GRESB’s Global Experiment

by Ellen Sinreich on October 2, 2014

Earlier this month I attended the launch of GRESB’s 2014 Survey Results in New York City, while nearly simultaneous launches were taking place in Singapore and London.

GRESB, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark was founded just five years ago. It is a leading source of portfolio-level sustainability data for the real estate industry and currently serves over 40 institutional investors, representing $5.5 trillion in assets under management.

Synopsis of the 2014 Survey Results

Respondents. 637 survey respondents submitted data covering 56,000 buildings throughout the world with an aggregate market value of $2.1 trillion. 156 were first time responders, who had an average score 11 points lower than the average for all participants combined.

Overall Results. The overall 2014 GRESB score of 47 out of a possible 100 points for all respondents combined increased 9% over the 2013 score. There was an increase of 23% in the areas of implementation and measurement that was offset by an 11% decrease in the areas of management and policy. Public companies on average achieved better results than private companies.

Growing Boy GRESB scores continue to grow but performance metrics lag


Regional Results. Australia and New Zealand’s 44 respondents were the highest achievers, followed by 111 European respondents, 92 Asian respondents, and last but quickly catching up, 51 North American respondents. Respondents were described as being from the region where at least 60% of their portfolio is located.

Scoring. 70% of each respondent’s score is based on its implementation and measurement performance and 30% is based on management and policy.

Disclosure and Risk Assessment. 84% of respondents now disclose their sustainability performance and 81% perform sustainability risk assessments as part of their standard acquisition due diligence process.

Monitoring. 95% of respondents measure energy consumption, 84% measure water consumption, 75% measure GHG emissions and 63% measure waste.

Performance. There was an overall reduction in energy consumption of 0.82% compared to the 2012-2013 reporting period, a 2.3% reduction in water consumption and a 0.31% reduction in GHG emissions. Comparative figures for overall reductions in waste were not available.

We’ve Still Got Work to Do

We are encouraged by the number of GRESB survey respondents and number of institutional investor members since GRESB was founded a mere five years ago. However the sustainability achievements of the 2014 survey respondents are less impressive. Compared to their achievements as measured by the 2013 survey, we are starkly reminded that a lot of work remains to be done to transform the global built environment to a meaningfully lower carbon footprint.

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