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$1.5trn investors link with GRESB to launch infrastructure sustainability benchmark

Major investors unveil infrastructure/ESG initiative

A group of global institutional infrastructure investors, including AIMCo, APG, ATP, Aviva Investors, CalPERS, Mirova, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and PGGM, representing $1.5trn (euro) have partnered with the real estate-focused GRESB initiative on a new global sustainability benchmark for infrastructure.

GRESB Infrastructure builds on the existing investor-backed Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) initiative, which was launched in 2009.

GRESB data is already used by more than 150 of the world’s largest institutional investors, real estate companies and private equity funds and related data and service providers. The 2015 GRESB Survey – released earlier this month – showed how sustainability was increasingly becoming integrated in that sector.

“It’s very natural for us to go from real estate to real assets,” GRESB Chief Executive Nils Kok told RI in an interview.

It’s hoped the assessment will allow more capital to flow into sustainable infrastructure – as well as raising the level of sustainability of existing infrastructure.

“Given the long-term horizon and the societal impact of infrastructure investment, sustainability and broader environmental, social and governance considerations are critically important for infrastructure investors,” said Patrick Kanters, Managing Director of Global Real Estate and Infrastructure at APG Asset Management, the Dutch asset manager.He added he hoped it would allow investors to not only measure progress but also provide the means to engage with infrastructure funds and companies.

“Sustainability and ESG are critically important for infrastructure investors”

The benchmark will offer an industry-wide assessment and process to enable “systematic evaluation” of the sustainability performance of their infrastructure assets.

It will provide what is being termed a consistent framework for investors to collect and compare key ESG data and related performance metrics.

It’s envisaged that having access to better quality and standardized ESG data would enable investors to fulfill their reporting obligations.

“Utilizing this platform gives CalPERS a process for implementing our Investment Beliefs,” said Anne Stausboll, Chief Executive Officer, CalPERS.

The first assessments under the GRESB Infrastructure framework are expected in the first quarter of 2016.

The initiative is being unveiled at an event co-hosted by Aviva Investors and GRESB in London today (September 7). GRESB Home Page