CalPERS Will Begin Reporting Into Global Sustainability Benchmark for Real Assests Program

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has announced external real estate managers within the Fund’s Real Assets Program will begin reporting into GRESB, formerly the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, in 2017. GRESB assesses the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance of real assets investments including real estate portfolios and infrastructure assets and funds. 

Using this tool will allow the CalPERS Investment Office to review ESG data, along with related performance metrics, for assets managed by external managers. The benchmark will be used to understand how CalPERS’ managers and assets compare to the industry and to emerging ESG standards. GRESB offers a consistent framework to collect and compare key ESG indicators and related performance metrics across global real estate and infrastructure portfolios. 

“CalPERS has utilized GRESB for our infrastructure portfolio for a year now,” says Ted Eliopoulos, CalPERS’ chief investment officer. “We are pleased to expand its use to the entire Real Assets Program.”

CalPERS’ Real Assets Program has a total net asset value of $31.8 billion and accounts for 10.8 percent of the Total Fund. Utilizing the GRESB tool throughout the program will help the asset class work towards the carbon footprint goal established in CalPERS’ ESG five-year strategic plan. The plan, adopted earlier this year, outlines CalPERS’ sustainability objectives across all asset classes.

“Manager expectations are a part of Real Assets’ five-year ESG goals as outlined in our strategic plan,” says Paul Mouchakkaa, CalPERS’ managing investment director, Real Assets. “GRESB will help us systematically benchmark our external managers on their efforts.”

GRESB has more than 250 members, of which more than 60 are pension funds and their fiduciaries. To date, GRESB has assessed more than 1,100 property companies and funds globally.

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