Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility

General

Vesteda sees Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility (CSSR) as vitally important for the long-term value development of our portfolio, our organisation as a whole and the society in which we operate. We believe that our efforts in the field of CSSR improve and strengthen Vesteda, both directly and indirectly, that they result in future-proof returns on our investments, and that they help us to create value for all our stakeholders. Our CSSR targets are an integral part of our business plan and are therefore firmly embedded in our business operations.

To shape our CSSR strategy, we use the three pillars of the ESG model: Environmental, Social and Governance. We defined five strategic projects in the context of these pillars in 2017: Portfolio Sustainability Improvement, Measuring & Managing Resource Consumption, Electric Cars De Boel, Stakeholder Engagement, Well Being, and Sustainable Acquisitions.

Environmental – Improve sustainable performance

As a fund, we seek to constantly improve our performance in the field of sustainability. We believe that this helps us safeguard the attractiveness of the fund and optimise our long-term risk return ratio. Our objective is to reduce our consumption of energy and water, and cut waste and CO2 emissions as much as possible. We also aim to use materials that have no harmful effect on the environment, and we want to work with business partners who share our own high standards in terms of sustainability.

Strategic project: Portfolio Sustainability Improvement

In 2015, Vesteda’s participants approved a plan to allocate €23 million over five years to improving the energy performance of Vesteda’s buildings, with the ultimate aim of surpassing the agreements laid down in the Dutch government’s Energy Agreement for 2020. By the end of 2020, at least 80% of Vesteda’s homes will have energy label A, B or C; no more than 20% of Vesteda’s homes will have energy label D; and Vesteda will have zero homes with labels E, F, or G.

In 2017, we improved the energy performance of 1,908 housing units. We spent €1.5 million on these improvements. Since 2016, we spent €3.4 million of the budget of €23 million. In addition, we fully integrated our portfolio improvement initiatives in our regular maintenance planning, leading to increased efficiency in the long term.

  • The percentage of homes in our portfolio with a green energy label (A++, A+, A, B, of C) increased to 81% in 2017 from 75% the previous year. This means that we exceeded our target of 77% for the end of 2017.

  • The percentage of homes with a D label declined to 13%, from 17% the previous year.

  • The percentage of homes with an E or worse energy label declined to 7%, from 8% the previous year. This means that we did not achieve our target of less than 5% in 2017. This was due to the fact that we integrated our label improvement initiatives in our regular maintenance planning, resulting in short-term delays. At the end of 2017, Vesteda had 1,497 homes with energy label E or worse, compared to 1,709 the previous year.

Changes energy labels homes 2013 through 2017

In 2017, Vesteda introduced the following measures to improve the energy performance of the homes in its portfolio:

Overview of energy performance measures 2017

Years (in number of properties)

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

High efficiency boilers

1,010

1,564

1,026

663

489

746

DC ventilators

481

731

364

-

-

-

High efficiency glazing

891

439

555

481

186

402

Roof insulation

-

273

-

74

57

100

Cavity-wall insulation

64

87

-

66

-

1

Under-floor insulation

23

21

1

-

8

40

LED lighting (complexes)

5

2

-

-

-

-

Solar panels* (complexes)

2

3

-

-

-

-

In 2016, we applied for the SDE+ operating grant (Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Production) for the exploitation of solar panels. This Dutch government subsidy was allocated to twelve complexes for a total of €0.10 per kWh. In 2017, we developed a business case for all twelve of these complexes and proceeded to commission the installation of solar panels on nine out of twelve complexes. The installation will take place in 2018, and a total of 1,700 solar panels are expected to be installed.

Healthy and safe homes

Our aim is to provide our tenants with safe and healthy homes. To ensure we do this as effectively as possible, we have taken a number of precautionary measures, which are described below.

Asbestos

Up until 1994, the use of materials containing asbestos was very common in the construction industry. Despite the fact that there is no legal obligation for asbestos-related inspections, beyond roofs and in the event of any plans for demolition or renovation work, Vesteda plans to conduct asbestos inspections at all the properties in its portfolio that have not already been inspected. If any asbestos is found during these inspections, Vesteda will take appropriate action, including potential clean-ups and providing information for tenants and third parties.

Asbestos inspections
 

Status end-2017 based on number of complexes

Status end-2016 based on number of complexes

No inspection necessary based on construction year

40%

40%

Inspected

53%

47%

To be inspected

7%

13%

The percentage of complexes yet to be inspected stood at 7% at year-end 2017. In 2017, we carried our various asbestos clean-up activities at five complexes. These involved clean-up operations in a total of 57 homes.

Central heating installations

We have signed maintenance contracts with a number of specialist technical installation companies, for periodic maintenance of the boilers to make sure all our individual central heating installations operate as smoothly and safely as possible. Periodic means once or twice a year in the case of closed installations and once every 18 months for open combustion devices.

In 2017, we used statements from the specialist technical installation companies over 2016 and 2017 to determine the percentage of central heating installations and combined heat and power installations (see below) that received timely maintenance.

This percentage (71%) is not yet at the desired level of 100%. One of the problems the technical installation companies encounter is that they cannot always plan maintenance appointments with all of our tenants on time.

Combined heat and power installations

To ensure the smooth operation of its combined heat and power installations and a healthy interior climate, Vesteda has signed maintenance contracts with specialist technical installation companies, which carry out periodic maintenance and checks on these installations. This maintenance includes cleaning the exchanger, the replacement of the filter set, plus checks on spare filter sets and the replacement of sets if necessary.

These percentage (58%) is not yet at the desired level of 100%. One of the problems the technical installation companies encounter is that they cannot always plan maintenance appointments with all of our tenants on time.

Lifts

Vesteda has closed a contract with a certified lift inspection firm, which conducts periodic inspections and issues inspection reports. Legislation stipulates that lifts must be inspected and certified once every 18 months. In 2017, 260 lifts (98%) were inspected.

In 2017, Vesteda closed a contract with a Dutch specialist firm in the field of lift safety. The company tests the correct operation of the speak-listen connection in our lifts every three days. This means that if someone gets stuck in a lift, it is possible to reassure them and call in assistance to free them. In 2017, 194 lifts (100%) were inspected and tested.

Risk map

Vesteda uses an internal risk map to identify potential risks in our complexes. The subjects covered in this map include construction safety of facades, concrete gallery floors, Manta and/or Kwaaitaal concrete floors and fire safety. The completed risk map provides input for the residential complex policy plan and the related multi-year budget, so we can draw up budgets to deal with risks in the future. In 2017, the risk maps of a total of 54 complexes were updated.

Fire safety

In 2017, Vesteda had a total of 31 complexes surveyed for fire safety by an organisation specialised in building safety and regulations, based on the risks identified in the risk maps. We have incorporated the outcome of these surveys in the maintenance plans and the maintenance budgets for those complexes.

This survey was in addition to the structural maintenance and checks Vesteda carries out annually in the field of fire safety. These include annual visual inspections of fire extinguishing equipment, water pipes and emergency lighting. On top of this, the dry risers are pressure-tested every five years.

Sustainability in the chain

Since 2016, we have asked all our largest suppliers to sign the IVBN sustainability declaration for suppliers. We use the term suppliers for parties that have a contract with our Operations department and that deliver goods and services that have an impact on one or more of our buildings. By signing the IVBN sustainability declaration, our suppliers endorse IVBN’s vision on sustainability and corporate social responsibility and declare that they will act in accordance with same.

In 2017, Vesteda’s decided to make the IVBN sustainability declaration an integral part of the tender process by new (master) service agreements.

A total of 131 suppliers have so far signed the declaration. These suppliers represent more than 84% of the activities that our Operations department outsourced in 2017. For 2018, Vesteda’s Procurement department is planning to initiate discussions with any contract suppliers who have declined to sign the declaration, to ascertain the exact reasons why they do not wish to sign. The procurement department intends to develop a well-founded plan of approach for this purpose in 2018 and to include this in the Monitoring Contract Management report, which is compiled twice a year.

In 2018, we will also take additional steps in the optimisation of the process for the outsourcing of one-off projects in our buildings.

Strategic project: Electric Cars De Boel

In 2016, we developed a business case for the use of electric cars at our new Amsterdam head office De Boel, based on a ride sharing principle for both our employees and De Boel tenants. In 2017, we proceeded with the implementation of the business case. We signed a contract with BMW for the lease of 10 electric cars, and the use of the WeGo app. We started the pilot phase in September 2017 and went live in January 2018.

Mobility

Vesteda’s aim is to reduce its CO2 emissions due to mobility. In 2016, the total CO2 footprint of our organisation was 734 tonnes of CO2, which was a reduction of 9% compared to 2015. Transport accounted for 53% of our CO2 footprint, or a total of 386 tonnes of CO2. This is a reduction of 19% compared to 2015. However the average transport-related CO2 emissions per FTE increased by 5% in 2016. This was due to the departure of employees without a car in our car fleet, thereby increasing the average CO2 emissions per FTE. The figure below shows the transport-related CO2 emissions between 2010 and 2016 per FTE. The results for 2017 were not available at the writing of this report.

Transport-related CO2 emissions between 2012-2016

Strategic project: Measuring & Managing Resource Consumption

Our goal is to manage and reduce our use of resources (energy, water) and to reduce the production of waste and greenhouse gases. In order to measure our use of resources, we initiated a project to install smart meters[1] in the common areas of our buildings to maximise the quality of the data we acquires. In 2017, we increased the percentage of buildings fitted with smart meters to 71%, from 46% in 2016. This includes buildings in which we are not the sole owner. These buildings are operated by a residents association (VvE), which means that the association must approve any measures. We expect to increase the number of smart meters in 2018.

We aim to reduce the energy consumption of the common areas in our investment portfolio by 20% between 2016 and 2020. In 2017, we reduced our electricity consumption by 4.4% and our natural gas consumption by 1.4% on a like-for-like basis. The results are shown in the figure below.

Energy, GHG and Water public areas
 

Absolute

like-for-like

 
 

2017

2016

2017

2016

Δ %

Energy

     

Total energy consumption (x 1,000 kWh)

13,128

13,511

12,361

12,925

(4.4)

Corresponding properties

174

166

   

Percentage covered in portfolio

81%

77%

   

Total natural gas consumption (x 1,000 m3)

2,969

2,851

2,812

2,851

(1.4)

Corresponding properties

30

28

   

Percentage covered in portfolio

91%

85%

   
      

Greenhouse Gas

     

Indirect greenhouse gas emissions (x 1,000 kg CO2)

2,273

2,670

2,000

2,461

(18.7)

Direct greenhouse gas emissions (x 1,000 kg CO2)

5,603

5,380

5,305

5,380

(1.4)

Total greenhouse gas emissions (x 1,000 kg CO2)

7,875

8,050

7,306

7,842

(6.8)

      

Water

     

Total water (x1,000 m3)

78

106

74

75

(1.3)

Corresponding properties

62

70

   

Percentage covered in portfolio

29%

33%

   

The data for natural gas consumption relates to complexes in which the heating of the residential units is provided by a central installation (33 complexes in total). There is no data available for complexes with individual heating for residential units.    

Social - Engaged stakeholders and socially engaged organisation

We believe it is important to engage in sustainable relationships with our tenants, our participants and our other stakeholders. We communicate openly and transparently about our activities in the field of CSSR and consider it a part of our social responsibility to encourage and increase the awareness, engagement and responsibility of both our employees and our other stakeholders in the field of sustainability. In addition, as a fund we want to contribute to society in general and to the neighbourhoods where our complexes are located in particular.

Strategic project: Stakeholder Engagement

In 2017, we deployed various initiatives with and for our stakeholders.

  • We developed a communication plan to increase the engagement with our stakeholders. This will help us to better understand their needs, and provide a platform to inform them of our initiatives. The plan will be implemented in 2018.

  • We organised a residential conference with housing corporation Woonstad. The purpose of the conference was to exchange best practices in various fields, including sustainability.

  • We organised two GoGreen events (DoeGroen dagen), one in Zoetermeer and one in Amsterdam De Aker. The purpose of the events was to strengthen the bond with our tenants, and to inspire both our tenants and our employees to go green. During these events, we distributed and planted garden plants, and worked jointly with our tenants to improve the public spaces via various gardening initiatives.

  • We sponsored the Motown Movement, an initiative of students from the Technical University Delft. The goal of the Motown Movement is to make sustainable housing accessible for everyone.

  • We contributed to the Voedselbank food bank and hosted a dinner with refugees, under the umbrella of the Havendiner Foundation.

Strategic project: Health & Well Being

Our aim is to have a positive impact on the health and well-being of our tenants and employees. In order to do this, we deployed various initiatives:

  • We participated in the Health & Well Being module of GRESB 2017, with the purpose of obtaining a baseline measurement for our health and well-being activities.

  • We developed the first draft of our Health & Well-Being policy, in which we outline our goals and methods to increase the health of both our tenants and employees.

  • We signed up to a partnership with the Blue Building Institute, in which we pledged to help implement the WELL Building Standard™ in the Netherlands via a pilot project.[2]

  • We assessed the possibility of obtaining a WELL certificate for projects in our pipeline. We will proceed with the selection of one complex for WELL certification in 2018.

  • Our CEO, Gertjan van der Baan, gave a presentation on WELL at the ‘Dag van de Publieke Financiering’ (day of public financing) symposium, with the purpose of sharing our knowledge of, and experience with, health & well-being and the WELL Building Standard™ in the market.

Governance - Responsible business and transparent organisation

Our aim is to be seen as a sustainable investment by our participants. We are open and transparent about our progress on the sustainability front, and we strive to meet the highest possible standards in reporting on CSSR-related activities.

Strategic project: Sustainable Acquisitions

After defining the ‘Ten Rules of the Game’ in 2016, we continued with the implementation of these rules in 2017. The ‘Ten Rules of the Game’ serve as a guideline for our employees in the execution of their tasks. We formed a project group and organised two additional workshops. This led to various initiatives, such as the acquisition of the pipeline projects Punt Sniep in Diemen and Diepstroeten in Assen. In 2018, we will define the sustainability goals for our Ten Rules of the Game in more detail, and implement them in our processes.

GRI

In both 2015 and 2016, Vesteda used the GRI-G4 standards to report on its CSSR policy in its annual report. For 2017, Vesteda is once again reporting on the basis of GRI Standards. For more information, please see the section About this report.

GRESB

Since 2010, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) has provided a tool to compare the sustainability of property investment funds. GRESB is designed to identify the sustainability performance of the real estate sector and is now a widely-recognised and well-respected initiative. The environmental benchmark rates environmental management practices and their implementation, making it possible to compare the ratings of different real estate investments with both their national peer group and the GRESB global average. Vesteda has been a part of the benchmark since its inception. Vesteda believes that GRESB is helping to increase transparency in terms of the sustainability of real estate funds. To contribute to the continued evolution of the benchmark, Vesteda joined GRESB as a member in 2013.

In 2017, Vesteda was awarded four out of five stars and a Green Star rating for its sustainability performance. Vesteda remains committed to being a top player in the field of sustainability at a national level.

In 2017:

  • Our ranking went from 5th out of 10 to 6th out of 13.

  • Our overall score increased to 76 points from 67 out of 100 (peer average: 70 points, global average 63 points)

  • Our Environmental score increased to 62 points from 51 out of 100 (peer average 58, global average 55 points)

  • Our Social score increased to 90 points from 78 out of 100 (peer average 83, global average 67 points)

  • Our Governance score increased to 99 points from 95 out of 100 (peer average 85, global average 78 points)

ESG breakdown GRESB 2017

Our GRESB score 2017 per aspect is visible in the graph below.

GRESB score 2017
  • 1 A smart meter makes it possible to automatically measure the consumption of small meter consumer connections, maximising the quality of the acquired data.
  • 2 The WELL Building Standard™ is an evidence-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring the performance of building features that impact health and well-being. WELL is administered by the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI), a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and well-being through the built environment.”(source: www.wellcertified.com).