Written by Verdani Team Members: Adam Lindquist, Daniele Horton, Taylor Bulow, and Paulynn Cue.
The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) has released the official 2018 scores for portfolio performance during the 2017 calendar year. Verdani Partners is proud to announce that seven of the eight portfolios that it supports have achieved top ten rankings in the latest GRESB assessment, with three clients scoring in the top five in their peer groups. It should also be noted that for the fourth consecutive year, CommonWealth Partners has been ranked as one of the top three performers among its peers, while Parkway and Jamestown Properties achieved perfect scores of 100 in the new GRESB Resilience Module, establishing themselves as global leaders in this sector. With Verdani’s continued support in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), Green Building Certifications and Engineering Services, CommonWealth Partners, Parkway, Clarion Partners, Colony Capital, Jamestown Properties, American Realty Advisors, and GID have all shown sustained improvements.
Verdani Partners is honored to work with progressive firms who set and surpass ambitious goals to reduce GHG emissions, energy and water use, increase waste diversion and take actions to mitigate risks. These achievements set our clients apart as leaders in sustainable real estate.
Since its launch in 2009, GRESB has become a global leader for benchmarking and tracking ESG performance for the real estate industry, currently representing over 58% of the North American real estate market (including Canada) and 78% of the European market. Per the latest 2018 Assessment, GRESB saw a 6% increase in all around participants, now representing over 900 real estate funds and $3.5 Trillion in asset value. Further, 75 institutional investors, representing $18 Trillion in capital, use GRESB data and analytics as a third-party assessment tool to evaluate the ESG performance of their potential investments.
“Verdani Partners exemplifies what it means to be a GRESB Premier Partner. Most of their clients rank in the top 10 positions in their peer groups and earn Green Stars,” says Dan Winters, GRESB Head of Americas. “In addition, Verdani participates in the GRESB Benchmark Committee and contributes to knowledge-sharing activities. We are proud to work with their team and utilize their support in advancing GRESB’s vision and sustainable real estate in general.”
With each year bringing increased participation and competition, Verdani is excited to share its clients’ continued improvements and key ESG accomplishments.
Annual ESG Reports published in 2018:
Leadership in Resilience Strategies
Since 2013, Verdani has been facilitating the development of portfolio-wide and asset-level resilience strategies, which include the rollout of robust policies and measures, performance of comprehensive risk assessments covering over 46 indicators and implementation of emergency preparedness strategies, including flood protection measures and installing optimized generators.
Verdani Partners is honored to support Parkway and Jamestown in their resilience and risk mitigation efforts, which helped them achieve perfect scores on the 2018 GRESB Resilience Module. Parkway and Jamestown’s global leadership is the result of their strong foundation and initiatives in resilience, as well as their partnership with Verdani who has assisted these companies in strengthening their portfolio-wide and asset-level strategies.
When Hurricane Harvey made landfall in 2017, key resilience strategies were critical in helping to minimize damage to Parkway’s 19 office properties located in Houston, TX. By implementing a Building Resilience Policy and installing features such as dewatering pumps and flood gates, Parkway made it through Hurricane Harvey without any significant damage to their buildings or major flood insurance claims.
In 2017 alone, the U.S. suffered $306 billion in damage due to climate change events, making resilience a top priority for investors. The real estate industry will continue to push for transparency around climate-related risk disclosures, driving the development of new initiatives such as the GRESB Resilience Module and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
“With climate risks continuing to impact the real estate sector, it is critical for building owners to understand and mitigate the risks their properties face to protect occupants and minimize property and financial damage.”, says Daniele Horton, Founder and President of Verdani Partners.
In response to a growing market need, Verdani Partners has developed a Resilience Tool that identifies and scores building-level resilience and develops reports which can be used by stakeholders to disclose risks based on regional factors. To learn more about Verdani Partners’ resilience initiatives, visit the blog post, Scaling Resilience in the Face of Climate Change, and watch the GRESB Resilience Webinar from the 2018 GRESB Sustainable Real Asset Conference in Washington, D.C.
As investors continue to leverage GRESB as a tool to measure management quality and financial performance for real estate organizations, real estate firms are feeling the pressure to participate in the assessment now more than ever. In fact, GRESB results have become so important that Gecina, Europe’s largest office REIT, has signed the first performance-linked loan with margins that depend on GRESB ESG scores and ratings. Additionally, CalPERS now requires all external managers within the fund’s Real Assets Program to report to GRESB, joining other leading global organizations that are implementing similar requirements. The GRESB benchmark has grown from less than 200 participants in 2010 to more than 900 in 2018 and will continue to increase as more organizations commit to ESG transparency each year.
Key Findings From this Year’s GRESB Assessment Include the Following:
A higher percentage of respondents are adopting key ESG best management practices.
The Green Business Certification Inc.’s (GBCI) GRESB validation process is becoming progressively more stringent, requiring respondents to continue to improve and provide better documentation of their ESG efforts in order to earn full points.
Portfolios that are simply maintaining their programs, without making continuous improvements, are now seeing their scores and rankings drop over time.
As more companies participate in the assessment and portfolios continue to improve their scores, peer to peer rankings are becoming more competitive over time.
Higher GRESB scores are continuing to be associated with better management quality and financial performance. Verdani Partners is proud to be supporting a growing number of leading portfolios that are committed to accelerating their ESG and GRESB performance. By leveraging Verdani’s experience, our clients have been able to advance their ESG initiatives and pioneer innovative strategies in building efficiency, data management, health and wellbeing and resilience. With the real estate industry rapidly evolving to mitigate new challenges, such as climate related risks, it is important for companies to stay ahead of ESG trends to remain competitive. Verdani is committed to empowering organizations with cost-effective strategies to green their portfolios and continue supporting advancements to strengthen the ESG performance of the real estate industry, nationally and internationally.
Verdani Partners is an industry-leading, full-service sustainability consulting firm with 100 years of combined experience in sustainable real estate and actively manages over 320 Million square feet, 3,000 properties and $138 Billion in asset value. As a top owners’ representative for environmental, social, governance (ESG) management, Verdani provides clients with a team of sustainability experts that work within their organizations to develop and manage customized programs on an ongoing basis. Verdani’s clients leverage Verdani's team of professionals, state-of-the-art tool and resources, and industry connections to advance their portfolios, minimize risk, and create long-term value.
Verdani also manages GRESB reporting and creates annual sustainability reports for some of the nation’s top real estate firms. The certification experts at Verdani manage a wide range of certification systems for clients such as Fitwel, LEED, ENERGY STAR, USGBC’s ARC Platform, WELL, Green Globes, BREEAM, IREM, and more. Verdani’s corporate sustainability, green building certifications, technical services, and educational programs bring an impressive breadth of expertise to each portfolio and project.