Getting to Know GRESB
By Chloe Woodruff
GRESB is now accepting submissions for the 2019 Real Estate Assessment cycle, which for some begs the simple question: What is GRESB?
The Assessment was created as a means of benchmarking environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria for companies, trusts, funds, investors, and developers within the real estate industry. It is managed by the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which also administers project certifications and professional credentials for LEED, EDGE, Parksmart, PEER, SITES, TRUE, and WELL. Originally an acronym for “Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark,” the organization expanded its reporting to encompass real assets, including infrastructure, and now simply goes by “GRESB.”
Participants submit annually and are evaluated on 7 criteria and roughly 50 indicators, which include questions about water and energy use, employee health and wellness, GHG emissions, and other sustainability measures. After data validation is completed for submitted Assessments, an aggregate GRESB score is provided to the participant and their peer group, which is assembled based on location, sector, and investment type.
Submitting Your Report
The Assessment Portal, where participants can submit their reporting, is open during the spring and early summer of each year; results are publicly-published annually in early fall (this year’s deadline to submit is July 1, and results will be released September 4).
The Portal contains a “Guidance” tab with helpful hints about how to properly submit your data, providing definitions of tricky terminology, reference documents, and the requirements for each response. If you’re looking for more support, the Reference Guide for the Assessment you’re submitting is a great tool (see “Additional Resources” below). Finally, GRESB offers first-time participants the option to not disclose their results to investors during their first year — this “Grace Period” provides initial users with a low-stakes opportunity to start the data collection process and learn how to conduct the Assessment.
The GRESB community has continued to grow steadily, with nearly a thousand property companies, real estate investment trusts (REITs), funds, and developers — representing more than 79,000 assets and $3.6 trillion in value — participating in the Real Estate Assessment. As consumer demand for sustainable and resilient assets grows, investors are increasingly using the publically available results to improve the sustainability of their investment portfolios.
GRESB also helps you compare your ESG performance with your peers and provides a better understanding of which steps you can take to improve your score moving forward.
GRESB is now recognized as the global standard for sustainability performance in real estate assets, making it an important tool for real estate companies, investors, developers, and trust or fund managers who are concerned about environmental and community impact. While we hope this overview shed some light on the Assessment and submission process, if you have a portfolio of buildings for which you need sustainability reporting assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions — we’re here to help!
Assessment Portal: Create an account here to start the assessment process.
Reference Guides: View the GRESB guidebooks, scoring documents, and sample reports.
Timeline: See the key dates and deadlines for the 2019 assessment cycle.
FAQ: See if your question is one of GRESB’s most commonly asked.