Steps to getting started with ESG reporting: Establish a Solid ESG Strategy The easiest way to get started with ESG reporting is to establish an ESG strategy. A good ESG strategy typically follows these general principles and steps: Step 1:…Read full post
10 Tips for Reporting to GRESB
GRESB (formerly known as the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) is an investor-led organization that provides actionable and transparent Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data to financial markets. GRESB is one of the leading ESG benchmarks, assessing more than 1,500 property companies, real estate investment trusts (REITs), funds, and developers in 2021. While the GRESB portal closed for reporting on July 1st, it is never too early to begin preparing your company to report to GRESB next year. In this article, we explore our top 10 tips for reporting to GRESB.
1. Start Early
You should begin your data organization process as soon as possible to avoid scrambling last minute to collect data when you should be focused on reporting.
2. Work Backwards and Create a Timeline
This allows you to continually strive for complete data coverage, data accuracy, and data organization so that you are prepared when reporting time comes around. Some helpful resources:
- Familiarize yourself with the GRESB website and check out their general timeline.
- Explore the guidance outlined on the GRESB website and factor these steps into your game plan.
- If you are a real estate company, see these real estate specific GRESB assessment resources.
- Focus on the “E” in ESG
The “E” or environmental aspect of ESG is the most important part of GRESB reporting – it makes up around 70% of the points within the report. Therefore, it is critical to focus on obtaining, organizing, and ensuring the accuracy of your quantitative environmental data above all else.
4. Identify the Properties You Will Report On
If you are choosing to report on a subsection of your portfolio, make sure you focus on obtaining all the information you need for those properties. You should be able to identify this property list by the start of 2023, as GRESB will focus on reporting on data from the previous years (mainly 2022, but also details from 2021 and 2020).
5. Participate in Local Benchmarking Throughout the Year
Think of these smaller submissions as practice runs to help you get your data organized along the way. In addition, getting your properties set up in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager may help increase your GRESB score slightly.
6. Utilize a Data Management Platform
Without a data management platform, you will have to manually enter and track potentially hundreds of thousands of data points without one – this is nearly impossible to do, especially for companies with larger portfolios. A data management platform will also help you with local benchmarks and other environmental reports.
7. Create a Location to Consolidate Your GRESB Asset Characteristics
This includes property size, floor area, gross asset value, etc. One way to do this is to create a survey for your asset managers (or whoever is most knowledgeable about this information). Once completed, the survey results will give you all the information in one place. You may also consider creating a shared Excel document.
8. Track Technical Assessments and Efficiency Measures for the Past Three Years
For GRESB’s Efficiency Measures section, you will be required to answer questions on the previous three years (2022, 2021, and 2020). Therefore, it would be helpful to begin tracking any technical assessments and efficiency measures for energy, water and waste that have been taken in the past three years. Confirm these at the end of each year by sending a survey to the main parties involved in tracking these efficiency measures.
9. Make Sure All Parties Are on the Same Page With Reporting
If you are going to be working with a third parry assurance provider, consultants, data analysts etc., make sure all parties involved are on the same page as to which aspects of the report they will be responsible for completing. Clearly communicate internal deadlines with all parties involved in order to continually progress towards your mutual goals.
10. Aim to Perform Well the First Time, But Don’t Worry If You Don’t
If this is your first time reporting to GRESB, you obviously want a good score. However, keep in mind that first-year GRESB participants can opt-out of allowing GRESB Investors Members, or Fund Managers in the case of the Infrastructure Asset Assessment, to request access to their data and GRESB results. This is referred to as a “Grace Period.” Therefore, don’t worry if your first-time results are not where you want them – you can use this reporting season as a benchmark to see where your company stands and what you need to work on for next time.
How WatchWire Can Help with Reporting to GRESB
WatchWire is a market-leading, energy and sustainability data management platform that uses cloud-based software to collect, automize, analyze, and audit utility, energy, and sustainability data metrics. WatchWire can organize all your GRESB data in one place, so submitting to GRESB can be as easy as exporting your data from WatchWire.
We mentioned above that environmental data is the most important part of GRESB reporting. WatchWire focuses on tracking quantitative environmental data, so the platform can help you with the biggest portion of GRESB reporting.
In addition, WatchWire is a GRESB premier partner and GRESB data partner. The WatchWire platform integrates with GRESB, allowing for seamless reporting of all necessary data.
To learn more about WatchWire and its capabilities, you can visit our website, blog, or resource library, request a demo, or follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter to keep up-to-date on the latest energy and sustainability insights, news, and resources. You can also visit our GRESB partner page to view exclusive content we have created just for GRESB.
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