Ørsted, one of the world’s largest green energy developers, is named Sector Leader in the 2018 GRESB Infrastructure Assessment, for significant steps taken to incorporate sustainability into operations and communicate performance to investors.
The GRESB assessment helps investors to understand the economic and social impacts of infrastructure assets such as offshore wind farms or power plants, by measuring their impacts in a standardized and comparable way.
“Some investors say they want to not only deliver strong returns, but also ensure that pensioners get to enjoy their retirement in a world that's worth living in,” says Rick Walters, Director Infrastructure at GRESB BV, which organizes the assessment.
“It’s a trend driven by general societal concerns, as well as by millennial investors embracing social and environmental concerns in their pension investment choices,” he adds.
Why ESG matters
That trend partly explains why institutional investors such as pension funds and banks are increasingly interested in environmental, social and governance (ESG) data, which helps provide a more complete picture of a company’s performance.
“Such information helps show that important risks are being appropriately managed, which is particularly important with long-life assets like infrastructure,” Walters says.
Investors are also looking for investment strategies that produce targeted sustainable outcomes that relate to specific infrastructure assets, such as minimising greenhouse gas emissions, or contributing positive social impacts for local communities.
ESG ratings and assessments can help guide investors in that process. According to GRESB, achieving Sector Leaderstatus is clear recognition of best practice in ESG performance by funds and assets.
In the GRESB assessment, Ørsted achieved the highest overall score in the “diversified” asset sector, reflecting the company’s mixed portfolio of offshore and onshore wind, bioenergy, thermal power, and energy services.
“We disclose to GRESB because their ratings are used by a number of our important institutional investors who invest directly in our offshore wind farms,” says Robert Helms, Head of Asset Management at Ørsted. “The assessment helps benchmark our progress and sustainability performance against peers and shows investors that we are a high-performer in ESG. We’re delighted to be named a GRESB Sector Leader,” he adds.
The company was awarded the top ranking at a GRESB Results Event in London, in October.
* Headquartered in Denmark, Ørsted employs 5,700 people. The group’s revenue was DKK 59.5 billion (EUR 8.0 billion), in 2017. Ørsted has installed more than 5Gw of offshore wind capacity and targets 95% green energy in its own production by 2023. It today ranks among the world’s 100 most sustainable companies.
* GRESB defines the standard for sustainability performance in real assets, providing standardized and validated ESG data to more than 70 institutional investors – representing over USD 18 trillion in institutional capital. In 2018, the Infrastructure Assessment covered 75 funds and 280 assets.