The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, GRESB, has responded to the growing attention healthy buildings have been receiving, launching a health and wellbeing module for its annual survey.

The module is an optional supplement to the GRESB Real Estate Assessment, an annual ESG survey conducted on behalf of institutional investors. The module evaluates and benchmarks actions by property companies and funds to promote the health and wellbeing of employees and strategies to create value through products and services that promote health and wellbeing for tenants and customers.

“The design, construction and operation of our built environment has a profound impact on individuals and populations,” GRESB chief operating officer Chris Pyke said.

“GRESB’s vision is to ultimately create better places for people and communities – places that reduce environmental impacts, improve social practices and set high standards for corporate governance – in profitable ways that make good business sense and reward innovation. This new health and wellbeing module adds an additional component to the annual GRESB assessment and sends a signal that human health and wellbeing plays a critical role in assessing the value of real estate portfolios and other assets.”

The module has two primary areas of focus:

  • the promotion of health and wellbeing for employees
  • the provision of products and services that help promote health and wellbeing for tenants and other customers

According to Dr Matt Trowbridge an associate professor at the Department of Public Health at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the addition of the module would make real estate companies and funds transparent on health and wellbeing and make comparative information more accessible to investors.

“This represents an important step toward resolving long-standing market failures and making health an investible attribute of real estate,” Dr Trowbridge said.

The module is now available in pre-release via the GRESB website and will be open for submission starting 1 April with the launch of the 2016 survey.