Download PDF

2020

Real Estate

Assessment

Pre-Release

Contents

Disclaimer: 2020 GRESB Real Estate Assessment Pre-Release

The information in this document has been provided in good faith and on an “as is” basis. While we do not anticipate major changes, we reserve the right to make modifications prior to the official start of the 2020 reporting period on April 1 and the official release of the 2020 Real Estate Assessment. We will publicly announce any such modifications.

Introduction

About GRESB

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.

2020 Assessments Structure

An important outcome of the 2020 Assessment development process has been a reconfirmation that the Assessments address material ESG topics for the real estate and infrastructure industry. As a result, the 2020 development process was limited to making structural changes to the Assessments rather than introducing new indicators or making extensive content changes with an impact on scoring.

The structural changes arise from the introduction of the separate Management, Performance and Development Components. On the content side, the number of indicators in the Assessments has been reduced and several indicators have been simplified. This is particularly apparent in the Performance Component, where the introduction of asset level reporting has allowed the removal of several indicators measuring data availability and coverage.

With the introduction of the GRESB Development Benchmark, participants with development activities will have a better understanding of their ESG performance and how this compares to their peers. Previously, this benchmark only included developers, but now managers with both standing investments and development projects will be included in both the GRESB Developer Benchmark and GRESB Real Estate Benchmark and will receive two Benchmark Reports to reflect their performance in each category.

Overall, the 2020 Assessments provide more consistency between real estate and infrastructure and an improved alignment with other responding standards and frameworks. The Assessments also lay the groundwork for us to provide new data and analytical tools in the portal and support a further evolution in data quality.

The starting point for the Assessment development process was the 2019 Assessments. The 2019 indicators have been allocated to the new Management, Performance and Development components, on the basis that:

For more information about the 2020 Assessments development process, click here.

Grace Period

GRESB offers participants reporting for the first time the option to not disclose their first-year Assessment results to their investors. This "Grace Period" allows companies and funds a year to familiarize themselves with the GRESB reporting and assessment process without externally disclosing their results to GRESB Investor Members.

While Grace Period participant names are disclosed to GRESB Investor Members, Investor Members are not able to request access to Grace Period participant results.

First-time participants wishing to opt for the Grace Period can select the option from the settings section in the Assessment Portal.

Who can see my data?

Data collected through the GRESB Real Estate Assessment is only disclosed to the participants themselves and:

The asset level data provided to GRESB is strictly confidential and will only be used for aggregation to portfolio level. No individual asset level information will be disclosed to participants’ investors, without the managers’ explicit consent.

Timeline & Process

The GRESB Real Estate assessment opens in the GRESB Portal on April 1, 2020. The submission deadline is July 1, 2020, providing participants with a three-month window to complete the Assessment. This is a fixed deadline, and GRESB will not accept submissions received after this date. GRESB validates and analyzes all participants’ Assessment submissions.

In 2020 we will introduce a new Review Period in the Assessment Cycle to further strengthen the reliability of our Assessments and benchmark results. The Review Period will start on September 1, when preliminary individual GRESB results will be made available to all participants and run for the month. During the Review Period, participants will be able to submit a review request to GRESB using a dedicated form. The final results will be launched to both participants and Investor Members on October 1. Public Results events and other results outputs will be rescheduled to October and November in order to accommodate the September Review Period.

For more information about the 2020 Assessment timeline, click here.

Response Check service

A Response Check is a high-level check of a participant’s GRESB Real Estate submission by the GRESB team, taking place prior to submission of a response. It minimizes the risk of errors that could adversely impact Assessment results. The Response Check fee is 1750 EUR (exclusive of VAT).

Guidance & Support

The 2020 Real Estate Assessment will be accompanied by indicator-specific Guidance that explains:

The written Reference Guide will be available during the first week of March 2020. Starting April 1, 2020, guidance is also available in the GRESB Portal through pop-up fields next to each indicator. The GRESB Helpdesk will open on the same date.

2020 GRESB Real Estate Assessment Changes

Management Component

High-level comments

Structure

The Management component is comprised of 30 indicators structured in 5 aspects

  • Leadership
  • Policies
  • Reporting
  • Risk management
  • Stakeholder engagement

Indicator Titles

Each indicator has been assigned a title, which will facilitate referencing in different documents and data download tools.

Entity-level reporting

All indicators reference the reporting entity ("Does the entity...>"). If the entity is part of a larger organization, the responses may relate to the organization level activities as long as they also apply to the entity.

Indicator-level comments

EC2

Removed classification by "Finite or infinite structure"

Rationale for change: Not relevant for analysis and not used by investors.

Added classification for "Type of investment vehicle"

Rationale for change: Can be used for peer grouping classification in the future.

EC3

Separated "Commencement of entity" into a new indicator. This used to be part of EC2.

RC3

New indicator on Property type and Geography of operations

This information will be used for entity classification and peer group allocation. The Management component assesses corporate strategy and manager performance and is independent from portfolio structure (regional and sector allocation of assets).

RC4

Simplified indicator on nature of business

This indicator is no longer used for peer grouping or performance benchmarking in the Management component, but the information is relevant for investors.

Leadership

LE1

(Former PD6) Expanded the list of predefined options and moved to the new Leadership aspect

Rationale for change: The list has been increased based on an analysis of the "Other" options previously reported as well as alignment with the GRESB Infrastructure Assessment.

Impact of change: The scope of the indicator is expanded to include a more thorough list of commitments.

LE6

(Former MA5) Scope of the indicator is expanded to capture the types of incentivized KPIs

Rationale for change: The updated indicator ensures full compliance and reporting alignment with RobecoSAM 2.6.2. Management Incentives.

Impact of change: Restructured indicator to allow the selection of different groups of employees for different types of consequences (i.e. financial and non-financial).

Policies

PO1

(Former PD1) Amended the list of options to align with Infrastructure Asset PD1

PO2

(Former PD2) Amended the list of options to align with Infrastructure Asset PD2

Rationale for change: The updated indicator provides full compliance with RobecoSAM 3.3.1 Human Rights.

PO3

(Former PD3) Amended the list of options to include cybersecurity

RP1

(Former PD5.1 and PD5.2) The two indicators have been merged together, forming a combined indicator on ESG disclosure and third-party reporting review

Rationale for change: Combining these two indicators together will simplify the validation process and will provide participants with clear overview of their ESG disclosure and third-party reporting review. The name of the service provider will no longer be reported. "Other" answers provided to the Scheme name dropdown menu are subject to validation. The list of available options will be reviewed.

Impact of change: Scoring mechanism will change to better reflect the contents and specificity of reporting, as well as the alignment standard.

RP2.1

(Former PD7.1) Expanded the list of stakeholders

Rationale for change: The list is based on "Other" answers provided in 2019 and to align with Infrastructure Asset PD5 and Infrastructure Fund 13.

RP2.2

(Former PD7.2) Small terminology edits to align with GRESB Infrastructure. Included "number of pending investigations" in the scope of the indicator.

Rationale for change: The updated indicator ensures full alignment with RobecoSAM 1.4.7 Reporting on breaches and partial alignment with RobecoSAM 1.4.5 Anti-competitive practices.

Risks and Opportunities

RM1

(Former ME1) Indicator moved from the Monitoring & EMS section to the newly defined Risk Management section.

Rationale for change: All other indicators from the Monitoring & EMS aspect were either removed or transferred to the Peformance component, since they refer to the performance of individual assets.

Impact of change: Reduced reporting burden.

RM2

(Former RO1) Expand list of answer options to include the ones provided by Robeco

Rationale for change: The updated indicator provides partial compliance with RobecoSAM 1.4.4 Systems & Procedures. It provides all answer options for the identification of a system or a procedure implemented to ensure compliance with PD3, but it does not require external audit or assurance of these systems.

RM3.1 and RM3.2

(Former RO2) The indicators have been split into two individual indicators - one referring to social risk assessments and another one for governance ones.

Stakeholder engagement

SE1

Removed the list of training-specific issues in the Environmental and Social categories

Rationale for change: Simplified indocator by removing the list of training-specific issues in the Environmental and Social categories. The new list simply asks participants to define whether training covers E/S/G. The training-specific issues were not used for scoring and they will be included as examples in the Reference Guide.

Impact of change: Reduced reporting burden.

SE2.2

List of pre-defined options expanded to align with the GRESB Infrastructure Assessment

Former SE12.1

Integrated content into the new SE3.1

Former SE4.2

Removed indicator

Rationale for change: The intent is already covered in SE5.2 (the new SE10.2). This indicator was not scored in 2019.

Impact of change: Refuced reporting burden.

SE5

(Former PD4) Reclassified the indicator as Social instead of Governance

Rationale for change: The reclassification provides alignment with EPRA and GRESB Infrastructure Assessment.

SE6

(Former SE7) Adapted indicator for the Management component

Rationale for change: This becomes a strategic type of indicator that relates to corporate strategy for tenant engagement. The indicator should be applicable to entities that do not have any assets and no tenants./p>

(Former SE8.2)

Merged into the new SE5

SE3.2

(Former SE12.2) Expanded the list of pre-defined options to include the ones specified by RobecoSAM. These answers would have been accepted as Other answers, in all cases.

Rationale for change: The updated indicator provides full compliance with RobecoSAM, 3.7.3 Health & Well-being.

SE6

(Former SE4.1) Added "Child labor" and "Working conditions" to the list of pre-defined answer options

Rationale for change: The updated is fully aligned with RobecoSAM 1.7.1 Supplier Code of Conduct.

SE8

(Former SE6) List of predefined options aligned with Infrastructure

Rationale for change:Removed options "External property/asset managers and "Service provides", both of which are covered by the option "Contractors".

Impact of change:Indicator will be scored as of 2020 and will require supporting evidence. Scoring criteria to be defined.

Performance Component

High-level comments

Structure

The Performance component is comprised of 10 aspects:

  • Risk management
  • Energy (Asset level)
  • GHG emissions (Asset level)
  • Water (Asset level)
  • Waste (Asset level)
  • Data monitoring and review
  • Targets
  • Building certifications (Asset level)
  • Efficiency measures
  • Tenants and community

Eliminate the concept of Managed and Indirectly managed assets

GRESB introduced this terminology a few years ago, without it being generally used in the industry. This concept is replaced by "Landlord Controlled" and "Tenant Controlled" areas, where the same notion of operational control as before is used to differentiate one from the other. As a reminder, the notion of operational control is aligned with the GHG Protocol. Moreover, while the notion of Managed/Indirectly Managed was applied on an asset, the distinction between Landlord and Tenant Controlled is applied at the space level, allowing an asset to include both Landlord and Tenant Controlled areas.

High-level Asset Level Spreadsheet Changes

Please note that the Asset Level Spreadsheet is being tested. While we do not anticipate major changes, we reserve the right to make modifications prior to the official start of the 2020 reporting period on April 1, 2020. Participants should use the April 1, 2020 version to prepare and submit their data.

The pre-release version of the Asset Level Spreadsheet is available here.

Each row represents an asset and a year. This means that an asset can take multiple rows, for multiple years.

Rationale for change:Alignment with tidy data best practices. Easier to adjust Data Management Systems to GRESB Asset Spreadsheet. No more need for data coverage changes columns in the asset characteristics tab because floor areas covered will be collected for both CY and LY. Ability to expand the like-for-like portfolio in certain cases with data coverage change. Reduces the size of the spreadsheet, making it easier to review data.

Remove columns for indirectly/directly managed assets as consumption columns are split between landlord and tenant controlled areas

Rationale for change:The direct consequence of eliminating the concept of indirectly managed assets. Data previously reported under Indirectly Managed Assets should now be reported under Tenant Controlled consumption columns.

Split the former Building Characteristics tab into Asset Characteristics and Reporting Characteristics

Rationale for change:Given that the asset-level spreadsheet covers at least 2 reporting periods (Current Year and Last Year), the purpose of this change is to separate asset-level metrics that vary over time (e.g. vacancy rate) from the constant characteristics of an asset (e.g. Property type, Location, etc.). Splitting these into 2 separate tabs clarify the reporting under the new approach where 1 asset is represented in 2 rows (see point above).

Construction year becomes a mandatory field for all assets

Rationale for change:Along with vacancy rate, weather conditions and property type, the age of an asset represents one of the most important criteria to consider when it comes to understanding its consumption profile. Given that GRESB’s purpose is to provide comparable (normalized) intensities to the industry, we need to start collecting this datapoint consistently for all reported assets.

Introduce columns that identify the period of Data Availability for each asset

Rationale for change:GRESB used to only capture Period of Ownership of an asset. Since there may be a difference between the Period of Ownership of an asset and the Period during which consumption data is known (Data Availability), only the latter can be used for analytical/normalization purposes. As such, while the Period of Ownership is used to define an entity’s reporting boundaries, Data Availability fields are introduced for analytical purposes.

Energy, Water and Waste efficiency measures as well as technical building assessments are now tracked at the asset level on a Yes / No basis

Rationale for change:This change is consistent with the introduction of mandatory asset-level reporting for Energy, GHG, Water and Waste in 2020. As all performance indicators are now to be reported at the asset-level, it is necessary to also capture recently implemented measures at the asset level to provide context to the reported performance.

Entity & Reporting Characteristics

Portfolio composition table (former RC5.1) for verification purposes only (aggregated from asset level, cannot be amended at portfolio level)

Rationale for change:Former indicator RC5.1 will be automatically populated using the aggregate data provided at the asset-level through the Asset Portal. The purpose of this table (former RC5.1) in 2020 is to facilitate a check on whether all assets were entered in the Asset Portal. Moreover, participants will have to manually assign the %GAV for each property type - this information will be used to determine the peer group of the entity.

Portfolio composition confirmation (RC5.2) now in validation scope

Rationale for change:GRESB validation of the completeness and accuracy of the reporting entity’s portfolio is now integrated into the Validation process, whereby a percentage of all reporting entities will be selected for validation. If a material discrepancy between the portfolio reported and supporting evidence is identified, GRESB may reach out to the participants and request the submitted data to be amended. Should there remain a material discrepancy after the outreach process, GRESB reserves the right to reject the submission.

Energy

Renewable energy now collected at the asset level

Rationale for change:The entire Performance Indicators section is transferred at asset level.

GHG emissions

Report on both Market and Location-based Scope 2 Emissions separately

Rationale for change:Requirement for alignment with the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard 2015 Scope 2 Guidance Amendment. Including this variable in the Assessment is important for complete and accurate investor carbon footprinting. Without either one, investors will have insufficient understanding of why and how GHG emissions declined or increased. Additionally, comparing both variables provides insights into the efforts undertaken to reduce emissions through selecting an entity’s electricity provider.Reporting of market-based emissions remains optional in 2020.

Water

Water reused and recycled now collected at the asset level

Rationale for change:Improved data quality and ability to benchmark water reused and recycled at a more granular level.

Recognition of water reused/recycled purchased off-site

Rationale for change:A minority of real estate assets have the capacity to have on-site water reuse facilities. In addition to making more sense from a business perspective, purchasing recycled water off-site does positively contributed to the overall ESG performance of an asset.

Waste

Waste management indicators now collected at the asset level

Rationale for change:Improved data quality and ability to benchmark water reused and recycled at a more granular level.

Building certifications

Building certifications and Energy ratings are reported at the asset level

Rationale for change:Mapping building certifications and energy ratings to the asset-level is the logical next step for reporting purposes. Certifications can be reported in both the asset level spreadsheet or directly in the Asset Portal. This will allow for an enhanced understanding of which assets have certain certifications and can be used for further analysis.

Indicator Changes Overview

Aspect 2019 Code 2020 Indicator Changes
Risks and Opportunities RO3.2 RO1 Risk assessments performed on the standing investments portfolio
RO4 RO4 Technical building assessment Tracked at asset level through Yes/No dropdown
RO5 RO2 Energy efficiency/conservation measures Tracked at asset level through Yes/No dropdown
RO6 RO3 Water efficiency/conservation measures Tracked at asset level through Yes/No dropdown
RO7 RO4 Waste efficiency/management measures Tracked at asset level through Yes/No dropdown
Data Monitoring and Review ME2 ME2 Data management system (DMS) Deleted
ME3 MR1 Energy consumption monitoring methods Deleted (except AMR at asset level)
ME4 MR2 Water consumption monitoring methods Deleted (except AMR at asset level)
ME5 MR3 Waste consumption monitoring methods Deleted
PI1.4 MR4 Third-party review of Energy data
PI2.3 MR5 Third-party review of GHG data
PI3.4 MR6 Third-party review of Water data
PI1.4 MR7 Third-party review of Energy data
Energy PI1.0 Composition of floor area types & reporting at asset-level for energy Deleted (no longer required)
PI1.1 Energy consumption data Asset level
PI1.2 Energy intensity rates Deleted (calculated automatically)
PI1.3 Renewable energy generated Asset level
GHG emissions PI2.0 GHG emissions collection method, reporting boundaries approach & reporting at asset-level for GHG Deleted (no longer required)
PI2.1 GHG emission data Asset level
PI2.2 GHG intensity rates Deleted (calculated automatically)
Water PI3.0 Reporting at asset-level for water Deleted
PI3.1 Water consumption data Asset level
PI3.2 Water intensity rates Deleted (calculated automatically)
PI3.3 Water reuse and recycling Asset level
Waste PI4.0 Reporting at asset-level for waste Deleted
PI4.1 Waste generation data Asset level
Building Certifications BC1.1 Design/construction/renovation building certifications Asset level
BC1.2 Operational building certifications Asset level
BC2 Energy Ratings Asset level
Tenants & Community SE7 TC1 Tenant engagement program on ESG issues
SE8.1 TC2.1 Tenant satisfaction survey
SE8.2 TC2.2 Program to improve tenant satisfaction
SE9 TC3 Fit-out & refurbishment program for tenants on ESG
SE10.1 TC4 Sustainability-specific requirements in lease contracts (green leases)
SE10.2 Monitoring of sustainability-specific requirements Deleted
SE11.1 TC5 Community engagement program on ESG issues
SE11.2 TC6 Monitoring of impact on community
SE13.1 TC7 Health & well-being promotion program - through real estate assets
SE13.2 TC8 Measures to incorporate health & well-being through real estate assets

Development Component

High-level comments

Structure

The Development component is comprised of 7 aspects:

  • ESG requirements
  • Materials
  • Building Certifications
  • Energy
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Stakeholder Engagement

"ESG" instead of "sustainability"

As a general rule, we refer to “ESG”, not “sustainability”. We have made changes in all applicable cases.

Indicator titles

Each indicator was assigned a title, which will facilitate referencing in different documents and data download tools.

Entity-level reporting

All indicators reference the reporting entity ("Does the entity..."). If the entity is part of a larger organization, the responses may relate to the organization level activities as long as they also apply to the entity.

Indicator-level comments

ESG requirements

DRE1

(Former NC1) Expanded the list of answer options.

Rationale for change: Additional options added to be more material to NCMR, based on frequently provided other answers in 2019, and to align with PO1.

DRE2.1

(Former NC2) Expanded the list of answer options.

Rationale for change: Additional options added based on frequently provided other answers in 2019.

DRE2.2

(Former NC3) Expanded the list of answer options.

Rationale for change: Additional options added based on building certification requirements and frequently provided other answers in 2019.

Removed "alignment" section

Materials

DMA1

(Former NC4) Expanded the list of answer options.

Rationale for change: Additional options added for granularity.

DMA2.1

New indicator on life-cycle assessments and methodology.

Rationale for change: The new indicator provides full alignment with CDP 2020 Questionnaire.

DMA2.2

New indicator on disclosure of embodied carbon.

Rationale for change: The new indicator provides full alignment with CDP 2020 Questionnaire.

Building Certifications

DBC1

(Former NC5.1) Improved wording to clarify between the provided options.

Added evidence request

Energy

DEN1

(Former NC6) Expanded list of answer options

Additional options added based on based on frequently provided other answers in 2019. Added mandatory evidence upload for Requirements for planning and design to align with NC9 and NC10 evidence requirements.

DEN2.2

(Former NC7.2) Net-zero carbon as opposed to net-zero energy

Amended indicator to net-zero carbon to align with CDP 2020 and other industry frameworks.

Waste

DWS1

(Former NC9) Expanded list of answer options

Rationale for change: Additional option added based on frequently provided other answers in 2019.

Stakeholder Engagement

DSE1

(Former NC11) Amended indicator to align with TC5.2

Rationale for change: Options cleaned up and amended to further align with TC5.2.

DSE2.1

(Former NC12.1) Expanded list of answer options

Rationale for change: Additional option added based on frequently provided other answers in 2019.

DSE2.2

(Former NC12.2) Expanded list of answer options

Rationale for change: Additional options added based on frequently provided other answers in 2019 and OSHA methodologies.

DSE3.1

(Former NC10.1) Expanded list of answer options

Rationale for change: Updated indicator is fully aligned with Robeco SAM 1.7.1 Supplier Code of Conduct.

DSE3.2

(Former NC10.2) Expanded list of answer options

Rationale for change: Additional option added based on frequently provided other answers in 2019.

DSE4

New indicator on community engagement program

Rationale for change: Alignment with TC6.1.

DSE5.1

(Former NC13) Expanded list of answer options

Entity & Reporting Characteristics

Entity Characteristics

Reporting Characteristics

Management: Leadership

ESG leadership commitments

2019 Indicator

Not scored , MP, G

2 points , MP, G

3 points , MP, G

Sustainability Decision Making

2019 Indicator

2 points , MP, G

1 point , MP, G

3 points , MP, G

Management: Policies

ESG Policies

2019 Indicator

3 points , MP, G

2 points , MP, G

2 points , MP, G

Management: Reporting

Sustainability Disclosure

2019 Indicator

4 points , MP, G

Not scored , MP, G

Not scored , MP, G

Management: Risk Management

Risk Management

2019 Indicator

3 points , MP, G

1 point , MP, G

2 points , MP, G

2 points , MP, G

2 points , MP, S

Management: Stakeholder Engagement

Employees

2019 Indicator

2 points , MP, S

1.5 points , MP, S

1 point , MP, S

2 points , MP, S

Not scored , MP, S

0.5 points , MP, S

Not scored , MP, S

Suppliers

2019 Indicator

3 points , MP, G

2 points , MP, S

2 points , MP, S

Not scored , MP, S

Performance: Reporting Characteristics

Performance: Risk Assessment

2 points , IM, E

Performance: Targets

3 points , IM, E

Performance: Tenants & Community

Tenants/Occupiers

2019 Indicator

4 points , IM, S

3 points , IM, S

1 point , IM, S

3 points , IM, E

3 points , IM, E

1.5 points , IM, S

Not scored , IM, S

Community

2019 Indicator

3 points , IM, S

1.5 points , IM, S

Performance: Energy

The pre-release version of the Asset Level Spreadsheet is available here.

Energy Consumption Data

2019 Indicator

12 points , IM, E

Performance: GHG

GHG Emissions Data

2019 Indicator

3.5 points , IM, E

Performance: Water

Water Use Data

2019 Indicator

3.5 points , IM, E

Performance: Waste

Waste Management Data

2019 Indicator

3.25 points , IM, E

Performance: Data Monitoring & Review

Review, verification and assurance of performance indicators data

2019 Indicator

1 point , IM, E

0.75 points , IM, E

0.75 points , IM, E

0.75 points , IM, E

Performance: Building Certifications

Building Certifications

2019 Indicator

10 points , IM, E

12 points , IM, E

3 points , IM, E

Development: Reporting Characteristics

Development

Development: ESG Requirements

Sustainability Requirements

2019 Indicator

1 point

3 points

1.5 points

Development: Materials

Materials and Certifications

2019 Indicator

2.5 points

2 points

Development: Building Certifications

2 points

5 points

Development: Energy

Energy

2019 Indicator

3 points

3 points

1 point

Development: Water

Water Conservation

2019 Indicator

2 points

Development: Waste

Waste Management

2019 Indicator

2 points

Development: Stakeholder Engagement

Health, Safety and Well-being

2019 Indicator

2 points

1 point

1 point

Supply Chain

2019 Indicator

2 points

2 points

Community Impact and Engagement

2019 Indicator

3 points

1.5 points

1.5 points