The Rise of ESG

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) is rising as a framework to assess business orientation, sustainable development strategies, and operation performance of organizations. Investing in ESG is a way to assess a company’s business risks, opportunities, and also operational policies towards the environment, society, and business governance.

Environmental criteria include strategies and practices applied to protect the environment from negative impacts such as climate change and the exhaustion of resources. The social aspect examines how a company treats different groups of people (customers, suppliers, employees, nearby communities, etc.) and maintains the relationship with them. Governance factors refer to the company’s leadership, internal management, audits, and shareholder rights.

What is GRESB? 

GRESB is the world leader in ESG scoring and benchmarking for the real estate space. Founded in 2010 by a group of European institutional investors who were looking to get more transparency into the sustainability impacts of their investments, GRESB has grown substantially over the years to become the go-to tool for real estate investors, managers, and developers crafting their ESG strategies. Currently, there are 2,084 participating real estate entities from 77 countries who joined GRESB in 2023, along with 175 of the world’s top investors who continue to use the GRESB assessment for their ESG due diligence and manager selection. 
GRESB is essentially an ESG report card, encompassing all pillars of Environmental, Social, and Governance. The way any real estate entity receives this report card is by first filling out the GRESB assessment questionnaire. After completing the assessment, GRESB will validate your answers, give you a score, and then put you into a peer benchmark group so that you can compare your score to peers and competitors in your local market. Any real estate company, developer, REIT, private fund, SPV, subsidiary, etc. is eligible to join GRESB. 

Benefits of following GRESB 

There are many benefits for real estate companies doing GRESB. The first is aligning with top ESG standards and frameworks. GRESB has taken all of the world’s top frameworks and standards (such as GRI, TCFD, CDP, etc.) and picked the pieces out of these that are most relevant for the real estate sector. This allows you to align with top international standards and receive a more accurate score that’s tailored to the real estate sector. 

The second is to roadmap your performance and benchmark against your peers. Since you can’t improve what you can’t measure, GRESB is a great way to start measuring your ESG process so that you can make improvements each year. Furthermore, since GRESB allows you to benchmark, you can see how you compare to your peers not only on a local level but also on a global level.

Third is green finance. A large portion of the 175 GRESB Investor Members will only make investments with real estate companies who do GRESB, so just participating in GRESB allows you to have a competitive advantage over your peers in terms of winning new investment deals over those who do not do GRESB. Nowadays, more and more banks are issuing sustainability-linked loans to companies based on their GRESB assessment, which reduces the cost of capital for GRESB participants. Apart from green finance, companies doing the GRESB assessment also lower their operational costs, have higher valuations, and can attract higher-paying tenants who will pay premiums to be in ESG-compliant buildings. There are numerous financial benefits that GRESB presents.

Lastly, GRESB is a great communication tool. You see companies putting their score on social media, incorporating it into their pitchbooks for new investors, and placing it in their marketing material. It’s a great way to show the world all the wonderful work you’re doing within sustainability.

As you can see, with ESG evolving from a nice-to-have to a must-have, there’s never been a better time to join GRESB and accelerate your ESG strategy. When done properly, ESG is an investment (not a sunk cost), and one that can provide a handsome ROI. We look forward to having you on board this year for the 2024 GRESB Real Estate Assessment. 

Achieving ESG Goals through Green Buildings

ESG aims to make better companies while green buildings aim to make better spaces. Both two have a significant overlap with many things in common. Green building certification schemes (e.g., LEED, BREEAM, EDGE, etc.) align with the requirements of ESG by providing assessment frameworks for buildings that are resource-efficient, less emitting, and healthier for occupants. Green-certified buildings help investors and project owners meet their ESG goals and enhance their ESG performance by reducing their environmental footprint (energy, water, waste), lowering operating costs, and increasing asset value. 

In a nutshell, ESG provides the framework for building assessment, and green buildings do the work and provide the evidence. It is predicted and expected that ESG and green buildings to become even more aligned and streamlined in the near future.


GreenViet is the first partner of GRESB in the Vietnam market, specializing in sustainable construction and green building consultancy with 11 years of experience. Ever since our foundation, GREENVIET has been driven by a clear vision of contributing to a greener Vietnam. 

With a team of 30 professionals, GREENVIET has expertise in-house to provide full services to multiple projects, including green building consultancy, design optimization, energy-water audits, commissioning, and training. Besides GRESB, our services include LEED, EDGE, LOTUS (Vietnam-based), EDGE (IFC, World Bank), BCA Green Mark, WELL & Fitwel (US).