Mar 27, 2023 | 4 min read

Streamline your GRESB reporting this year

Sacha van Tuijn

With the GRESB Portal set to open in just a few days officially kicking off the 2023 GRESB reporting season, let's take a closer look at what GRESB is and how an ESG data platform can help streamline your reporting process.

Created in 2009, GRESB is the global ESG benchmark for financial markets, focusing on real estate and infrastructure investments. The 2022 Real Estate Benchmark saw its largest ever growth in total numbers with 1,820 entities participating worldwide, covering USD 6.9 trillion of GAV across 74 countries. Significant growth was focused in the Americas (30%), APAC (21%), and Europe (16%). You can find a full list of 2022 participant managers and funds here and a more detailed breakdown of the aggregate results here.

Voluntary: Although reporting to GRESB is voluntary, many investors request or even require that their investments report to GRESB. Managers gain insights into their portfolios in the fall when results are released and much of that data and insights are available to institutional and financial investors who subscribe to GRESB as investor members. Most of GRESB's 170 investor members are listed here, representing more than $6.4 trillion worth of assets under management.

When: The GRESB Portal is open from the first of April through the first of July, giving participants 3 months to complete their submission(S). Other important dates to note include January when the pre-release of the updated Assessments are usually available, the first of September when preliminary results are made available to participants for their review, and the second of October when final results are made available to participants and investors.

Who: Real estate property companies, REITs, funds and developers act as participants in the GRESB Benchmark, submitting an Assessment for each of their portfolios. Institutional and financial investors can subscribe to GRESB data sets to view insights into their investments and engage with their managers. Participants can choose not to share their results with investors in their first year of participation.

What: Originally designed to give insights into portfolio-level ESG metrics, GRESB also collects some performance data at the asset-level, though with an emphasis on dat coverage. Indicators across environmental, social and governance issues make up three components of the Real Estate Assessment: Management, Performance and Development. The Management Component  measures strategy and leadership; policies and processes; risk management; and stakeholder engagement approaches at the organizational level. The Performance Component measures portfolio performance like energy consumption, GHG emissions, water consumption and waste drawn from information collected at the asset and portfolio levels. The Development Component measures efforts to address ESG issues during a building’s design, construction and renovation phases. The Assessment is self-reported by participants and some information is validated automatically in the GRESB Portal or via a third-party validation partner.

Geographical relevance: The GRESB benchmark covers participants across the globe. Regionally, the highest participation comes from Europe, the Americas, Asia and then Oceania. By country, the top participants are the USA and the United Kingdom. Year on year, Oceania has emerged as the top performing region.

Where to report: Assessments can be populated directly in GRESB's online Portal. Some information is pre-filled year on year, but participants should check that pre-filled information is still accurate.

How Scaler can help:

Participating in GRESB is a resource-intense reporting activity regardless of where an organization is on their ESG journey. Although the Portal opens on the first of April, experienced participants often start gathering their data much earlier in the year. In fact, if you want to work with a consultant to complete a GRESB submission, you will often have to let them know by January of your intent to participate.

While the collection of policies and procedures may not change much year over year, collecting performance data across individual assets is a time-consuming process. Built on first-hand experience form within and without GRESB, Scaler is optimized to assist clients in their GRESB reporting.

GRESB Asset Spreadsheet

The most rigorous part of reporting to GRESB is completing the GRESB Asset-level Spreadsheet which collects asset-level performance data across energy, GHG, water and waste. Scaler enables you to collect data from stakeholders year round. When it's time to submit, you export your data in the GRESB format, ready to upload directly into the GRESB Portal.

All of your ESG reporting and analytics are drawn from a single source within Scaler. You can edit and update data directly in Scaler, re-generate the GRESB Spreadsheet and be confident that data is aligned across all your reporting requirements. In this way, you have ultimately oversight of your data and the information that is going into the GRESB Portal.

Scaler also automatically calculates GHG emissions data based on GRESB methodology, so you can maximize your resources and minimize error-prone manual work.

GRESB Asset Spreadsheet and report generator

Survey tool

Collecting performance data from multiple stakeholders across an entire portfolio is arguably one of the most time-consuming aspects of ESG reporting. Scaler's survey tool allows you to engage with your stakeholders directly from your ESG data management platform and gives you maximum flexibility in requesting various data points from an unlimited number of internal and external parties. The surveys automatically populate your dashboard after being reviewed. You can manage the full process with customizable surveys, deadlines, automatic reminder settings, completion tracking and review requests.

Streamline your data collection and maximize your resources by minimizing errors, frustration and lost time that results from running this process via email and excel.

Scaler survey tool Scaler survey tool management view

GRESB Performance Estimate and Score Modeler

The time and effort put into executing and reporting on an ESG strategy-- and the implications of the GRESB Score-- mean that mMost managers want an idea of what can be expected in terms of their Score before they submit. Scaler estimates your performance on asset-level data and allows you to model your GRESB Score. This means that at any point in the year, and even before you are prepared to report to GRESB, you can see the potential points you can achieve based on GRESB's Scoring Methodology.

GRESB Performance estimate modeler

GRESB dashboard to support performance improvement

Despite the vast amount of information available in the GRESB Benchmark Report, it remains difficult for managers to translate their results into meaningful action. Our customized GRESB dashboard allows users to zero-in on precisely which assets are underperforming and across which Aspects, as well as identify the best areas to focus resources in order to improve their GRESB Score. As soon as performance data is complete, you can start developing and implementing a strategy for the coming year, rather than waiting until October when the GRESB results are released. And if you have a portfolio that hasn't started reporting, you can easily assess readiness as part of your overall ESG strategy.

Scaler GRESB-analytics dashboard

If you'd like to streamline your GRESB reporting this year, get in touch for a free assessment from our experts. GRESB is only one part of ESG, so be sure to ask how we can support your entire sustainability practice and empower your team to make your business future-proof.