GRESB Launch New Health and Wellbeing Module

GRESB, the assessment standard for Environmental, Social Governance (ESG) in real estate has launched a new Health & Wellbeing module as part of the 2016 update. At a packed event hosted by Legal and General on 12 April, GRESB Co-Founder Nils Kok explained the reasons that the topic has become so important for property investors and developers.

Spending on healthcare is rising as a percentage of GDP, as a result of factors such as an ageing population, obesity and disease.  It is estimated that between 2011 and 2030, USD 47 trillion lost income will occur as a result of health spending. As such, Kok predicts that the opportunities and risks associated with health and wellbeing in real estate represent the next megatrend.

Buildings have a key role to play in determining the health of their occupants as a result of indoor air quality, thermal comfort, lighting, ergonomics, physical activity promotion, healthy eating, acoustic performance, social inclusion, mental well-being and others. Improvements in these factors will help to increase productivity, reduce absenteeism and reduce the cost of reactive medical intervention.

The ten new GRESB indicators are split into two focus areas: looking at the health & wellbeing of employees at the organisation level; and how products and services provided by the organisation help promote health & wellbeing for tenants and customers. The module provides participating companies, investors and funds with an understanding of management, policy, implementation and operational performance.

Further presentations from UK-GBC, WELL Certification, CBRE, Land Securities and British Land all emphasised the importance of measuring the effect of health & wellbeing interventions. For example, British Land have measured a range of qualitative (perception based) and quantitative (automated monitoring) data before and after their recent head office refurbishment which focussed on a range of areas. The key piece of information that will take longer to materialise is the longer term effect on issues such as absenteeism, retention, sick days and health care.

Come and join Greengage at our Green Sky Thinking event on 27 April, in association with Grosvenor, where we will look at how creating new cities influences the health and wellbeing of populations.