Disclaimer: 2020 GRESB Public Disclosure Reference Guide
The 2020 GRESB Public Disclosure Reference Guide (“Reference Guide”) accompanies the 2020 GRESB Public Disclosure indicators. The Reference Guide reflects the opinions of GRESB and not of our members. The information in the Reference Guide has been provided in good faith and is provided on an “as is” basis. We take reasonable care to check the accuracy and completeness of the Reference Guide prior to its publication. While we do not anticipate major changes, we reserve the right to make modifications to the Reference Guide. We will publicly announce any such modifications.
The Reference Guide is not provided as the basis for any professional advice or for transactional use. GRESB and its advisors, consultants and sub-contractors shall not be responsible or liable for any advice given to third parties, any investment decisions or trading or any other actions taken by you or by third parties based on information contained in the Reference Guide.
Except where stated otherwise, GRESB is the exclusive owner of all intellectual property rights in all the information contained in the Reference Guide.
Mission-driven and investor-led, GRESB is the environmental, social and governance (ESG) benchmark for real assets. We work in collaboration with the industry to provide standardized and validated ESG data to the capital markets. The 2019 real estate benchmark covers more than 1,000 property companies, real estate investment trusts (REITs), funds, and developers. Our coverage for infrastructure includes 500 infrastructure funds and assets. Combined, GRESB represents USD 4.5 trillion in real asset value. More than 100 institutional investors, with over USD 22 trillion AUM, use GRESB data to monitor their investments, engage with their managers, and make decisions that lead to a more sustainable real asset industry.
For more information, visit gresb.com. Follow @GRESB on Twitter.
Financial regulators increasingly require organizations to disclose ESG-related policies, performance and risks. Proactive transparency enables real estate companies to operate ahead of this global trend. Effective public disclosure also facilitates active stakeholder engagement, and empowers investors to make sound investment decisions. GRESB Public Disclosure is unique in its focus to measure material ESG disclosures by REITs and listed property companies.
The evaluation of GRESB Public Disclosure is based upon a set of indicators aligned with the GRESB Real Estate Assessment. This allows for a comparison of ESG disclosure performance between GRESB participants and non-participants. It also provides investors with a resource hub to access ESG disclosure resources across their portfolio.
GRESB Public Disclosure data is initially collected by the GRESB team for selected companies, including both 2019 GRESB Real Estate Assessment participants and non-participants. All constituents have the opportunity to review and update this data before it becomes accessible to GRESB Investor Members. GRESB Public Disclosure consists of four Aspects: Governance of ESG, Implementation, Operational Performance and Stakeholder Engagement. Together, these Aspects contribute towards a Public Disclosure Level, expressed through an A to E sliding scale.
The 2019 results were based on publicly available data from over 650 constituents, of which more than 200 were GRESB participants. The GRESB Public Disclosure dataset covers the major listed real estate indices. The findings highlighted that constituents who participated in the 2019 GRESB Real Estate Assessment scored significantly better in terms of Public Disclosure levels as opposed to their non-participating counterparts. Additionally, Public Disclosure scores appear to be different when comparing the various regions around the globe.
2020 GRESB Public Disclosure Indicators changes
The 22 GRESB Public Disclosure Indicators remain stable at a question level, but introduce additional sub-options to 3 indicators. All new sub-options are aligned with the 2020 GRESB Real Estate Assessment and are intended to offer investors increased insights into the materiality of the disclosed ESG information. In addition, a new indicator on the public commitments to ESG leadership standards and/or principles has been included in the scope of analysis..The stability of the indicators at a question level allows the data to be used for year-over-year comparisons and limits the reporting burden for participants.
About the GRESB Real Estate Assessment
The GRESB Real Estate Assessment is the global standard for ESG benchmarking and reporting for listed property companies, private property funds, developers and investors that invest directly in real estate. The Assessment evaluates performance against three ESG Components - Management, Performance, and Development. The methodology is consistent across different regions, investment vehicles and property types and aligns with international reporting frameworks, such as GRI and PRI.
The GRESB Real Estate Assessment provides investors with actionable information and tools to monitor and manage the ESG risks and opportunities of their investments, and to prepare for increasingly rigorous ESG obligations. Assessment participants receive comparative business intelligence on where they stand against their peers, a roadmap with the actions they can take to improve their ESG performance and a communication platform to engage with investors.
GRESB Public Disclosure data collection
2020 Public Disclosure information is initially collected by GRESB, in the period February 1 through April 1, 2020. The data is then pre-filled in the online GRESB Portal for further review by the relevant listed property company or REIT. GRESB collects publicly disclosed data provided by participants in good faith and does not perform any checks on the quality of this data. It is the responsibility of the constituent to check the accuracy of this data and to update any information that is missing, inaccurate, or out of date.
In light of this product’s mission to promote transparency, all evidence collected by GRESB or provided by constituents will be disclosed to GRESB Investor Members. GRESB collected evidence on a presence/absence basis, recognizing that documentation may be available that better reflects the entity’s ESG efforts. Constituents are therefore encouraged to check and update any data collected and pre-filled by GRESB.
How to update GRESB Public Disclosure data
Step 1: Log into the GRESB Portal
As of April 1st, users new to GRESB need to start by creating a GRESB Portal Account. This can be done free of charge by completing the registration form. Please make sure to sign-up with the email address sent the “Review your 2020 Public Disclosure data email”.Registering with this email address will automatically link your user account to an Assessment with pre-filled Public Disclosure data.
In the registration form, select that you are interested in the GRESB Real Estate Assessment and enter your contact information. Once this step is complete, your public disclosure data will become available for viewing and editing.
People who already have a GRESB user account do not need to create a separate account for GRESB Public Disclosure and can review their data immediately by going to https://portal.gresb.com/log_in and logging into the portal. If you are unsure whether GRESB has collected and pre-filled 2020 Public Disclosure data for your organization, please visit GRESB Helpdesk.
Step 2: Access GRESB Public Disclosure indicators
In 2020, the Public Disclosure Indicators are available separately from the GRESB Real Estate Assessment. GRESB Participants and Public Disclosure constituents for which data has previously been collected, can access the data by first selecting the entity name in the overview section and subsequently selecting “Public Disclosure Indicators”.
Constituents for which Public Disclosure data has not been pre-filled by GRESB can participate in GRESB Public Disclosure, by selecting “Create new Assessment” and subsequently selecting Public Disclosure indicators.
If you are unsure whether GRESB has collected and pre-filled 2020 Public Disclosure data for your organization, please contact GRESB Helpdesk.
Step 3: Review data collected for each indicator
Use the "Contents" button, located in the top-left corner to navigate through each aspect. Constituents should review each Public Disclosure indicator in-depth to assess whether the data collected by the GRESB team is accurate, up-to-date, and complete. If a hyperlink refers to an inaccurate data source, select the discard bin in the evidence field to dissociate the hyperlink from the indicator.
While reviewing the indicators, please note the following:
- GRESB collects data from Annual Reports, CSR/Sustainability Reports, Integrated Reports, and corporate websites, using a presence/absence approach. For the purpose of determining the Public Disclosure level, GRESB does not judge the quality of the information disclosed, nor the ESG performance of the organization, only the level of disclosure. Constituents are advised to provide any missing information.
- All pre-filled data was collected/updated by GRESB from February 1st to April 1st, 2020. More recent data might therefore become available during the reporting period. Constituents are advised to update this data, so that it reflects their most recent ESG disclosures.
- Constituents are advised to update and check any hyperlinks that might have become unresponsive, or that contain potential errors.
Step 4: Submit GRESB Public Disclosure data
Constituents can confirm that their GRESB Public Disclosure dataset is complete. Please note that GRESB maintains the right to use or update any incomplete datasets for scoring purposes.
Step 5: Complete the 2020 GRESB Real Estate Assessment
The 2020 GRESB Public Disclosure information is analyzed and scored separately from the 2020 GRESB Real Estate Assessment, resulting in a Public Disclosure Level. All listed property companies are encouraged to participate in the 2020 GRESB Real Estate Assessment. Please see the 2020 GRESB Real Estate Reference Guide for guidance on completing this Assessment.
Reporting Scope and Boundaries
GRESB Public Disclosure consists of a sub-set of indicators from the GRESB Real Estate Assessment, modified for the purpose of measuring levels of ESG disclosure through the following publicly available sources:
- Dedicated sections on company website
- Latest stand-alone CSR/Sustainability Report (including Integrated Reports)
- Sustainability sections within latest Annual Report or Financial Report
All data collected by GRESB for pre-filling was derived from these sources. Constituents may provide publicly disclosed data from other sources, as long as this is a means of official disclosure by the organization (e.g., 10-K filings or PRI Reports). Information disclosed through public channels, such as twitter or personal blogs, is not deemed an official disclosure by the organization.
Material that is disclosed through internal channels (e.g., email, presentations, internal websites), or that requires any form of (online) registration to access, is not deemed “publicly available”.
All evidence needs to relate directly to the investable entity, i.e. the listed / public company. In case the day-to-day management responsibilities of the listed company are outsourced to a third-party investment manager, ensure that the text box below the evidence field includes a clear description of how this is applicable to the entity. Evidence will not be accepted without a clear explanation.
GRESB Public Disclosure assesses an entity's most recent ESG disclosures efforts. Constituents are encouraged to update any pre-filled evidence, so that it reflects their most recent ESG disclosures. Data provided through an Annual Report or stand-alone Sustainability Report, as well as operational consumption data (e.g., energy, water, GHG, waste), must as a minimum relate to the entity’s 2018 reporting year (calendar or fiscal). Employee and tenant satisfaction surveys must as a minimum have been undertaken in the past three years.
Preliminary data collected by the GRESB team focusses on documentation disclosed in English. Constituents may provide additional evidence in the form of hyperlinks to web pages or documents in languages other than English. However, this needs to be accompanied by an English description of the evidence’s content in the text box underneath the evidence field. Without a clear English description, the evidence will not be accepted.
Location of relevant information
In order to facilitate the data validation process, constituents should use the assigned text box to indicate where in the web page or online document the relevant information can be found. Participants should ensure that the relevant page can be accessed within two steps. A description of these steps needs to be provided in the text box underneath the hyperlink field.
The constituent has the obligation to ensure that the hyperlink is functioning. Broken links are the responsibility of the constituent and will be interpreted as the absence of evidence.
Timeline and process
Initial data collection by GRESB (February 1 - April 1, 2020)
GRESB checked and updated the information included in GRESB Public Disclosure 2019 and collected information for additional constituents in the period February 1 and April 1, 2020.
Data review by constituents (April 1 - July 1, 2020)
GRESB Public Disclosure 2020 will be open for review starting April 1 through July 1, 2020, in parallel to the 2020 GRESB Real Estate Assessment. During this period, listed property companies and REITs can review their pre-filled Public Disclosure data collected by GRESB and in tandem complete the 2020 GRESB Real Estate Assessment.
Data validation by GRESB (July - September, 2020)
All data provided, updated, or amended by GRESB Public Disclosure constituents will be checked and validated using the GRESB Validation Portal by GRESB and its parent company, GBCI, based upon the reporting rcope and boundaries, definitions and Interpretations, described in this document, in the period July - September, 2020.
During this period, GRESB maintains the right to expand on the 2020 GRESB Public Disclosure Constituent universe, by collecting data on additional listed property companies and REITs.
Launch of Public Disclosure results (September 4, 2020)
The 2020 GRESB Public Disclosure results will be made available to the listed companies included in the analysis, as well as to GRESB Investor Members, in the first week of September, 2020. The results will be released in parallel with the 2020 preliminary GRESB Real Estate Assessment results.
Scoring and analysis
The 2020 GRESB Public Disclosure information includes 23 indicators, covering four Aspects. Each indicator is scored between zero and full points, depending on the availability of evidence and selected answer options. Combined, these indicators add up to a maximum of 70 points. Constituents receive a GRESB Public Disclosure Level, from A to E, based on the following scale:
|GRESB Public Disclosure Level
||Number of points received
||57 - 70
||43 - 56
||29 - 42
||15 - 28
||0 - 14
Data provided, updated, or amended by GRESB Public Disclosure constituents will be validated.
GRESB an entity’s Public Disclosure Level into context by assigning it to a comparison group based on country/region, property sector, and market value. Note that an entity’s Public Disclosure comparison group differs from the GRESB Real Estate Assessment Peer Group.
Who can see my data?
The 2020 GRESB Public Disclosure results will be made available via the GRESB Portal to GRESB Investor Members in September 2020. The results will be disclosed together with the evidence collected by GRESB and provided by the constituents.
GRESB Investor Members with a listed data subscription are able to view the Public Disclosure level and supporting information for all entities.
GRESB Real Estate Reference Guide: This guide accompanies the 2020 GRESB Real Estate Assessment. Guidance is included for all Assessment indicators that comprise the GRESB Real Estate Components.
GRESB Helpdesk: If you need assistance on other topics or wish to contact a member of the GRESB team directly, you can use the online contact form.
Participants can give feedback during the Assessment process and immediately after submitting their Assessment response using the evaluation form available in the GRESB Portal or by filling in the online contact form.
Absolute data: An absolute consumption, emission or production measure provided by a firm regarding its emissions and use of waste, GHG, water or energy for the reporting year.
Annual report: A yearly record of an entity’s financial performance that is distributed to investors under applicable financial reporting regulations.
Assured/Verified: The process of checking data, as well as its collection methods and management systems, through a systematic, independent and documented process against predefined criteria or standards. Assurance/Verification services should be in line with a standard and can only be provided by accredited professionals.
Community engagement program: Strategies used by the entity to support communities associated with its operations, such as supporting charities and community groups, enhancement programs for public spaces, or facilitating local employment creation.
Corporate governance issues: Governance structure and composition of the organization. This includes how the highest governance body is established and structured in support of the organization’s purpose, and how this purpose relates to economic, environmental and social dimensions.
Dedicated section on corporate website: A section of the entity’s website that explicitly addresses ESG performance.
Dedicated sustainability task force: A formally established group of individuals who meet to discuss and monitor the implementation of the organization’s sustainability objectives.
Dedicated team member: An employee whose main responsibility is defining, implementing and monitoring the ESG objectives at organization and/or entity level.
Disclosure: The act of making information or data readily accessible and available to all interested individuals and institutions. Disclosure must be external and cannot be an internal and/or ad hoc communication within the participating entity.
Employee satisfaction survey: Survey measuring overall and work-specific employee satisfaction at the individual and organizational levels. The survey should directly address employee concerns and include the opportunity to provide recommendations for improvement. GRESB only accepts employee satisfaction surveys undertaken in the past three years.
Energy consumption data: Data obtained through monitoring the energy consumption of the portfolio. The operational energy consumption of buildings leads to substantial environmental impact. Monitoring consumption is an important basis for reducing this impact.
Energy Rating: A scheme that measures the energy efficiency performance of buildings.
Environmental objectives: Overall environmental goal, arising from the environmental policy, that an entity sets itself to achieve. The objectives should be quantifiable and correlated with the entity’s ambitions. In turn, they determine targets, which are detailed performance requirements necessary to achieve the environmental objectives.
Environmental issues: The impact on living and non-living natural systems, including land, air, water and ecosystems. This includes, but is not limited to biodiversity, transport, contamination, GHG emissions, energy, water, waste, natural hazards, supply chain environmental standards, and product and service-related impacts, as well as environmental compliance and expenditures.
Environmental resource: A material, service or information from the environment that is valuable to society. Some resources are renewable, or infinite, and some are non-renewable, or finite.
ESG case study: A report or summary of the efforts undertaken by the entity to make an individual asset or portfolio more sustainable, describing the efforts undertaken and results of these actions, such as environmental resources reduced, or (potential) economic gains.
ESG initiative: A cohesive program, action or project, that displays the entity’s ESG leadership efforts, setting it apart from other entities (e.g. research publications, philanthropic efforts, or unique ESG related innovations).
GHG emissions: GHGs refers to the seven gases listed in the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard: carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); perfluorocarbons (PFCs); nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
Governance objectives: Objectives to improve entity governance. These can relate to governance structures and composition of the entity and how this relates to economic, environmental and social dimensions, or the entity’s approach to corporate governance issues such as transparency, board composition, or bribery and corruption.
Green building certification: Recognition that a project has satisfied the requirements of a green building rating system. A certificate typically indicates the name and location of the project, version of the rating system, date of certification and level of recognition.
Integrated Report: A report that is aligned with the requirements of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Integrated Reporting Framework (December 2013).
Intensity data: The amount of Energy/GHG Emissions/Water/Waste used or produced per unit of an appropriate denominator, including but not limited to: floor area and persons.
Like-for-like data: A metric that enables comparison of results between years whilst controlling for changes such as expansions and acquisitions of the portfolio that could over or understate the values of one year as compared to another.
Long-term reduction targets of environmental resources: A measurable target that projects three or more years into the future, to reduce any of energy or water consumption, GHG emissions, waste to landfill, or similar environmental resources.
Policy: Defines a commitment, direction or intention as formally adopted by the entity.
Portfolio data Coverage: Information about the part of the portfolio for which the Energy/Water/GHG/Waste data is disclosed. This can be a percentage of floor area or number of assets covered, or a description (e.g., only consumption data from common areas is disclosed, or the consumption data relates to all directly managed assets).
Renewable energy data: Data obtained through monitoring the renewable energy generation of the portfolio. Renewable energy is defined as any source of energy that can be used without depleting its reserves including sun, wind, water, biomass or Earth’s core using technologies available on-site, such as photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, transpired solar collectors, solar hot water heaters, solar thermal energy, small-scale hydroelectric power plants, geothermal energy, landfill gas.
Responsible for: A person or group of people who work on the implementation and completion of the task, project or strategy.
Social issues: Concerns the impacts the entity has on the social systems within which it operates. This includes, but is not limited to community social and economic impacts, safety, health & well-being.
Social objectives: Objectives to improve absolute or relative on social issues, such as stakeholder engagement or health and well-being.
Standalone sustainability report: A report dedicated to the entity’s sustainability or ESG performance.
Sustainability performance: Indicators of environmental, social, or governance (ESG) management, implementation, or performance.
Tenant engagement programs/initiatives: Tenant engagement is meant to increase the satisfaction of tenants and, with that, their likelihood of remaining in the building. An effective tenant engagement program facilitates communication with the landlord and provides a path for tenant questions, concerns and suggestions to be integrated into operational and ESG decision-making. Examples of sustainability related tenant engagement programs include, but are not limited to, tenant sustainability training, sponsoring events on environmental awareness, or providing tenant fit-out guides.
Tenants/occupiers/customers: The definitions of customers and tenants/occupiers are mutually exclusive. The tenant/occupier is the person with whom the landlord of the building has a direct contractual relationship to occupy part or all of the building. In most cases, this will be a landlord/tenant relationship documented by a lease. However, it also includes occupiers that occupy on the basis of other types of contractual agreement, for example as a franchisee.
Tenant satisfaction survey: A written survey conducted by the landlord or by a third party on its behalf which gives the tenant the opportunity to give feedback regarding the building that it occupies. GRESB only accepts tenant satisfaction surveys undertaken in the past three years.
Verified: The process of checking data, as well as its collection methods and management systems, through a systematic, independent and documented process against predefined criteria or standards. Verification can be performed by a wide range of accredited professionals.
Waste production data: Data obtained through monitoring the waste production associated with the portfolio. The operational waste production of buildings leads to substantial environmental impact. Monitoring waste data is an important basis for reducing this impact.
Water consumption data: Data obtained through monitoring the water consumption of the portfolio. The operational water consumption of buildings leads to substantial environmental impact. Monitoring consumption is an important basis for reducing this impact.