Top 5 Updates You Need To Know For Your 2018 GRESB Assessment

It’s sustainability reporting season! Time to showcase what your organization has achieved over the last year. The 2018 GRESB Assessment has undergone some major developments, so here are the top 5 things you need to know to ensure success:

1. Be familiar with the changes to the 2018 GRESB Assessment

Every year, GRESB updates its Real Estate Assessment to reflect changes in the industry and feedback received the prior year. Check out our highlights on major updates to the 2018 Assessment, including the new GRESB Certifications Scheme List, Scope 3 emissions being scored, and updates to the Validation Plus Scope Methodology.

2. Set yourself up for success. Report accurately.

This might sound like a no-brainer, but reporting accurately on your sustainability performance can make a huge difference in the points you are awarded. Here are our tips for hitting the mark on sustainability reports so you can present the best version of yourself.

It may also be helpful to review your point breakdown on the 2017 GRESB Assessment (if you reported last year) to see where you lost points that should have been yours. General rule of thumb: when in doubt, include additional details.

3. Accurate data = A+ reports

ESG data tracking and sophistication is improving across the industry. In the past, estimates on building performance were the accepted norm. Now, you need to be precise. Institutional investors want to know that companies have processes in place to monitor their assets and take corrective action.

GRESB has a heavy emphasis on the quantitative portion (i.e. the Implementation & Measurement Section of each assessment accounts for 73.4% of your overall score... a small increase from last year). GRESB is putting even more weight behind this movement by introducing points for asset-level data. Check out insights from GRESB and Heitman on best practices for accurate data collection to get you started.

4. Use the reporting process to define your 2019 goals.

Reporting to GRESB without a purpose (that is, “checking a box off the to-do list”) is simply creating extensive busy work for yourself. Filing a sustainability report should play into a larger sustainability program, according to Mark Delisi, VP of Corporate Responsibility at AvalonBay Communities. Through this reporting process, you will be able to identify gaps in your current program and areas for future improvement. The modules that GRESB has introduced will help guide you on what the market considers material to ESG performance.

The Health & Well-being Module and the new Resilience Module, while both unscored in 2018, will be fully incorporated into the Real Estate Assessment in the future. These modules show us how ESG is assessed in the broader market; we expect to see these topics covered in other benchmarking systems as well as they affect tenant retention, employee satisfaction, and other “stickiness” factors.

5. Prepare to pay this year.

In previous years, the GRESB Real Estate Assessment was a free benchmark to understand where you stood in the industry. This year, European and North American companies must pay for each Real Estate Assessment. The cost?  $4,100 per “entity” – a fund or a company. If you’re a GRESB member you already have the reporting fees baked into your annual membership fee.

We get it…filing a GRESB Assessment can be a stressful time. Use the guidelines above to help get some of your proverbial ducks in a row. If you need more assistance, we’re here to help!

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