Verdani Partners has managed the GRESB submissions for 12+ funds including both debt and equity since 2013 with many of our clients ranking in the top 3 and top 5 in their respective peer groups. We developed a method to make reporting season as painless and efficient as possible to minimize the impact on our clients and property teams while consistently improving each year.
Here are six tips that help keep our team organized:
- Whether it is your first time reporting or you are a veteran, track all answers and scores from previous years. This helps you measure progress, build on your answers from the previous year, and easily see where you are missing points.
- Read the guidance for every question. The guidance offers great instructions, defines terms, and can offer insight into the scoring of questions. By understanding the intent of the question, you are better prepared to provide a quality answer.
- Ensure that your property teams, colleagues, and anyone else that you may need to request information from understands key deadlines and deliverables. Create a schedule to notify property teams of all requests and deadlines (such as updating occupancy or usage data on ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager). Property teams are constantly bombarded with requests and will appreciate advanced notice of what reporting season entails and will be more likely to provide you with requested information in a timely manner.
- Prepare documentation for all questions and save it in a folder. Even if the question does not have a required upload, providing documentation of the programs you have in place will help you keep track of progress. Bonus: if you are selected for an audit by the GRESB team, you will have all your evidence ready!
- After you submit, give yourself a week or two to recover from reporting season, and then create a game plan for the rest of the year. Remember that although reporting season is from April 1 to July 1, the GRESB assessment covers the entire year so you will want to start immediately implementing the policies, programs, certifications, etc. that you did not have this time around.
- Analyze the results and Benchmark Report as soon as they are announced in September. Utilize this information to refine your strategy and target areas in which you are lacking. This year, the Benchmark Report will be available for all participants.
These 6 tips have helped Verdani and our clients successfully report to GRESB each year and continue to improve their ESG programs.