GRESB (http://gresb.com/), the Global ESG Benchmark for Real Assets, is an annual benchmarking assessment to measure ESG integration of real estate companies and funds. It was founded in 2009 by a group of European institutional investors who played leading roles in launching Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

Currently there are more than 100 "Investor Members" representing over USD 22 trillion in asset under management using GRESB data upon their investment decision-making and engagement processes with investees. In Japan, DBJ (Development Bank of Japan) has actively supported GRESB since its early stage as an Investor Member. Also ARES (Association for Real Estate Securitization), JREI (Japan Real Estate Institute) and JSBC (Japan Sustainable Building Consortium) have been operating as official "Industry Partners" to promote GRESB in the market, and several participants including J-REIT asset managers have acted as "Manager Members" to show their proactive ESG integration strategy as well as to engage in GRESB development process.

CSRD has been the only GRESB Partner in the Japanese market since 2011, and is designated as the recommended Prime Partner for Japan.

Each of annual GRESB Assessments is open during April to July, and the results is launched in September. The results are only available for participants themselves and the "Investor Members". Thus GRESB works as a reporting tool from real estate companies and funds as well as a monitoring tool of their ESG performance.

GRESB Assessments

Scope of GRESB Assessments has been expanding to cover wider real assets as follows.

GRESB Variations

GRESB Real Estate

Since the inaugural survey in 2009 until 2015, GRESB Real Estate was named as "GRESB Survey". Although there have been several green building certifications such as CASBEE (Japan), LEED (US) and BREEAM (UK), GRESB is virtually the only benchmarking tool of company or fund level sustainability performance in the real estate sector.

Several agencies provide ESG assessments or ratings of issuers. That said, GRESB is regarded as a global de-facto standard in the real estate sector because of investors active commitment for its development and operation. It covers the wide range of material issues from investors view points, and is used for due diligence and monitoring of real estate investments by global institutional investors. GRESB is also unique in that it can compare listed and non-listed entities by the same tool.

In 2019, 1,005 entities participated in GRESB Real Estate globally. From Japan, 70 (49 listed entities including 44 J-REITs, and 18 private entities from 14 companies) responded to the Assessment. It is noteworthy that a yet higher number of 91.5% of J-REITs (based on market cap. as of 4th September 2019) participated in the 2019 Real Estate Assessment.

2019 Response Rate_Japan

Real Estate Assessment & Developer Assessment

GRESB Real Estate consists of two core Assessments namely "Real Estate Assessment" and "Developer Assessment". While Real Estate Assessment targeting entities only with management of standing investments, Developer Assessment was launched in 2016 as a separate, stand-alone Assessment for those solely focus on real estate development. 41 including 3 from Japan participated in Developer Assessment in 2019. (1,005 includes both "Real Estate Assessment" and "Developer Assessment" participants.)

The core part of "Health & Well-being Module", which was conducted during 2016-2018, is now integrated to "Real Estate Assessment" and "Developer Assessment".

Resilience Module

Launched in 2018, "Resilience Module" now focuses more on "climate resilience" as it becomes TCFD aligned in 2019. In its second year, the number of respondents was doubled, and 238 Real Estate Participants (121 in 2018) and 78 Infrastructure Participants (37 in 2018) reported their resilience performance, including 8 Real Estate Assessment Participants (tentative number) from Japan.

GRESB Public Disclosure

"GRESB Public Disclosure" was launched in 2017 to assess the levels of ESG information disclosure of listed real estate companies and funds. It achieves full coverage of the major developed listed real estate indices, which resulted in assessing 663 listed vehicles in 2019 including 59 from Japan. Major Japanese real estate developers, which had not participated in the Real Estate Assessment were also among them to show higher performance than global average. Additionally, the "Infrastructure" version of "Public Disclosure" was launched this year to assess 157 constituents including 5 listed infrastructure companies from Japan.

GRESB Infrastructure

"GRESB Infrastructure" was launched in 2016, while the first Japanese fund participated in the Assessment in 2017. It consists of two assessments, namely "Fund Assessment" evaluating infrastructure funds, and "Asset Assessment" benchmarking infrastructure assets and companies which such funds invest in. 2019 GRESB Infrastructure saw a very steep growth in participation. (Fund Assessment: from 75 (2018) to 107 (2019) globally while expanding to 2 (2019) from 1 (2018) in Japan, Asset Assessment: from 280 (2018) to 393 (2019) globally, and from 3 (2018) to 5 (2019) in Japan.)


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