EPRA confronts challenge of public ESG data disclosure

The European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA) has made a further challenge on how firms report on environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters with the launch of a new database covering publicly available ESG data.

The data resource on European listed real estate companies serves to address 'the lack of robust and consistent ESG public data in the listed real estate sector', the association announced at its annual conference, held this year in Madrid.

The association introduced preliminary recommendations in 2011 in the guise of the EPRA sustainability Best Practices Recommendations (sBPR), currently the sole industry standard for ESG reporting.

The collation of the dataset follows much criticism of reporting of ESG data, with industry stalwarts such as Blackrock pointing out that ESG data has historically lacked structure, consistency and quality.

Hassan Sabir, finance & sustainability director at EPRA, said: 'Sustainability reporting is becoming ever more vital for the sector and it is our role to enable companies to be increasingly transparent and allow investors to make more informed decisions.

'This has not just been an issue for the listed real estate sector but continues to be a challenge across many sectors. We hope that our work here leads the way for other industries to make strides towards greater transparency.'

EPRA’s new database directly aims to fill these gaps in publicly available raw data in order to provide a full understanding of ESG performance, risks and opportunities of the European listed real estate sector. This is the latest piece in the membership body’s eight-year drive towards transparent, concise and comparable information, since the launch of their sBPR.

Peter van den Tol, fund manager listed real estate securities at MN, said: 'Transparent and factual data are essential to enhance the ESG performance of the sector. In the last few years, interest from the investment community in such data has surged as ESG strength can drive the stability of the portfolios we invest in and enhance the long-term characteristics.

'We warmly welcome EPRA’s focus on delivering this tool.'

The EPRA Conference is taking place at Madrid's Westin Palace until September 12.

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