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Canadian real estate investors lead in 2022 GRESB survey

IMAGE: GRESB logo
GRESB has recognized eight Canadian real estate investors as leaders in their sectors in 2022. (Courtesy GRESB)

Eight Canadian real estate investors and their portfolios have been recognized as sustainability leaders in the Americas through their notable placements in the 2022 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) Survey, with one also leading globally.

The GRESB survey, called the GRESB Real Estate Assessment, is a framework to measure the ESG performance of individual assets and portfolios based on self-reported data. It covers sustainability aspects like greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water, waste, building certification and risk assessment.

The survey is organized by real estate investment categories like residential, office, industrial, retail and diversified mixes.

A GRESB Score is generated by assessing management, performance and development. It also generates a benchmark for real estate (management and performance factors) and development (management and development factors).

Top performers in their region and globally are granted the title of Sector Leader. Participants in the top 20 per cent are given a five-star ranking.

The Canadian funds recognized as Sector Leaders in 2022 are: Canadian Real Estate Income Fund (CREIF), QuadReal, RBC Canadian Core Real Estate Fund, RioCan, The Cadillac Fairview Corporation ("CF"), CPP Oxford Fund, Prime Canadian Property Fund, and Triovest.

It is organized by the GRESB Foundation, a non-profit based in the Netherlands.

GRESB scores show minor improvement in 2022

GRESB says 2022 set a record for the most participants with 1,820 entities globally, totalling $9.5 trillion in gross annual value across 74 countries. In 2021, 1,520 participants were surveyed.

The average GRESB Score increased by one point to 74 (out of a possible 100 points) for the Standing Investments Benchmark and by two points to 81 in the Development Benchmark. GRESB says the improvement was made despite “lagged impact of the pandemic recovery on participants’ performance scores.”

Notable improvements were made in targets, leadership data monitoring, review and materials.

Decreases in global average scores for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (down 6.4 per cent), energy (down 2.3 per cent) and water (down 3.6 per cent) from 2021 to 2022 were attributed to operations returning to a pre-COVID-19 state of operations.

Notable participation growth was in the Americas, from 366 participants in 2021 to 477 in 2022; a 30 per cent leap in participation. The jump in participation from first-time participants led to the Americas placing the lowest among regions, giving it an average GRESB Score of 72.

Oceania continued to lead regions with a GRESB Score of 81. Asia improved by an average of three points to 78 while Europe went up by two points to 73.

The Canadian Sector Leaders

Standing Investments Benchmark

Global Sectors Leaders:

Regional Sector Leaders:

  • Diversified – Office/Residential sector: CREIF managed by KingSett Capital;
  • Diversified sector: QuadReal Property Group managed by QuadReal Property Group;
  • Diversified sector: RBC Canadian Core Real Estate Fund managed by RBC GAM – QuadReal;

Regional Sectors Leaders – Listed:

  • Retail sector: RioCan managed by RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust;

Regional Sectors Leaders – Non-listed:

  • Diversified - Office/Residential sector: CREIF managed by KingSett Capital;
  • Diversified sector: QuadReal Property Group managed by QuadReal Property Group;
  • Diversified sector: RBC Canadian Core Real Estate Fund managed by RBC GAM – QuadReal;
  • Diversified – Office/Retail sector: The Cadillac Fairview Corporation managed by The Cadillac Fairview Corporation;

Development Benchmark

Regional Sectors Leaders:

  • Office sector: CPP Oxford Fund managed by Oxford Properties Group (OMERS);
  • Diversified sector: Prime Canadian Property Fund managed by BentallGreenOak;
  • Diversified sector: Triovest Inc. managed by Triovest Inc.;

Regional Sector Leaders – Non-listed:

  • Office sector: CPP Oxford Fund managed by Oxford Properties Group (OMERS);
  • Diversified sector: Prime Canadian Property Fund managed by BentallGreenOak;
  • Diversified sector: Triovest Inc. managed by Triovest Inc.;

The Canadian portfolios that did not make the list as Sector Leaders from 2021 are: Manulife Investment Management, Ivanhoe Cambridge, First Capital REIT and Oxford Properties.

Cadillac Fairview

In a press release, CF made note of its achievement as a Regional Sector Leader in the Americas for the Diversified – Office/Retail sector.

It also earned the 'Green Star' ranking for a seventh year.

CF highlighted the steps it took to achieve ESG successes, like the development of its Climate Action and Resource Protection targets, installing solar panels at the CF Chinook Centre and initiating an energy smart analytics program.

"This achievement is a testament to CF's passion and commitment to sustainability, said John Sullivan, president and CEO of Cadillac Fairview. “As the owner and operator of some of Canada's largest office complexes and shopping centres, we hold ourselves accountable to actionable and measurable targets, every day, so that we can mitigate our impact on climate change and enable a sustainable future." 

CREIF

CREIF is managed by KingSett Capital. Through a press release, KingSett Capital said it achieved a five-star rating for the fifth year in a row; ranked first in its peer group for the third year in a row; and was ranked first globally within its peer group of non-listed core funds for the second year in a row.

It also claims to be ranked first in Canada and first across the Americas in the Developments Benchmark.

Jon Love, CEO of KingSett Capital, said the private equity real estate investment firm is “committed to our ESG strategy and continue to expand our efforts and ambitions, seeking to make an impact and build long-term value for all our stakeholders and communities.”

RioCan

RioCan highlighted its “above average scores” and being the highest rated Regional Sectors Leader in retail through a press release.

“For the third successive year, RioCan received the top ‘A’ rating and top ranking amongst its Canadian peers for Public Disclosure,” it stated. RioCan also made a 6 per cent improvement in its GRESB Assessments submission for Developments from 2021.

However, RioCan did not mention a five-star rating in its latest press release, which it earned in 2021.

The remaining Canadian Sector Leaders did not release a company statement about their GRESB placement as of publication.



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