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5 Reasons You Should Attend The 40 Percent Symposium on 3rd Nov

EVORA is delighted to be co-hosting the 7th Annual 40 Percent Symposium, taking place on Thursday 3rd November 2016 at the Regent Hotel in Berlin.

Since the first event in London in 2011, The 40 Percent Symposium has established itself as the leading resource for those working in sustainability within the commercial real estate sector, focusing specifically on the impact that sustainability has on the value of commercial property.

Its mission is to bring its delegates the latest thinking on sustainability in commercial real estate investment, occupation and ownership.

Here are five reasons you should attend this year’s Symposium…

 

1. Return to Germany

This year marks a welcome return of the 40 Percent Symposium to Germany, after having been held in London in 2015. As Germany continues to be a world leader in both the renewable energy sector and sustainable policymaking, Berlin seems like a natural host city for this year’s Symposium.

Discover a bit about the Regent Berlin.

 

2. New Hosts & Organisers Reinvigorating the Event

One of the biggest changes to this year’s Symposium is that it has brand new co-hosts and organisers; our German consultancy partner, ES EnviroSustain, and us!

Here’s what my colleague and Managing Partner at ES EnviroSustain, Dr. Birgit Memminger-Rieve, has to say about this year’s Symposium:

“We are very excited to reinvigorate the event this year and to bring it back to Germany, where the Symposium has always attracted the leaders from the European commercial real estate sector, gaining continuously excellent feedback.

We are also delighted to give our Symposium an even more international and also practical focus with our Best Practice session in the afternoon, when we will be welcoming experts from Sponda (Finland), Vasakronan (Sweden), deematrix and Grundfos (both Germany), and Sonae Sierra (Portugal) just to name a few.”

Learn more about the Symposium and its organisers.

 

3. Hear From 15 Guest Speakers

This year’s Symposium has some excellent speakers lined up, including Martin Brühl from Union Investment and Thies Grothe from ZIA in our Politics Session, which will look at Europe’s way to carbon neutrality for the real estate sector.

Our second session will look at not only the risks, but also the multiple opportunities for the sector. We are delighted to welcome Whitney Austin Gray from the United States to talk about health and wellbeing for building users, and Lonneke Löwik from the Netherlands to give you some insights about GRESB and how it can help to better manage all aspects of sustainability.

View all 15 Guest Speakers.

 

4. An Engaging, Cutting-Edge Agenda

This year’s Symposium will identify how and if the sustainability discussion/hype around 2007-2011 has found its way into the daily business procedures of investors, landlords, and project developers.  Focusing on three core sessions of politics, economics & risks and global best practice, with a keynote address from Martin Brühl, Managing Director of Union Investment and RICS Past President 2015/2016, as well as packed agenda of industry leaders, sharing their insight on the future and best practice of sustainability in commercial real estate.

View the full agenda.

 

5. Network With Your Peers From Across Europe

And last but not least… The Symposium is well-known for being an excellent opportunity to meet with colleagues, learn from each other’s experiences, and make new acquaintances.

The format of the conference encourages open and informal discussion between industry leaders on the key topics impacting the industry. Key trends and new best practices are highlighted, enabling investors, portfolio owners and project developers to make decisions that will ensure that the investments and acquisitions made in the present, will deliver profit and value going forward, whilst continuing to be sustainable.

“To come to a 40 Percent Symposium is to join a committed and thoughtful audience of like-minded property and investment professionals who understand the need to deliver a sustainable future in property.”

John Pike, 40 Percent Symposium Founder


Register your attendance today!

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2016 GRESB Results Day!

GRESB results are out today.

Visit our GRESB support service page.

In 2016, there were 759 entries covering 63 countries. The gross asset value of companies and funds reporting was $2.8 trillion.

Here at EVORA, we’re working hard to review our client results and analyse progress against previous submissions. Findings are positive, reflecting work done by our clients to improve ESG policies and practices and to strengthen data collection through use of our SIERA software platform.

Our findings appear to reflect UK wide results. The average GRESB Score of UK companies and funds improved from 58 in 2015 to 63 in 2016. Furthermore, GRESB states that companies and funds in the UK continue to outperform those in Europe (although Australia and New Zealand lead with an overall score of 74).

An initial review of overall performance data is also interesting. A like-for-like reduction in energy consumption of 0.67% was reported in the UK (0.96% in Europe). Carbon emissions fell by 3.6% (0.6% in Europe) and water consumption also fell by 1.33% (0.7% Europe).

We will provide more detail and measured analysis of GRESB results in due course. Stay tuned, and don’t forget to subscribe to our updates by using the form in the sidebar.


EVORA is a GRESB Premier Partner.

This year, our software SIERA delivered the automation of data transfer into GRESB for 41 submissions and more than €20bn of assets, with clients including Deutsche Asset Management, Schroder Real Estate, Rockspring, and AEW.

To talk to us about GRESB or to request a demo of SIERA, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


 

Further reading on GRESB and SIERA:

 


GRESB Premier PartnerAs a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner, we are perfectly positioned to provide GRESB support. View our official Premier Partner profile.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.

GRESB Data Automation – Ensuring Seamless Does Not Result in Senseless

Sacha van Tuijn, an Analyst at GRESB, recently posted a blog highlighting the anger and frustration that completion of the GRESB Performance Indicators evokes. I don’t think many will argue with that!

The complexity in pulling together the varied data elements every which way can be enough to want to make you pull your hair out. But there is no doubt GRESB is mobilising many organisations to take action to collate and better understand their environmental data, which should lead to performance improvement. That can only be a good thing… despite the pain!

So what is being done to save us all from pulling our hair out and keep our blood pressure at sensible levels?

Well, quite a lot. As Nils Kok, CEO of GRESB says in his blog, ESG, Real Estate and the Six Stages of Grief, “One of the exciting developments is that GRESB is slowly moving from manual entry of information to seamless data flows between many different data management platforms and our Portal”.

Well our proprietary software, SIERA, is one of those sustainability data platforms he refers to, so what’s our take on this?

The original – and still widely used – approach is where participants manually aggregate their consumption data and then enter it per sector, line-by-line, in the standard GRESB Portal. This is time consuming, requires a lot of manual calculations and is subject to human error.

For the last couple of years, a semi-automated approach has been made available, the GRESB Asset Spreadsheet, which provides an Excel template of 159 columns – yes, 159 columns – of required data by asset, which once completed, can be uploaded directly into the GRESB portal saving manual data input. Now this is obviously not for the faint hearted but it does give a good indication of the data collection and analysis requirements to meet the GRESB reporting requirements and achieve a good score. But let’s not write this method off just yet, we’ll come back to it later.

The third option is the latest development from GRESB to achieve seamless transition of data direct from data management software systems such as SIERA, directly into the GRESB portal using clever mapping tools, known as an API or Application Programme Interface. This sounds great, and of course, in many ways it is. But as with any system, dodgy data in means dodgy information out. So the big risk is to make sure ‘Seamless’ does not equate to ‘Senseless’ through lack of visibility of data flowing directly into GRESB.

As soon as data automation gets involved, audit trail clarity can be lost and this is the potential risk here.

Which brings me back to the second option of the 159 column Asset Spreadsheet. The beauty of this approach is that the spreadsheet model can actually be auto-generated in software platforms, an approach SIERA has taken, and swiftly interfaced into the GRESB portal through an uploader. This process takes less than a minute and populates the Performance Indicator questions for all sectors reported by a portfolio. Although a hefty spreadsheet, it is clearly structured and provides a great audit trail and visual clarity of all the data before it heads off into the GRESB machine. And it certainly didn’t reduce EVORA’s efficiency in delivering GRESB for our clients, with SIERA processing more than 40 submissions in 2016.

We’re happy to implement the clever mapping tools into SIERA but, as both professional sustainability consultants and software providers, visibility and clear audit trails to ensure quality of data is our number one priority for our clients. We have even replicated the full GRESB Performance Indicator report at fund and sector level to provide additional visibility, SIERA being the only software platform to do this according to Luc van de Boom, Analyst at GRESB.

Call me belt and braces, but although I run a professional sustainability consultancy I am a chartered accountant by profession and old habits die hard!

To find out how SIERA completely transforms your data capture and reporting, speak to our experts today and request a demo.


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SIERA Features and Benefits [Infographic]

With its many advanced capabilities, it’s not a straightforward task to summarise the SIERA features and benefits to just five apiece… But we’ve tried anyway!

SIERA (Sustainability Intelligence Environmental Reporting & Analysis) is our proprietary sustainability management software that has been developed specifically for the commercial real estate investment market. It is already managing billions of pounds worth of real estate, and is being rapidly adopted by large organisations across the globe.

This year alone, SIERA has delivered the automation of data transfer into GRESB for 23 submissions and more than €20bn of assets, with clients including Deutsche Asset Management, Schroder Real Estate, Rockspring, and AEW.

Explore the infographic below to see SIERA’s 5 Key Features and Benefits. (Click the image to zoom in.)

To find out how SIERA completely transforms your data capture and reporting, speak to our experts today and request a demo.


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Leading Sustainability Software, SIERA, Automates GRESB Reporting For Second Year Running

SIERA, our market-leading web-based sustainability management software, is delivering massive efficiencies again this year in the reporting of the GRESB performance indicator data.

Visit our GRESB support service page.

Sophisticated modelling capability in SIERA simplifies the GRESB reporting process enormously, pushing out both the Performance Indicator reports in standard GRESB format as well as producing the GRESB Asset Report, which can be interfaced directly into the GRESB portal, eliminating the need for laborious and time consuming manual intervention and data input.

In 2015, SIERA was one of the few technology platforms directly transferring data into the GRESB portal. This year will see SIERA delivering the automation of data transfer into GRESB for 41 submissions and more than €20bn of assets, with clients including Deutsche Asset Management, Schroder Real Estate, Rockspring, and AEW.

Charlotte Jacques, Head of Sustainability, Schroder Real Estate comments:

“We chose SIERA because it has been specifically designed for the commercial real estate investment market.

It is practical and intuitive to use and helps simplify the many complexities of sustainability analysis and reporting, especially GRESB.”

SIERA is EVORA’s proprietary sustainability software, uniquely developed specifically for the real estate investment market. The software supports in the delivery of a number of regulatory and voluntary reporting requirements including CRC, GRESB, INREV and EPRA, as well as providing broader environmental and energy monitoring and performance analysis at both portfolio and asset level.

Our role as strategic sustainability advisors to real estate firms means that our insight has focused the development of SIERA to be finely tuned to our clients’ needs and changing market trends, making it a unique and practical product for the real estate sector.

As GRESB Premier Partners, for both our pan-European sustainability consultancy and technology platform, we are able to provide our clients with the best possible support in the completion of their GRESB survey.

To learn more about SIERA and how it would completely transform your sustainability data capture and reporting, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.


GRESB Premier PartnerAs a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner, we are perfectly positioned to provide GRESB support. View our official Premier Partner profile.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.

Changes to the 2016 GRESB Survey- Part Two

This is the second part to our blog on notable changes to the 2016 GRESB survey.

Pilot Indicators

Six new Pilot Indicators have been included in the 2016 survey. These are indicators that are not scored this year, but will be included in 2017. This level of transparency is a great method of promoting action and allowing participants to respond to a range of environmental impacts not currently scored by GRESB. Pilot indicators include completion of assessments to measure and improve water efficiency, waste management and health and well-being. Tracking the impact and uptake of green clauses also features.

Health and Well-being

GRESB has released a new Health and Well-being module in recognition of the rapidly emerging and important area of opportunity for the real estate industry. The module seeks, firstly, to address efforts to promote health & well-being of the employees responsible for real estate entities and secondly, to address efforts to provide products and services that promote health & well-being of tenants and/or customers.

A 2014 report issued by the World Green Building Council identified that staff costs typically account for about 90% of business operating costs; rental costs 9% and utilities 1%. The report identifies the “overwhelming evidence which demonstrates that the design of an office impacts the health, wellbeing and productivity of its occupants” –productivity improvements of up to 11% are identified as achievable where good indoor air quality conditions are maintained at recommended standards.

This is clearly an area that needs greater focus and GRESB has taken steps to start addressing the topic. It is noteworthy that some organisations are demonstrating leadership on this issue, but the message (and actions to be taken) needs to reach the masses.

New Assessments

In addition to the health and well-being module, three new separate assessments have been released:

  • GRESB Developer Assessment – for organisations that develop projects or acquire properties exclusively for redevelopment and resale.
  • GRESB Infrastructure Assessment – for assessing infrastructure assets and funds, such as airports, railways, ports, waste/water and energy management facilities.
  • GRESB Real Estate Debt assessment – launched in 2015 to private real estate funds, the 2016 survey is open to banks, life companies, pension funds and mortgage REITs, in addition to real estate debt funds.

Asset Level Interface

Although not new to the 2016 survey, using the asset interface as a way of entering data is a tool that we recommend highly. The Asset Level Interface provides significant advantages over manual upload. For example, data outlier (validation) checks are made prior to upload. Automation reduces the risk of errors and the response speed to data queries is quicker and more specific. These are all important benefits as erroneous or unexplainable data will receive zero points. We are using our SIERA software platform to deliver this, which simplified the GRESB process enormously in 2015, delivering significant efficiencies.

More on SIERA

Overall, changes in the 2016 GRESB survey appear progressive in supporting the long term aim of improving Environmental, Social and Governance impacts within real estate. As stated in the first blog, the key to scoring well in GRESB remains the same:

  1. Plan your strategy based on current and future risks and opportunities.
  2. Prioritise delivery according to the value proposition.
  3. Measure and report the ongoing impact.
  4. Review new risks and opportunities and repeat from step 1.

GRESB Premier PartnerAs a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner, we are perfectly positioned to provide GRESB support. View our official Premier Partner profile.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.

Changes to the 2016 GRESB Survey- Part One

The GRESB 2016 Real Estate survey was released on 1st April and with it came the detailed (231 page) reference guide. GRESB has always been transparent about the categorisation and scoring of their indicators, which is useful if you have the time and inclination to go through those 231 pages. In this first blog of two, I have set out my thoughts on the more notable changes.

Increased focus on performance

GRESB’s goal is to “provide investors with the ESG information they need to make more informed investment decisions“. You can’t knock this goal, but there are questions as to how GRESB portfolio level assessments can provide investors  with sufficient information at the asset level. That said, GRESB scores clearly indicate how sustainability has been incorporated into participant business strategies.

GRESB results can be analysed and broken down in a number of ways.  However, fundamentally GRESB assesses sustainability across two broad levels (or dimensions as GRESB calls them):

  1. Management and Policy – a measure of the intent of your ESG programme
  2. Implementation and Measurement – a measure of the impact and performance the intent is delivering.

The GRESB quadrant is shown in the Figure 1 below.

 

Participants scoring more than 50% in both dimensions are placed within the Green Star quadrant. Lower than 50% in both dimensions places you within the Green Starter quadrant. A strong Management and Policy score but weak Implementation and Measurement score results in a Green Talk score (i.e. you have good intent but it is not backed up by performance). Conversely, a strong Implementation and Measurement score but weak Management and Policy score results in a Green Walk score (i.e. you have good performance but seemingly no co-ordinated management structure behind it).

In general, participants score better in Management and Policy (2015 global average 63%) compared to Implementation and Measurement (2015 global average 52%). This is to be expected – it is relatively easy to develop plans and policies, the biggest challenge lies in achieving the results.

The global average result in 2015 for all participates was Green Star (the best rating).  To put it another way, more than half of participants achieved this GRESB rating. This has led to criticism of the GRESB scoring mechanism, as it was seen as too easy to achieve a Green Star, without performance being sufficiently scrutinised. In the 2016 survey, the overall weighting for Implementation and Management (or performance) has increased by 2 percentage points from 70% to 72%. The goal posts have shifted.

The increased focus on performance may well be significant, particularly noting the 2015 global average Implementation and Measurement score was 52% in 2015. The 2% weighted increase for Implementation and Measurement could see a large group of borderline participants shift from the Green Star quadrant to the Green Talk quadrant,

Participants should expect a greater scoring emphasis on Implementation and Measurement to continue in the future. Current participants will need to maintain forward thinking ESG strategies that deliver results to keep pace. New participants may find themselves significantly behind the curve on first submission (fortunately a grace period provides anonymity in the first year’s submission). Wherever you are in your sustainability journey, it is clear that neither complacency nor inactivity is an option.

In the second part of this blog, I will highlight the key changes to the Real Estate assessment and also introduce new GRESB assessments and modules.

Regardless of the changes introduced by GRESB, our message to achieving an impact driven Environmental, Social and Governance strategy remains the same:

  1. Plan your strategy based on current and future risks and opportunities.
  2. Prioritise delivery according to the value proposition.
  3. Measure and report the ongoing impact.
  4. Review new risks and opportunities and repeat from step 1.

 

To read Part 2 of this blog, click here.


As a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner, we are perfectly positioned to provide GRESB support. View our official Premier Partner profile.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.

Goodbye GRESB (until September)!

So that’s GRESB done.  This year we supported many of our clients to complete their GRESB submission on a pan-European basis. It may be an onerous and tough task to complete but I personally applaud the GRESB approach. The industry pays increasing attention to the survey results (released on 2nd September) and I believe, over time, that it will help drive real change as participants strive to achieve Green Star ratings (whilst those already there, work to maintain their status).  The questions are broad ranging, covering everything from environmental policy to management of bribery & corruption.  This should not be surprising as GRESB is designed to be a broad sustainability benchmark.

We also felt that the prior experience of both the participants and GRESB helped in the completion of this year’s survey.  Pre-population of last year’s answers speeds up the process and the online survey is, for the most part, intuitive and easy to navigate around.  We also participated in the GRESB training earlier in the year, and this along with improved guidance, also helped.

However, there were still challenges.  The unique way in which GRESB requires performance data to be entered is understandable (to enable performance analysis), but always creates challenges.  Electricity consumption for directly managed assets can, for example, be entered under a variety of categories, i.e. whole building, shared services, landlord procured tenant consumption and tenant procured tenant consumption.

Consumption must also be reported for 2 years to benefit from like-for-like comparison.  This must then be repeated for different fuel types across all asset classes separately and aligned to floor areas reported earlier in the survey.  Participants then move on to water and waste.  Our experience is that many clients do not hold their data in this way and so, a lot of work to ensure accurate reporting is required.

Thankfully, this year, we had SIERA, a sustainability management software system designed specifically for the investor real estate market, which contains a GRESB reporting module.  The practical and intuitive nature of the system enables designation of data to meet GRESB classification requirements.  A GRESB export function then automatically produces the data at asset level which directly interfaces into the GRESB portal. This has been a fantastic resource for us and has helped save time and ensure accuracy.

More on SIERA

So, we await the results, with interest.

For those who have now shifted their focus to CRC, SIERA also supports and significantly simplifies the CRC annual reporting requirements – deadline 31 July!

Paul Sutcliffe

Operations Director

About EVORA

EVORA is a niche, independent sustainability consultancy specialising in commercial real estate.

For further information on GRESB or any other sustainability issue please contact Chris Bennett at cbennett@evoraglobal.com; 020 3326 7333.

About GRESB

GRESB (the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) uses a consistent methodology across different regions, investment vehicles and property types, to evaluate the sustainability performance of both private and listed real estate portfolios. Over the past five years, participation in GRESB has continued to increase and GRESB is fast becoming the sustainability survey of choice for the real estate sector to benchmark portfolio performance. In 2014, a total of 637 property companies and funds participated in the GRESB survey, equating to approximately 56,000 assets, with an aggregate value of USD 2.1 trillion.


GRESB Premier PartnerAs a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner, we are perfectly positioned to provide GRESB support. View our official Premier Partner profile.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.

GRESB Deadline Approaching!

With just over a month left before the submission deadline, there is still time to sign up for GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) and complete the sustainability survey that is fast becoming the benchmark for portfolio performance in the real estate sector.

EVORA has helped a wide range of institutional investors to complete the survey. Our experience and relationship with the GRESB team has enabled us to provide comprehensive client support. Our services extend beyond basic GRESB support. In many cases, we have worked with clients to improve sustainability practice and performance. This has been demonstrated by significant year on year improved GRESB results.

We can provide support to complete the submissions and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.

Our sustainability management software, SIERA, enables full GRESB Performance Indicator reporting. With SIERA, you have the confidence of a robust database to hold and model your data, combined with the familiarity and flexibility of Excel for all your reports.

Contact EVORA today to discover how we can help with GRESB and other sustainability benchmarks.

info@evoraglobal.com


GRESB Premier PartnerAs a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner, we are perfectly positioned to provide GRESB support. View our official Premier Partner profile.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.

SIERA: Your Perfect Software for GRESB

Transform your GRESB data capture and reporting with SIERA, a powerful sustainability and asset management software tool designed for the real estate industry.

SIERA manages environmental data for billions of pounds worth of real estate and is being rapidly adopted by organisations across the globe.

“We chose SIERA because it has been specifically designed for the commercial real estate investment market. It is practical and intuitive to use and helps simplify the many complexities of sustainability analysis and reporting, especially GRESB.”

Charlie Jacques, Head of Sustainability

Schroder Real Estate

Learn more

SIERA is a practical, innovative and simple environmental management software system, designed to deal with today’s stringent reporting requirements.

SIERA holds all your environmental data in one secure database with powerful validation tools to ensure the accuracy and completeness of your data. Intelligent modelling capability achieves a range of reporting requirements, which are otherwise complex and resource-intensive to produce such as GRESB and CRC.

And while you can be confident you have a unique and robust database to hold and model your data, all reports are fully formatted into Excel, giving you familiarity and ease of use.

Find out how SIERA can transform your environmental data capture and reporting.

Contact Chris Bennett, Founder & Managing Director

cbennett@evoraglobal.com

+44 (0)7810 631 599

+44(0)20 3326 733

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