Many will be breathing a sigh of relief to see the GRESB submission deadline pass and with that their assessment submissions and all the hard work that goes with it.
It may now feel like you can forget all about it until those assessment results and reports are released on September 5th, but I’m here to bring GRESB back into your life.
I want to remind you that you could start to position yourself now to ensure you’re maximising scores and limiting the stress involved with next year’s submission.
Preparation is key when it comes to GRESB
Doesn’t a stress-free 2019 GRESB submission sound good? I want to share with you some of Carbon Credentials’ key insights and recommendations derived from our experiences with our clients. This applies to both those completing their first assessment this year and thus in their ‘Grace Period’, and those for whom this is by no means their first rodeo.
1. Decide now whether you’re going to use an external consultant or deal with it internally
The GRESB process is very time-consuming so our clients prefer to outsource this to us to ensure they maximise their ‘green stars’.
Engaging with an external consultant especially this early in the game can be incredibly useful as they can set out a roadmap and improvement plan for you.
Workshops – if this is your first year (or even not), it is often worthwhile conducting a workshop to gain company-wide buy-in, especially at Senior level.
Gap analysis – conducting this kind of exercise will enable you to understand where you are scoring poorly and where requires most attention.
Roadmap for short, medium and long-term – from this you can plan a roadmap and understand what areas need some extra TLC between now and next spring.
2. Get the basics ready well ahead of time
You don’t want to be scrambling last minute to find evidence, tweak policies, and update documents for the reporting year. Take this stress away by getting the predictable ones checked off the list early.
Evidence – have all your evidence ready to go so you don’t need to search high and low for what you need. Here at Carbon Credentials, we keep an ‘Evidence Pack’ for each of our clients, meaning we only need to supplement this year on year and everything we need is neatly filed away.
Get into the habit of keeping a version control of all your policies and documents to be submitted as evidence. Start dating documents to be applicable to the 2019 reporting year.
If you found your policies and procedures didn’t quite support all requirements for the 2018 process, make these changes now to ensure you tick as many of those boxes as possible.
- Setting the foundation– If you’ve got a solid sustainability foundation within the business, then much of the entity-level assessment will be an easy win. If you feel you might be lacking in this area, there are several common recommendations which garner multiple points –
- Sustainability reporting – ensure this is made public through a separate sustainability report and you are covering everything you should, in alignment with a mechanism such as GRI or EPRA. Ensure you report consumption data and GHG emissions, and that these are verified by an external third party.
- Objectives and targets – ensure the objectives of your sustainability strategy are specific to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) issues, and cover all three. These should also be integrated into your overall business strategy. Similarly, you need to implement long-term reduction targets. These should relate to energy consumption, GHG emissions, water, and waste. Here you could consider developing Science-Based Targets to maximise scoring opportunities.
3.Maximising data coverage
Something nearly all our clients struggle with is data coverage for consumption data (energy, water, waste). Now is the time to consider how you can increase this.
Engagement – engage with your managing agents and tenants ahead of time to gain their attention, notify them of what you will need so they can prepare, and perhaps incentivise them into providing you with the consumption data you need.
DMS – consider implementing a Data Managed Service to enable increased data coverage requiring minimal effort on your part, which will enable an automated flow of data that can be readily uploaded as evidence. This can also check off that point of incentivising tenants, as you can offer consumption reporting to them through this.
Carbon Credentials is well-positioned to assist with all of the above, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our GRESB team for a conversation about how we might be able to help streamline the process for 2019 and aim to achieve more of those sought-after green stars.