GLOBAL - The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) has entered into a partnership with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) ahead of the completion of its latest survey of property funds and companies.

GRESB, which was launched by European pension funds last year to assess the sustainability performance of real estate funds, will publish the results of its latest survey in September.

The collaboration with GRI aims to make real estate one of the top three sectors in sustainability performance disclosure within three years, with GRESB's benchmark complementing GRI's property reporting guidelines as outlined in its Construction and Real Estate Sector Supplement.

Real estate funds and companies have until June 14 to provide data for the 2012 GRESB survey, which will publish results in September and provide participating firms with individual performance scorecards.

In 2011, more than 350 real estate fund managers and property companies responded to the GRESB Survey. The annual benchmark is now actively used by more than 30 institutional investors, including founding European pension fund investors APG, ATP and USS.

Sander Paul van Tongeren, senior sustainability specialist at APG Asset Management, said: "For investors, benchmarking sustainability performance provides the opportunity to take into account directly the risks of higher - and more volatile - energy prices, stricter legislation targeted directly at the real estate sector and changing preferences of corporate tenants."

Nils Kok, co-founder of GRESB and professor at Maastricht University, said: "It is our belief that benchmarking can help generate and strengthen market forces needed for more efficient use of energy and other resources by the real estate sector, lowering operational costs."