GRESB 2020 Results: Infrastructure sector maturing its approach to ESG reporting and benchmarking

AMSTERDAM, (November 12, 2020): GRESB, the global environmental, social and governance (ESG) benchmark for real assets, has released the results for the 2020 GRESB Infrastructure Assessment. 

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis, participation has increased again in 2020 as the sector responds to the growing investor demand for standardized and validated ESG data to monitor the sustainability of their infrastructure funds and assets.  

  • The Infrastructure Fund Assessment grew to 75 funds completing both components – obtaining a GRESB Fund Score reflecting overall ESG performance at the portfolio level –  and 118 completing the Management Component. The Assessment now covers 32% of IPE Real Assets’ Top 100 Infrastructure Investment Managers, and 38% of the Infrastructure Investor Top 50 – participating with at least one fund. 
  • Participation in the Infrastructure Asset Assessment increased by 8% to cover 426 assets and 1,354 facilities. The Assessment now covers 32 of the 33 industry sectors across 59 countries, leading to deep data insights for investors, fund managers and asset operators. 
  • The Infrastructure Public Disclosure dataset provides comprehensive coverage of listed infrastructure companies including the GLIO Global Coverage Index (234 companies in total). The data reveals which listed infrastructure companies are the most transparent about their ESG performance, which perform in the mid-range and which are lagging their peers. In an exciting new development, this data will be used in a GLIO/GRESB Index to be launched by year end.
  • 98 assets and 28 funds participated in the Resilience Module (a 60% increase). The module is aligned with the recommendations released by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The continued growth in participation demonstrates an increasing investor attention on climate risks and resilience.  

Results highlights

The big news this year is the leap in scores for both Funds and Assets. Overall GRESB Scores, and Component Scores, increased by 10 to 15 points on average. Only two funds saw their scores decrease. Funds are improving so much that thirteen funds scored the maximum 100 for the Management Component. In the case of Assets, for the first time in GRESB history (including Real Estate), one asset scored a maximum 100 for their overall GRESB Score. This shows that the industry is maturing in its approach to ESG and is strongly focused on improving performance.

GRESB Fund Model (Component Scores)

GRESB Asset Model (Component Scores)

75 funds participated in the Assessment with more than 25% of their assets. This enables the funds to obtain the GRESB Fund Score, which is the overall measure of ESG performance at the portfolio level. The average GRESB Fund Score increased to 65 points, from 55 in 2019. The average score also increased in the Asset Assessment, from 48 in 2019 to 61 in 2020.

Participation was stable across most sectors in the Asset Assessment, but notably Data Infrastructure grew from 21 to 38 – likely reflecting the growing importance of this sector during the Covid crisis. The best-scoring sector continues to be Network Utilities (with an average score of 73), closely followed by Power Generation x-Renewables (72) and Renewable Power (69). While Social Infrastructure came in with the lowest average score again this year (47), it also posted one of the largest score increases (+18), narrowing the gap with other sectors. The scores for the two energy generation sectors (Power Generation x-Renewables and Renewable Power) showed the biggest increases (+25 and +20 respectively).

There are clear regional differences in participation rates and performance. Europe-focused funds are the largest contingent, followed by Globally Diversified. Europe also has the largest number of participating assets (60%), but the lowest average asset score (57). Average scores across Americas, Asia and Oceania are all similar at around 67.

“Now in its fifth year, we are delighted to see the maturing of the infrastructure industry in its approach to ESG, and focus on improving performance. Despite the clear challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis, participation in GRESB still grew, and scores leapt by 10 to 15 points on average for both Funds and Assets. We even saw a GRESB first achieved, with one asset achieving a GRESB score of the maximum 100!  We acknowledge the extra challenges faced this year, and we thank the new and returning participants for their diligence and commitment to reporting and engaging on ESG.” says Rick Walters, Director Infrastructure at GRESB.

“We look forward to supporting our participant and investor members to use their benchmark results to support the transformation towards sustainable infrastructure. Infrastructure development is proving a strong feature of pandemic recovery plans across the globe, and proper integration of ESG in infrastructure investment provides the best assurance that the recovery will be effective and fair. It will enable issues like climate change and inequality to be addressed so that as we come out of this crisis, we are on our way to addressing and preventing the next, and building a better and fairer world.”


Leadership in the GRESB Infrastructure Assessment

Each year we are excited to recognize and celebrate GRESB Participants from across the world who have excelled with their leadership and commitment. For 2020, we announce the “GRESB Infrastructure Sector Leaders” who achieved the top scores in their category. This year we also introduce the “GRESB Infrastructure Most Improved” awards for funds and assets with the largest score increases. We congratulate these members and hope that their example will inspire the industry to further improvements.

2020 GRESB Infrastructure Sector Leaders

The GRESB Sector Leaders are the best performers by sector and region.  


2020 GRESB Infrastructure Most Improved

GRESB Most Improved have the largest score increases compared to the previous year by sector and region.

Entity NameFund Manager NameSector | Region
Alinda Infrastructure Fund IIAlinda Capital PartnersRegion: Globally diversified
Civis PFI/PPP Infrastructure Fund LPDalmore Capital LimitedSector: Sector specific
Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund 2Macquarie Infrastructure and Real AssetsSector: Sectorally diversified
Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund 2Macquarie Infrastructure and Real AssetsRegion: Other region (Americas, Asia or Oceania)
Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 4Macquarie Infrastructure and Real AssetsRegion: Europe
Entity NameSuperclassClass
APRR TransportRoad Companies
Astoria Energy II Power Generation x-RenewablesIndependent Power Producers
Aviva Investors Infrastructure Income No.2/2b Ltd Renewable PowerWind Power Generation
Beacon Rail Leasing S.à.r.l Transport
Desert Sunlight Renewable Power
Ennatuurlijk Network Utilities
INNOVATTEL, LLC Data Infrastructure
Projco (St. Andrews Hospital) Limited Social InfrastructureHealth and Social Care Services
Saubermacher Dienstleistungs AG Diversified and Other (including Environmental Services)
Urbs ludex et Causidicus S.A. Social InfrastructureEducation Services

Entity is an Overall Asset Sector Leader (overall leader for the Superclass)
Entity is an Asset Sector Leader (leader for the Class)

Learn more about how we recognize leadership in the GRESB Assessments


About GRESB

GRESB is a mission-driven and investor-led organization providing standardized and validated Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data to the capital markets. Established in 2009, GRESB has become the leading ESG benchmark for real estate and infrastructure investments across the world. In 2020, more than 1,200 real estate portfolios reported to GRESB covering more than 96,000 assets. Our coverage for infrastructure includes more than 540 infrastructure portfolios and assets. Combined, the reported assets represent US $5.3 trillion AUM. The data is used by more than 100 institutional and financial investors to monitor investments across portfolios and navigate the strategic choices needed for the industry to transition to a more sustainable future. Learn more at GRESB.com.

For more information, please contact:
Claudia Gonella, Marketing & Communications Director at GRESB
c.gonella@gresb.com