August 29, 2019


GRESB at the Decade Mark - the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark Serving Investors, Real Estate Asset Owners and Managers, Developers...

A decade ago, two large institutional investors (PGGM Investments and APG Asset Management and Maastricht University (The Netherlands) launched “GRESB” to try to develop more efficient access to comparable and reliable data related to the ESG performance of their investments.  (GRESB=Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark.)  The initial research for the approach was done by Dr. Nils Kok and Sander Paul van Tongeren.

As the 10-year anniversary is observed, consider that GRESB data now covers US$4 trillion in real estate and infrastructure value, and the small group of pioneers (there were 10 founding members) is part of a considerable global network of institutional investors, asset owners/managers, and stakeholders including industry partners, ESG service providers and media platforms.

The GRESB mission is to assess and benchmark the ESG performance of “real assets” (think real estate and infrastructure) and move toward standardization and validation of data for consideration by capital market players. 

Industry players can have business intelligence to compare where they stand against peers and develop action plans to catch up or surpass, along with a reliable means of sharing corporate data for investors. 

To give you an idea of how far GRESB has come, today there are more than 1,000 entities participating in the 2019 real estate assessment and 17 funds and 393 assets participating in the 2019 infrastructure assessment.  GRESB covers 100,000 assets (of which 66,000 are reported at the asset level for the real estate market).

The GRESB survey for asset owners can be challenging, but worth doing.  The annual surveys are organized in (7) specific categories with 50 or more questions for responders’ consideration…the results are scores assigned by GRESB.  A Guidance Document helps responders organize their effort to strive for a higher score (100 is tops; downward scores represent percentages).

GRESB bold name members today include CalPERS, Credit Suisse, BlackRock and Aviva on the investing side; and, CBRE, Brookfield, Centerpoint and Manulife Real Estate on the real estate management roster. (Click here for the Member list)

GRESB is reviewing its 2019 results on a global basis with briefing in world capitals.  For the meeting near to you, check GRESB events.

Governance & Accountability Institute teamed with GRESB management to produce an introductory webinar – “GRESB in 60 Days:  Tech, Tools & Best Practices to Respond…”  Here you can find out why these reports matter, and how to get started on the GRESB journey.  Guest speakers include Matt Ellis, Founder of Measurabl (a G&A partner organization); Mark Delisis, at Avalon Bay Communities; Ulrich Scharf of GRESB; and Hank and Lou from G&A Institute. You can tune in here.

Here is information from Measurabl on GRESB. The G&A Institute team advises and supports several real estate management client organizations.  For more information about our services to the industry, please email

The Top Story

GRESB Expands Its ESG Coverage of the Real Assets Industry
Source: GRESB – The Benchmark for Real Assets

Sustainability Standards Setters & Policy Makers

Adoption of Zero Emission Vehicle Program Will Drive Colorado’s Transition to a Clean Transportation Future – Source: Ceres

New Ceres Analysis Calls on Power Sector to Decarbonize Before 2050 – Source: Ceres

Think globally, act locally: new guidance for companies on sustainable water use – Source: CDP

Strengthening services for effective ESG reporting – Source: Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Important Report for your consideration: Guide To Setting Site Water Targets Informed By Catchment Context – Source: UN Global Compact

As Climate Crisis Looms, Businesses Should Manage Water Challenges Locally – Source: UN Global Compact

PRI Highlights Need For Improved ESG Data - Source: Markets Media -


ESG / Sustainable & Responsible Investment

Can big investors save the world? - Source: BBC

Sustainable Finance Industry Guide - Source: GRESB

Green Packaging Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2019-2024 - Source: Yahoo Finance 

ESG Investing: Is Microsoft a Responsible Investment? - Source: The Motley Fool 

If you’re searching for a feel-good stock, see how Nike scores on The Motley Fool’s ESG framework - Source: The Motley Fool 

Investors Want More Standardized Sustainability Disclosures - Source: Cooley Pub 

Using ESG Ratings to Build a Sustainability Investing Strategy - Source: CPA Journal 

ESG data getting better as the market matures - Source: Investment News 

Artificial intelligence promises to enhance sustainable investing  - Source: FT 

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