The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has launched the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) Infrastructure, a new benchmark that will measure the sustainability of infrastructure investments.
CalPERS is a founding member of the initiative, along with seven other global institutional investors.
Once completed in early 2016, it will provide a framework for investors to collect and assess key environmental, social and governance factors, and related performance metrics, across their infrastructure assets.
"We look forward to working with GRESB's platform to gain insights into current and prospective infrastructure assets," says Ted Eliopoulos (pictured), CalPERS' Chief Investment Officer. "GRESB has an established and global track record in assessing and evaluating social and environmental factors, which will shed more light on sustainability considerations for investors."
The group of eight investors represents a combined portfolio of USD1.5 trillion. In addition to CalPERS, other investors include AIMCo, APG, ATP, Aviva Investors, Mirova, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, and PGGM. "The GRESB Infrastructure tool will allow us to measure the progress and provide us the means to engage with our investee funds and companies," said Patrick Kanters, Managing Director, Global Real Estate and Infrastructure, APG Asset Management.
CalPERS began working with a group of global institutional infrastructure investors in 2014 with the goal of addressing the question of how to develop a global sustainability benchmarking tool for infrastructure assets. This investor-led initiative has partnered with GRESB, an industry-driven organisation committed to assessing the sustainability performance of real assets to realise the vision and establish a consistent global sustainability framework for the infrastructure sector. Given the long-term horizon, the fixed location of physical assets, and the societal impact of infrastructure investments, sustainability and broader environmental, social and governance considerations are critically important for infrastructure investors.
"CalPERS is proud to join other investors in support of developing and utilising this important benchmark," says Anne Simpson, Investment Director for Global Governance at CalPERS.
"Infrastructure is a growing part of our portfolio. This benchmark will give us a tool to integrate sustainable investment considerations into our real assets investment processes in line with our Investment Beliefs pertaining to the three forms of capital: financial, physical, and human," says Paul Mouchakkaa, Managing Investment Director Real Assets for CalPERS.