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Sustainability in Real Estate: Introducing GRESB

Elite AsiaESGSustainability in Real Estate: Introducing GRESB
14 March 2024 Posted by eliteasia ESG No Comments

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters have rapidly risen as strategic priorities across the real estate and infrastructure sectors. Driven by investor demands, occupant expectations, stakeholder pressures and hardening regulations, embedding ESG principles into strategies and operations is no longer optional – it’s imperative for future-proofing assets and firms. Both sectors face heightened scrutiny given their profound impacts on communities, ecosystems and the planet.

ESG Challenges in Real Estate and Infrastructure

While the real estate and infrastructure industries are making strides to enhance their ESG performance, significant challenges remain that must be addressed. Implementing authentic, impactful and lasting ESG integration is an immense undertaking fraught with difficulties:

The ESG aspects drawing intense focus across real estate and infrastructure include:

Environmental issues are at the forefront, with a focus on:

  • Reducing carbon footprints and energy consumption of buildings
  • Developing green buildings and improving energy efficiency
  • Utilising renewable energy sources
  • Managing waste and water usage sustainably

Social Responsibility, with a focus on:

  • Addressing affordable housing shortages and promoting inclusive communities
  • Fair labour practices and workplace diversity
  • Human rights and safety for construction workers and tenants
  • Community engagement and impact

Governance and Ethics, with a focus on:

  • Robust board oversight and accountability
  • Ethical executive compensation practices
  • Transparency around political involvement
  • Preventing corruption and bribery
  • Ensuring cybersecurity and data privacy

Navigating this ESG landscape will require real estate organisations to fundamentally transform many aspects of their operations, decision-making frameworks, and corporate cultures. While challenges abound, companies that get ahead of these issues can drive innovation, secure investor and tenant loyalty, and future-proof their business models. The real estate industry is being reshaped by the powerful forces of sustainability and social responsibility.

The Rise of GRESB

The real estate sector is under increasing scrutiny to improve its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. Investors, tenants, regulators, and industry initiatives like GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) are demanding greater sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical practices from real estate companies. ESG is rapidly becoming a top priority across the industry. 

GRESB is the leading global ESG benchmark for real estate and infrastructure investments. It covers over 2,000 real estate portfolios and over 800 infrastructure funds and assets, representing USD 8.8 trillion in gross asset value. GRESB evaluates the ESG performance of real estate portfolios and assets worldwide through its annual assessment and benchmark data.

Covering a wide range of real estate asset types and infrastructure sectors, GRESB assessments provide comprehensive ESG insights:

On the real estate side, GRESB covers a variety of sectors and property types including:

  • Technology/science 
  • Hotel
  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Industrial
  • Office
  • Residential
  • Mixed-use

For infrastructure, GRESB benchmarks participants across asset classes, such as:

  • Data infrastructure
  • Energy & water resources
  • Environmental services & waste management
  • Network utilities
  • Power generation
  • Renewable power
  • Social infrastructure
  • Transport

There are compelling reasons why companies should participate in GRESB’s real estate and infrastructure assessments:

  • Attract investment capital: top performers can more easily access capital from ESG-focused investors
  • Benchmark ESG performance: GRESB allows benchmarking against global peers
  • Meet stakeholder demands: investors, tenants, and regulators increasingly require ESG transparency
  • Identify areas for improvement: assessments highlight strengths and areas to enhance ESG integration
  • Regulatory preparedness: joining GRESB helps companies prepare for expanding ESG disclosure requirements.

Elite Asia plays a crucial role in advancing ESG standards within the realm of real assets. As the APAC partner of GRESB, Elite Asia team consists of seasoned professionals possessing extensive knowledge of GRESB requirements and a deep understanding of sustainability best practices. We are committed to facilitate GRESB assessments, provide expertise, and support real asset entities in optimising your ESG practices. 

Talk to us today to explore how our GRESB services can propel your organisation towards a more sustainable future.

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