The DGNB offers its own ESG verification service for the real estate industry to make it possible to verify the conformity of property to EU taxonomy criteria. Applicable to three fields of business defined in the taxonomy – new construction, renovation, and acquisition and ownership – it is based on currently applicable taxonomy criteria, although it also includes employment standards, social standards and good governance on the part of involved companies.
Those who choose the DGNB's ESG verification receive, in addition to proof of the project's conformity with the EU taxonomy, a report on the detailed results and thus information on where there is still a need for improvement. The ESG verification service is offered collaboratively by the DGNB and its partners in the Climate Positive Europe Alliance (CPEA). Thereby, it adheres to uniform principles and is applicable throughout Europe.
The validation and reporting format primarily addresses financial market stakeholders, property developers and the owners of individual properties or entire portfolios. It serves for more transparency and risk minimisation, especially during the buying and selling process. In addition to requiring financial stakeholders to disclose any project investments they are involved in, in future projects that comply with taxonomy criteria are expected to receive better funding terms. In this regard, the ESG verification serves as independent proof of compliance.
Audits can be carried out concurrently or independently during DGNB Certification. In the first step, the DGNB service applies to the taxonomy objectived "climate change mitigation", "climate change adaption" and "transition to a circular economy", as well as associated "Do-No-Significant-Harm" criteria and minimum requirements, which are primarily targeted at companies themselves.
With its broad network of experts, the DGNB has more than ten years of experience in the independent assessment of the sustainability quality of buildings through its activities in the field of certification. The DGNB has a correspondingly high reputation in this area, which is why a verification issued by the DGNB is regarded as a reliable, quality-assured evidence.
Stakeholders using the DGNB service to assess ESG conformity with the EU taxonomy not only receive proof of compliance with the criteria, but also reports capturing the detailed results of assessments, thus providing important pointers on areas that may still require specific improvement.
Additionally, the ESG Verification for the EU Taxonomy represents a genuine European offer for companies from the real estate and financial sectors through cooperation with partner organisations from Spain, Austria, Belgium and Denmark.
Interested international applicants first contact one of the DGNB staff members mentioned below to obtain the appropriate application form. The applicant then sends the completed form by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The application can be made for one project, several projects or portfolios. The applicant then receives the documents for verification by e-mail. In addition to the questionnaires matching the project, the applicant also receives a guideline describing the exact documentation requirements for the ESG verification. Please note that these requirements will be adjusted promptly in the event of future extensions of the taxonomy criteria by the EU, particularly in the areas of "Social" and "Governance".
The project-specific documents are submitted by e-mail to email@example.com. The DGNB then examines the documents, evaluates the project with regard to the fulfilment of the EU taxonomy criteria and subsequently prepares a report. This is made available to the applicant by e-mail as official proof.
If a project is already registered for DGNB Certification, the process slightly differs. The scope of the documents to be submitted for ESG verification is significantly reduced as the DGNB Certification criteria already cover a large number of the requirements of the EU taxonomy that need to be documented. These are submitted as part of the conformity check via the DGNB System Software. In the case of projects already registered for certification, registration is carried out by sending an informal e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating the existing project number. Alternatively, for projects still to be registered, registration for ESG verification can take place in the course of project registration for certification.
In addition to an application fee, there is a verification fee per project for DGNB's ESG verification. Please refer to the current scale of fees for the exact costs.
In principle, it can be stated that many aspects required in the EU taxonomy are already part of the DGNB certification, whereby synergy effects are achieved in the ESG verification. The international study on the marketability of the EU taxonomy conducted by the DGNB with partners also showed that DGNB-certified projects performed significantly better than others. Due to the availability of resilient data, there was less effort involved in processing the verification of the taxonomy criteria.
Conversely, projects that meet the criteria of the EU taxonomy have a very good basis for a successful DGNB certification. In the DGNB System for Buildings in Use, for example, taxonomy-compliant projects already achieve a degree of fulfilment of at least 24 percent. In New Construction, the value is at least 13 percent.
In the DGNB System for New Construction in the Version 2018, the value is at least 13 percent, while in the Version 2023, the requirements of the EU taxonomy have been fully incorporated into the DGNB System.
The DGNB always includes the latest version of the EU criteria in all new and further developments of the DGNB System in order to integrate the ESG Verification as a standard part of certification.
The DGNB Academy offers training for the sustainable optimisation of real estate. The two-stage training offer first includes a compact course. This basic course provides you with an overview of the regulatory requirements at german national and European level. You will gain an understanding of how to ensure compliance and safely manage potential risks.
Building on this, a two-day advanced training course will provide you with the necessary expert knowledge to manage real estate and portfolios in practice in an ESG-compliant manner. The qualification "DGNB ESG Manager" can be acquired via a subsequent exam. This qualification entitles the holder to audit certification projects according to the DGNB System for Buildings in Use and to carry out the associated ESG Verification for the EU Taxonomy.
Please note: the training is in German.
Circular Economy Taxonomy Study
EU Taxonomy Study: Climate change mitigation
In this online seminar you will get an overview of the EU taxonomy. You will learn how to use ESG verification in upcoming construction and real estate projects to confirm sustainability and what advantages and opportunities this offers.
Please note: The seminar is in German.