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2020

Resilience

Assessment

Contents

Introduction

Worldwide, the frequency, size and cost of disasters is increasing, driven by climate change, population growth, rapid urbanization, and other factors. Sustainability efforts are critical in helping mitigate these factors, including action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; increase the use of clean, renewable energy sources; conserve water resources; and plan safe, equitable communities. Such efforts are essential and must be continued and expanded. At the same time, businesses or communities must prepare for the changes that lie ahead. Organizations need to identify hazards, assess risks, and systematically adapt to a changing climate and changing world.

Long-term, global trends including population growth, urbanization, and climate change necessitate that efforts to manage property and infrastructure in the future cannot entirely rely on past experience. Scientific evidence points to significant change, along with great uncertainty about local and regional impacts. The challenges of this dynamic future are daunting, but they also provide significant business opportunities. Scientists can already make reliable predictions about many types of impacts, along with information needed to identify the most vulnerable places and people. In parallel, new technologies and strategies are emerging that can mitigate local hazards, reduce risks, and protect life and property. The availability of this understanding and opportunities for positive action create the need to understand how property and infrastructure companies are acting to use these tools to manage risk and, in some cases, seize business opportunities.

These circumstances have motivated the development of the GRESB Resilience Module (the Module). The Module has two primary goals:

  1. Meet investor demand for information about the resilience of property and infrastructure companies and funds; and
  2. Provide more information about the processes that property and infrastructure companies use to identify, assess, and manage climate-related risks.

Definitions

For the Module, resilience is defined as the ability of an entity (i.e., organization or fund) to plan for, respond to, and rebound from short-term shocks and long-term stressors. This encompasses the Module’s original working definition, “The ability to survive and thrive when subjected to shocks and stressors…”.

The Resilience Module addresses two fundamental categories of climate-related risk identified by the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD): transition risk and physical risk.

Transition risks refer to those posed by market, policy, legal, reputational, technological, and other risk factors that arise from the ongoing shift to a low-carbon economy necessary to achieve the goals of the United Nations Paris Agreement. This transition may create new liabilities for companies, particularly those reliant on inefficient or carbon-intensive technologies. Such companies may not only be at risk from the increased cost of complying with current and future regulation (e.g., U.K. Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for leased property), but may also exhibit competitive disadvantages. However, the transition will also create new opportunities for companies capable of providing low-carbon solutions such as energy efficiency programs or buildings powered by renewable energy.

Physical risks are those associated with a myriad of acute shocks (e.g., wildfires, flood events, tropical and extra-tropical storms) and chronic stresses (e.g., changing heating and cooling degree days, precipitation levels) caused or exacerbated by climate change.

While the Resilience Module aligns with the TCFD in addressing both transition and physical risks, it takes a broader perspective than the TCFD by evaluating and scoring other resilience-related measures beyond these two major categories. Notably, the Module provides indicators related to the social risks caused or exacerbated by transition or physical climate-related risk factors, categorized here as Social risks. Social risk factors include social shocks and stressors such as labor market disruption, building inaccessibility, inequity, loss of life during catastrophic events, and others, many of which are described by the global 100 Resilient Cities program. Other social risks unrelated to climate change are addressed in the core assessment.

For the purpose of 2020 reporting, the Resilience Module provides relevant, actionable information related to transition, physical, and social risks and opportunities facing real estate and infrastructure companies around the world.

Scope and Purpose

The Resilience Module provides investors with information needed to understand how real estate and infrastructure companies and funds are identifying and assessing long-term trends, preparing for potentially disruptive events and changing conditions, and ultimately becoming more resilient over time. The Module provides companies and funds with the opportunity to communicate their governance, risk assessment, business strategy, and performance measurement for climate-related risks and opportunities.

The Resilience Module was designed to align with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). While it is not meant to, by itself, constitute a complete climate-related risk disclosure in accordance with the TCFD, it nonetheless provides a strong basis for one in the context of real estate and infrastructure fund management.

The Resilience Module does not attempt to assess or communicate specific risks to individual assets, such as homes or buildings. Rather, the Resilience Module provides an entity-level framework to report on the processes used to conduct such risk assessments and use those results to manage risk and create value. Stakeholders interested in asset-level risk assessment and management are referred to a growing number of tools such as those identified in the GRESB (2018) Special Report on Real Assets and Resilience.

Timeline

The GRESB Resilience Module is a three-year effort to improve reporting and benchmarking for climate risk and resilience by property and infrastructure companies. The stages of development of the Module are as follows:

In 2021, select climate risk and resilience indicators will be incorporated, scored, and reported as part of the core Real Estate and Infrastructure Assessments.

Structure

The 2020 Resilience Module has four sections:

  1. Leadership & Governance
  2. Risk Assessment
  3. Business Strategy & Financial Planning
  4. Performance Metrics & Targets

The Resilience Module is available for the Real Estate, Developer, Infrastructure Asset and Infrastructure Fund Assessment.

The Resilience Module contains indicator structures familiar to users of GRESB Real Estate or Infrastructure Assessments. Each item consists of a “Yes or No” question. Either choice provides the option of providing additional text comments. Selecting "Yes" provides a set of sub-questions to refine the response and the option to provide supporting evidence in the form of an uploaded document or hyperlink.

Data Access

Participants in the Resilience Module can control access to Module results via the GRESB Portal by checking a box to confirm whether they wish to share their Module results with their investors. If a participant elects to share its Module results, the results will appear as a separate section in the participant’s GRESB Benchmark Report. If a participant chooses not to share its results, Resilience Module results will not appear in the Benchmark Report. This selection can be changed upon request here. Aggregated information from all Resilience Module participants will be used as the basis for a market report and related research.

GRESB Resilience Indicators

Not scored

3 points

3 points

3 points

3 points

3 points

3 points

3 points

3 points