starting sooner than later gives you a competitive edge.
- If you’ve got it, flaunt it: The data you collect for GRESB is applicable to other sustainability certifications, too. Considering you’ve already done some or most of the work, you should definitely also pursue certifications like ENERGY STAR, GRI, and SASB, to name a few.
- Don’t get stage fright; show off your results: Results turned out better than you expected? Make sure to share it with the world. GRESB results are private to you unless you share them yourself, and they make for great marketing.
- Automate & streamline your process: Implementing automation technology and services to streamline and simplify your data gathering and aggregation processes will allow you to focus more on your ESG strategy implementation and free up time for other crucial tasks.
- Know where you stand before you start: The GRESB Pre-Assessment is perfect for funds and companies submitting for the first time. Insights and opportunities you glean from the results that GRESB provides after you submit the Pre-Assessment will give you a leg up for your first submission, leading to a stronger performance and better results.
Want to see the full explanation of each of the strategies above? Download Goby’s strategic guide for turning ESG insights into actionable results:
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This article is written by Erica Newman, Senior ESG Consultant at Goby.