GRESB newcomer Varma gets good results in real estate sustainability assessment

Varma took part in the GRESB assessment of real estate sustainability performance for the first time. With 68 points, the company scored two out of five stars. Varma is the only Finnish earnings-related pension insurance company to take part in the assessment so far.

GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) is a global tool and framework for assessing and benchmarking the sustainability performance of real estate and infrastructure investments, allowing investors to collect and compare their sustainability performance data.

GRESB assesses the sustainability of the entire direct real estate portfolio with respect to sustainability-related risks and opportunities, energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, environmental management systems and broadly the CSR policies and management in the entire company.

Varma’s result is 68/100, which exceeds the peer group’s average by one point and is a respectable result for a first-time participant. This year, the average number of points received by first-time participants was 58.

Good scores in sustainability policy and management

In the GRESB assessment, investors are given a star rating from one to five. Varma’s 68 points gives it a two-star rating. The star rating is calculated relative to the performance of peer reporting entities annually, and this year, the average scores increased further.

“It’s a shame that we narrowly missed the three-star rating; this is nevertheless a good starting point for future assessments. For us, what is more important than the number of points is that we can use the assessment as a tool for developing the sustainability of our real assets,” stresses Johanna Haikala, Real Estate Investment Manager and co-ordinator of Varma’s real estate sustainability work.

In the assessment, Varma scored particularly good points, for instance, in sustainability policy and management. Varma had set the goal of reducing the carbon footprint of its real estate by 15% between 2015 and 2020 and met the goal ahead of time.

The sustainability risks and opportunities of Varma’s real assets scored high, as did Varma’s certification work.

“Some improvement areas for us are in the coverage of consumption data and in the co-operation with, e.g. our lessees and the supply chain,” says Haikala.

The GRESB Real Estate Assessment (REA) is a global assessment that is carried out annually. This year, 1,005 real estate investors participated in the assessment. The assessment is based on the 2018 reporting year.

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