ESG Certification Definitions

Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI): Signing the internationally recognized PRI allows our organization to publicly demonstrate our commitment to responsible investment and positions AEW at the heart of a global community. AEW reports on its responsible investment activities yearly as required by PRI. For more information on PRI, see

GRESB (formerly known as Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark): As an Investor Member and Real Estate Manager Member of GRESB Real Estate, AEW has access to the necessary data and analytical tools to evaluate the sustainability performance of our investment portfolios and to engage with investment managers. AEW submits certain funds to the GRESB Real Estate Assessment. For more information on the assessment and methodology, see

International WELL Building Institute (IWBI): IWBI is a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and well-being in buildings and communities across the world through its WELL Building Standard. Projects pursuing WELL certification can earn points based on performance outcomes for various policy, design and operational strategies and can achieve one of four certification levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum. For more information on the certification and methodology, see

ENERGY STAR®: ENERGY STAR is a U.S. EPA voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. To be certified as ENERGY STAR, a building must meet strict energy performance standards set by U.S. EPA. For more information on the ENERGY STAR platform and certification, see

PREA SEO: The PREA Foundation has formalized a partnership with SEO to establish its first-ever Real Estate Track, dedicated to increasing diverse employment in the commercial real estate industry. For more information on the partnership, see

BREEAM: The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method analyzes the environmental, social, and economic sustainability performance of an asset. It recognizes and reflects the value in higher performing assets across the built environment lifecycle, from new construction to in-use and refurbishment. BREEAM provides a holistic sustainability assessment framework, measuring sustainable value in a series of categories and validating this performance with third-party certification. For more information on the certification and methodology, see

LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification is one of the most widely used and recognized GBC programs worldwide. LEED includes rating systems for the design, construction, operations, and maintenance of green buildings and aims to help building owners and operators be more environmentally responsible and resource efficient. To achieve LEED certification, a project earns points by adhering to prerequisites and credits that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health, and indoor environmental quality. For more information on the certification and methodology, see

BOMA 360: Building Owners and Managers Association 360 is a commercial real estate designation that recognizes all-around excellence in building operations and management. The program benchmarks building performance in six key areas: operations and management; security and safety; training and education; energy; environment and sustainability; and tenant relations. For more information on the certification and methodology, see

Built Green: Built Green recognizes environmentally sound design, construction, and development practices in Washington’s cities and communities. Homes, remodels, apartments, and communities can be certified using third-party verifiers against the Built Green sustainability strategies and features checklist standard. For more information on the certification and methodology, see

ULI Greenprint: The ULI Greenprint Center for Building Performance is a worldwide alliance of leading real estate owners, investors, and strategic partners committed to improving the environmental performance of the global real estate industry. ULI Greenprint has tracked year-over-year, like-for-like percent reductions in absolute carbon emissions since 2009 to measure against the portfolio-wide 50 percent reduction by 2030 goal. For more information on ULI Greenprint, see

MSCI VaR: MSCI’s Climate Value-At-Risk tool is designed to provide a forward-looking and return-based valuation assessment to measure climate related risks and opportunities in an investment portfolio. The fully quantitative model offers deep insights into how climate change could affect company valuations. For more information on MSCI VaR, see

CREST Program: The Commercial Real Estate Success Training (CREST) is a paid internship program designed to introduce people of color and women, both of whom are typically underrepresented, to the commercial real estate industry. Through CREST, firms in the commercial real estate industry in Boston had the opportunity to expand their base of potential long-term employees from a diverse pool of highly qualified college students studying in the Boston area. For more information on the CREST program, see

USGBC: The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit organization committed to sustainable development through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC developed the LEED green building certification program to support its mission of market transformation. They offer a robust selection of educational programs for their nationwide network of chapters and affiliates. For more information on USGBC,

SDGs: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 goals which make up the core of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provide a shared blueprint to balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. For more information on SDGs, see

CALGreen/California’s Green Building Standards Code (CGBC): CALGreen is the nation's first mandatory green building standards code. The CALGreen code includes measures to support the goals of California’s greenhouse gas reduction program and promote healthful indoor and outdoor air quality. CALGreen was adopted in 2009 and is updated every three years. CGBC has the authority to propose CALGreen standards for nonresidential structures and new construction and addition projects. For further information, see

IREM/IREM CSP: The Institute of Real Estate Management is an international program with educational offerings, certification programs, and networking opportunities for property managers. IREM also offers a sustainable building certification for properties that meet their rigorous requirements. For more information on IREM, see

BCA Greenmark: The Building and Construction Authority launched the Greenmark certification scheme in 2005 to evaluate a building's environmental impact and performance. The Greenmark certification provides a comprehensive framework to assess the environmental performance of new and existing buildings, with the goal of promoting sustainable design and promoting best practices in construction and operations in buildings. For further detail on BCA Greenmark, see

NABERS: The National Australian Built Environment Rating System measures a building’s energy efficiency, carbon emissions, water usage, waste management, and IAQ and compares it to similar buildings. NABERS provides a rating from one to six stars for buildings efficiency across energy, water, waste, and indoor environment. NABERS offers a pathway to achieve Climate Active Carbon Neutral (Net Zero Carbon) certification, a world-leading, government-backed certification that is aligned to national and international greenhouse gas accounting protocols. For more information on the certification and methodology, see

TCFD: The Taskforce on Climate related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) developed recommendations released in 2017 on the types of information that companies should disclose to support investors, lenders, and insurance underwriters in appropriately assessing and pricing risks related to climate change. TCFD continues its work by promoting the adoption of the TCFD framework, providing further guidance, supporting educational efforts, and monitoring climate-related financial disclosure practices in terms of their alignment with the TCFD recommendations. For more information on TCFD, see