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External benchmarks and guidance

External benchmarks and guidance

 

Benchmarks and assessments

 
GRESB
 
GRESB
Overview
GRESB is the leading sustainability benchmark for the global real estate sector. Assessments take place annually and are guided by factors that investors and the industry consider to be material issues in the sustainability performance of real asset investments. In 2018 GRESB assessed 904 real estate funds and property companies.

Methodology
The GRESB assessment evaluates performance against seven sustainability 'Aspects'. The score in each of these areas is aggregated on a weighted basis to derive an overall GRESB Score, which is divided into two “Dimensions”: Management & Policy and Implementation & Measurement. The overall GRESB Score, and the score for each of the two Dimensions, are marked out of 100. A GRESB ‘Green Star’ star rating is applied to entries with scores of 50 or more for both Dimensions.

Our performance
In the 2018 GRESB Assessment (September 2018), we received a GRESB Score of 62, compared to a score of 46 in 2017 and 36 in 2016. In the Management & Policy dimension, we scored 77, in line with the GRESB Average. This included a maximum possible score of 100 for the Management Aspect, which focuses on the extent to which an organisation integrates ESG into its overall business strategy. In the Implementation & Measurement aspect, we scored 57, just below the GRESB Average of 64. NewRiver obtained a GRESB Green Star for the first time.

NewRiver has been a Member of GRESB since June 2019. 



EPRA Sustainability Best Practice Recommendations (‘EPRA sBPR’)
 
EPRA
Overview
EPRA sBPR are intended to raise the standards and consistency of sustainability reporting for listed real estate companies across Europe – Each year, EPRA recognises companies which have issued best-in-class annual sustainability performance reports.

Methodology
EPRA partner with JLL to score the public disclosure of EPRA members against: 16 Performance Measures relating to energy, water, waste and building certifications; and 10 Overarching Recommendations which underpin good quality disclosure. Scores are provided out of 100%, with awards provided for entries with at least 12 Performance Measures disclosed and scores of 60-69% (Bronze); 70-85% (Silver); and 85%+ (Gold).

Our performance
We were first included in the assessment in 2016. In 2018, we scored 54%.

FTSE Russell ESG Ratings
 
FTSE Russell
Overview
FTSE Russell’s ESG Ratings and data model allows investors to understand a company’s exposure to, and management of, ESG issues. – The ESG ratings can be accessed through an online data model and include over 4,100 securities in 47 Developed and Emerging markets, comprising the constituents of the FTSE All-World Index, FTSE All-Share Index and Russell 1000 Index.

Methodology
The ESG Ratings comprise an overall rating scored out of 5, which breaks down into underlying ‘Pillars’ and ‘Themes’. The assessment has three Pillars (Environmental, Social and Governance) and 14 Themes which each feed into the Pillars. These are built on over 300 ‘Indicators’ (with 10 to 35 Indicators per Theme). An average of 125 of these Indicators are applied to each company, based on individual circumstances. Companies in Developed markets with an ESG Rating of 3.1 or higher out of 5 are eligible for inclusion in the FTSE4Good Index.

Our performance
We have participated in the ESG Ratings since 2017. In our most recent assessment (December 2018), we received an overall ESG Rating of 2.3 out of 5, just below the Retail REIT average of 2.4. We scored 1.1 out of 5 in Environment Pillar, 2.1 out of 5 in Social Pillar and 3.7 out of 5 in Governance Pillar. The main driver of our low score in Environmental was structural: many Indicators require three years of data, and we will only reach our third year of reporting environmental data in 2019. We did not qualify for inclusion in the FTSE4Good Index based on our December 2018 rating.


MSCI ESG Ratings
 
MSCI
Overview
MSCI ESG ratings provide insight into ESG risks and opportunities within multi-asset class portfolios. MSCI rate 7,000 companies according to their exposure to industry significant ESG risks and their ability to manage those risks relative to industry peers.

Methodology
MSCI ESG Ratings are based only on publicly available information. Ratings are constructed based on data points across 37 ESG Key Issues, split into: Environmental: Climate change, natural resources, pollution & waste, environmental opportunities; Social: Human capital, product liability, stakeholder opposition, social opportunities; and Governance: Corporate governance, corporate behaviour. To arrive at a final letter rating (AAA to CCC), the weighted average of Key Issues scores are aggregated and normalised based on industry-specific considerations.

Our performance
We received a rating of BBB in the October 2018 assessment, in-line with MSCI’s “Real Estate Management & Services” industry average and unchanged from the October 2017 and October 2016 assessments. We scored in the upper quartile within the industry for Corporate Governance, but in the lowest quartile for Environment and Social factors.
 

CDP
 
CDP
Overview
CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, runs a global disclosure system that enables companies, cities, states and regions to measure and manage their environmental impacts. – Investors, businesses and policy makers use the data to inform decisions, manage risk and capitalise on opportunities.

Methodology
CDP collects data from companies, cities and states on their environmental performance and produces detailed analysis on critical environmental risks, opportunities and impacts. Every year, CDP scores participating companies from A to D- based on an assessment of their awareness, management and leadership on climate change.

Our performance
We do not currently participate in the CDP disclosure regime.
 
 
  

Guidance and principles-based frameworks

  
Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (‘TCFD’)
 
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Overview
In April 2015, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors asked the Financial Stability Board (‘FSB’) to review how the financial sector can take account of climate-related issues. The FSB established the TCFD to develop voluntary, consistent climate-related financial disclosures that would be useful to investors, lenders and insurance underwriters in understanding material risks, and that would facilitate the transition to a climate-resilient economy.

Methodology
The TCFD recommend companies integrate ESG into their reporting in four key areas: Governance, Strategy, Risk Management, Metrics and Targets, and provides example disclosures for each of these. The TCFD monitors adoption of its recommendations across the industry, although it does not assess individual companies. The TCFD encourages companies and industry bodies to become ‘Supporters’ of its framework.

Our performance
We have adopted the recommendations of the TCFD throughout our reporting. We will continue to enhance our reporting in the key areas identified by the TCFD, and intend to this year apply to become a ‘Supporter’ of the framework.
 

UN Sustainable Development Goals
 
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Overview
In 2015, UN countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (‘SDGs’). The SDGs call for worldwide action among governments, business and civil society to end poverty and create a life of dignity and opportunity for all, within the boundaries of the planet.

Methodology 
There is no official process for supporting the SDGs. Instead, companies are encouraged to select which goals are aligned with their business activities and report on how they are working to achieve them.

Our performance
We have this year identified three SDGs where we feel we can make the biggest positive difference, and which align most closely to our business model.
 
 
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Sustainable Accounting Standards Board ('SASB') recommendations
 
SASB
Overview
The SASB was founded in 2011 to develop and disseminate sustainability accounting standards, to complement the work of the Financial Accounting Standard Board. The SASB issued the world’s first set of industry-specific sustainability accounting standards covering financially material environmental, social and governance issues in 77 industries.

Methodology
SASB has created an Investor Advisory Group (IAG), which comprises leading asset owners and asset managers representing a combined total of more than $21 trillion assets under management, which helps to shape its standards. The SASB recommendations are aligned with the recommendations of the TCFDs and are complementary to the Global Reporting Initiative.

Our performance
We welcome the alignment of SASB standards with TCFD implementation, and have adopted the recommendations of the TCFD throughout our reporting.
 

RE100
 
RE 100
Overview
RE100 is a corporate leadership initiative bringing together major companies committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity globally.

Methodology
Companies joining RE100 make a global, public commitment to 100% renewable electricity through the production of renewable energy or purchase. Companies must submit a clear strategy with a timetable to go 100% by 2050 with interim steps of at least: 30% by 2020; 60% by 2030; and 90% by 2040.

Our performance
In 2018, we began discussions with our energy supplier to make the switch to renewable energy across the retail portfolio. We are working with external partners on our ambition to procure green energy across our retail and pub portfolios; we aim to have established green energy contracts for our retail portfolio by the end of 2019. We also intend to make a formal commitment and join RE100 in the near future.