On October 18, 2023, GRESB issued updates to the 2024 Real Estate Assessment with implications to specific indicators and scoring. Nearly all updates were for indicators within the Management and Performance components. Some highlights include reporting of climate-related opportunities alongside risks, introduction of expiration dates and reduced weighting for older green building certifications, and a new allowance for green building certifications that submit for certification before calendar year end but achieve certification before the GRESB submission deadline. Indicators on net zero targets, ESG incident monitoring, and climate resilience and opportunities are now scored. GRESB has also disclosed an update to the scoring of employee safety metrics, applicable for the 2025 GRESB Assessment. Full details of the changes to the upcoming GRESB Real Estate Assessments can be found here.
Key Highlights and Recommendations for Participants
- Green Building Certifications: We recommend companies determine the certification dates of their assets’ green building certifications, assess potential point impacts, and begin recertifying properties as applicable. If assets are pursuing green building certifications, determine if certification submissions can be submitted by 2023-year end and achieved before July 2024 (as these can now be counted in 2024 GRESB submissions).
- Net-Zero Targets: To further incentive the industry to work towards a net-zero future, GRESB now awards 1 point for participants who have set net-zero targets. A full score for this indicator can be achieved regardless of the net-zero target’s characteristics (e.g. scope, timeline, validation status, public disclosure). HXE Partners recommends participants assess the feasibility of setting and achieving a net zero target that aligns with what makes sense for their business.
- Separate Metering for EV Charging Stations: GRESB has included a separate space for assets to report energy consumption from non-operational usage, such as electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. If participants have any properties that have EV charging stations, participants should work with stakeholders at the asset level to understand the capabilities for energy data from EV charging to be tracked separately from other operational building energy. If reported separately, energy consumption from EV charging stations will not be included in the energy metrics that are scored for like-for-like changes.
HXE Partners’ Take
At HXE Partners, our advisory philosophy has always been to align best practices in ESG and sustainability management and disclosure with information sought by investors and capital markets. As an investor and industry driven assessment, GRESB is a strong indicator of where the industry is looking to move the needle. We will continue to encourage clients to deepen their ESG strategies to address the updates to GRESB, which in turn will set them up for success in meeting investor requests and remain competitive in the industry.