At EVORA we are already preparing our clients and ourselves for the next GRESB cycle. Because, like spring, it is just around the corner.
Every year, the GRESB portal opens its doors on April 1st and closes them on July 1st. During this time, the wires to Amsterdam run hot and there are many sleepless nights for some participants. “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done”, as Mark Twain said.
So, what are the challenges and key deliverables of a GRESB submission?
Data. Data. Data.
Data Coverage is a big deal at GRESB and nearly one-third of the points are linked to consumption data such as energy, carbon, water and waste data. Even if data collation sounds simple, it is not in real life. Data coverage on asset-level can be particularly challenging, especially in the absence of AMR (Automatic Meter Reading). However, data collection alone is not enough. It is crucial to understand the data and to identify inconsistencies. This is where our in-house developed software SIERA enters the scene; not only for GRESB submissions but generally to better understand how efficient buildings are within a portfolio.
SIERA was specifically developed for the real estate investment market. It is a platform that enables a highly effective collection of quantitative and qualitative GRESB data, including comprehensive automated verification and intelligent modelling to achieve accurate and transparent disclosure of asset-level performance data. The SIERA GRESB module enables direct submission to the GRESB portal.
GRESB started requiring asset-level performance data (in the sense of consumption data such as energy, water, greenhouse gases, and waste) last year. Previously, this was at the fund level, which of course means that the data reported to GRESB is now much more detailed. This has not changed anything for SIERA users. However, we at EVORA believe that this is not the end of the journey. Our gut feeling tells us that GRESB will increasingly cover the topic of resilience in the future. And here, too, the Net Zero Carbon Module of SIERA offers the opportunity to create simulations that are aligned with the science-based targets of the Paris Agreement, for example.
But GRESB is not only about performance data, and neither is SIERA. When it comes to providing data on efficiency measures taken in terms of water, energy and/or waste, SIERA offers another very helpful feature: the software collects data by using surveys specifically aligned to the GRESB question set. The surveys can be sent individually for each building to, for example, the responsible property manager who may answer the questions online. The responses are sent directly to SIERA so that the overall picture of the condition of an asset becomes more and more complete.
But coming back to the GRESB cycle.
The picture is as complete as possible, which means all available and relevant data is checked, prepared and verified and finally pushed through the GRESB portal. What happens next? The adrenalin level drops, and we wait until October. But do we really?
In fact, in October, the GRESB results are released, providing not only an overview of how the submitted fund is positioned from a GRESB perspective but – and this is where it gets exciting – also where the fund stands relative to its peers.
Additionally, strengths and weaknesses, as well as potentials, are made comprehensible not only through figures, but also through a series of descriptive graphics.
And what happens in the meantime? We at EVORA will provide our clients with an outlook of the predicted score (as far as it is possible) and an overview of the identified gaps and potentials so that the client has the chance to decide about possible improvement measures in terms of ESG at the half-year. It is important because the same applies to GRESB: standing still leads to falling behind.
However, an ESG strategy should not be a reaction to the GRESB results alone but should exist and be implemented across the board. The GRESB results will help to stay on track and SIERA can support your decision making.
So, the “plan – do – check – act” wheel for ESG measures ideally rolls on continuously and independently of GRESB deadlines. In this way, an ESG strategy can be implemented effectively so that it again has a positive impact on GRESB scoring.
As well as being a GRESB Global Partner, EVORA is also a GRESB leader. In the 2021 cycle, we were supporting over 150 submissions, which is equal to 20% of all Europe’s submissions.
We at EVORA are happy to support you in optimising the ESG & GRESB performance for your fund and your company, and in getting your ESG wheel rolling!
Interested in finding out more? Contact our experts today.