A group of institutional investors has partnered to launch a global sustainability benchmark for infrastructure assets, called GRESB Infrastructure.
The group includes the $288 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Sacramento; the C$154.4 billion ($116.2 billion) Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Toronto; and money managers APG Asset Management and Aviva Investors. It was developed in partnership with GRESB, an industry-driven organization that assesses the sustainability performance of real estate portfolios.
The group of investors — representing a total $1.5 trillion of assets — began work on the benchmark last year, said the GRESB Infrastructure website.
The new infrastructure sustainability benchmark offers an industrywide assessment and processes to help investors evaluate the sustainability performance of their global infrastructure assets. Investors will be able to collect and compare environmental, social and governance factors, and other performance metrics across their assets.
“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, global real estate and infrastructure, at APG Asset Management, in a news release. “Therefore we join(ed) forces in setting up a global benchmark that (provides) insight, (allows) us to measure the progress and (provides) us the means to engage with our investee funds and companies.”
Euan Munro, CEO at Aviva Investors, added that for the first-time money managers “will have the data to evaluate whether infrastructure assets are — or are not — sustainable, and can make investment decisions accordingly,” Mr. Munro said in the same release. “It should mean more capital flowing into more sustainable infrastructure — and reliable long-term returns for investors.”
The first assessments under the new benchmark are expected in the first quarter of 2016.