Monday, 24 March 2014

The Great GRESB Opens for Reporting

Written by Julia Butterworth
CBRE Energy & Sustainability

Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) participants are gearing up to respond to the GRESB 2014 survey, with the input portal opening on 1st April.

GRESB is a voluntary disclosure tool used by companies and funds to report and benchmark against environmental, social and governance issues to investor members.

2014 Survey 
The updated GRESB participant survey for 2014 was recently released and can be viewed here. Changes have largely been confined to modifying questions so they are easier to understand, as opposed to radical changes to the content or structure of the survey.

GRESB anticipate that ‘investment grade’ data will be necessary to meet standards of disclosure and reporting in the next 2-5 years. To this end, they have decided that for the first time they will conduct a  data validation audit, in other words a random spot check, on 20% of respondents. Participants are therefore advised to provide as much supporting evidence as possible when providing documentation upon submission.

This year, GRESB has looked to improve the quality of the data provided and therefore introduced energy intensities to the performance indicator section. For 2014, GRESB has not provided the methodology for calculating such intensities, meaning  participants will not be scored against this data as such, only whether it is disclosed or not.

This is a good first step as, after all, improved data results in a better benchmarking tool. This will be particularly true for subsequent reporting years when such data is used as a performance scoring measurement to determine change in energy intensity. However, the one caveat is a non-prescriptive methodology means it is likely to be tricky to allow for accurate benchmarking across participant portfolios.
As well as energy intensity indicators, a number of additional social and community focused questions have been included. 

Next Steps
The survey data input portal opens for respondents in just under two weeks on the 1st April when the scoring methodology will also be available. The submission deadline is 1st July, with the results to be published and distributed in September 2014.

GRESB advise participants to log in on the 1st April to demonstrate to investor members that they have kicked-off the process for 2014 and are making the first steps to address reporting.

CBRE provides GRESB reporting and advisory services for a number of clients. Please contact us if you would like to discuss how we can help you optimise your reporting.

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