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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. Our sustainability programme manager is responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of our CSSR policies.

Vesteda is required to provide disclosures under Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 (the Regulation on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial services sector, or SFDR). Vesteda Residential Fund qualifies as an ‘article 8’ product under the SFDR and, as such, promotes Environmental/Social (E/S) characteristics and whilst it did not have sustainable investment as its objective, it had a proportion of 41% sustainable investments (at half-year 2021) with an environmental objective in economic activities that qualify as environmentally sustainable under the EU Taxonomy, of which 6% partially aligned.

Vesteda’s sustainable investments contributed to the environmental objective ‘mitigation of climate change’. In light of Vesteda’s Green Finance Framework (GFF), which is set up to attract green financing, third party expert Sustainalytics has assessed the alignment of Vesteda’s portfolio with each of the EU Taxonomy’s three sets of requirements. The results of this assessment are as follows:

  • Technical Screening Criteria (TSC): out of the three eligible green criteria outlined in the GFF, which are associated with three activities within the EU Taxonomy, one activity was aligned with the TSC and two were found to be partially aligned.

  • Do No Significant Harm (DNSH) Criteria: the three activities assessed have a total of ten individual DNSH criteria (across all environmental objectives) applicable to them and are aligned with eight and partially aligned with two; no individual DNSH criteria were found to be not aligned.

  • Minimum Safeguards: based on a consideration of the policies and management systems applicable to Framework criteria, as well as the regulatory context, Sustainalytics is of the opinion that the EU Taxonomy’s Minimum Safeguards requirements will be met.

The ‘Do No Significant Harm (DNSH)’ principle applies only to those investments underlying the financial product that take into account the EU criteria for environmentally sustainable economic activities. The investments underlying the remaining portion of this financial product do not take into account the EU criteria for environmentally sustainable economic activities.

In recent years, Vesteda has published the progression on its sustainability policies and results on its website and in its annual report. The reporting on sustainability in the annual report was in line with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. In 2021, we are official supporter of the TCFD and we refer to Annex 5 for an overview with references of the alignment with the TCFD recommendations.

To shape our CSSR strategy, we use the three pillars of the ESG model: Environmental, Social and Governance.

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 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 improve the energy performance of Vesteda’s buildings. Our ambition for the future is to have green energy labels (A, B or C) for 99% of our portfolio by 2024. The technical state of city centre buildings and historical buildings, as well as local government regulations, make it nearly impossible to achieve 100% green labels by 2024.

In 2021, we invested €35 million and improved the energy performance of at least 465 residential units. Since 2016, we have invested a total of €63 million in energy performance measures.

The percentage of homes in our portfolio with a green energy label (A, B, or C) increased to 93% in 2021, from 91% in the previous year. The labels are updated according to energy-related measures and based on expiry dates (ten years). Vesteda continues to invest in the improvement of the homes in our portfolio that do not yet meet our energy performance target. The ambitious package of improvements includes building insulation, the replacement of installations with energy-efficient variants and the generation of sustainable energy through the placement of solar panels. We aim to realise the improvements on a building-by-building basis and in phases to reach our goal of 99% green energy labels in 2024.

Energy labels development 2017-2021 (%)

Overview of energy performance measures

In 2021, Vesteda introduced the following measures to improve the energy performance of the homes in our portfolio:

Measure (number of properties, unless otherwise stated)

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

High efficiency boilers

366

781

509

822

1,010

DC ventilators

699

609

19

1,670

481

High efficiency glazing

539

507

662

442

891

Roof insulation

138

201

141

24

-

Cavity-wall insulation

110

324

-

318

64

Under-floor insulation

74

289

-

92

23

LED lighting (complexes)

7

11

9

13

5

Solar panels (complexes)

7

10

19

2

2

In 2021, Vesteda installed a total of 5,644 solar panels of which 3,747 panels were on existing single family homes. This was done in a pilot with Zonneplan in which we offered 502 homes free solar panels. The pilot was a succes which we will continue in 2022. At year-end 2021, Vesteda had installed a total of 17,319 solar panels in its portfolio, generating approximately 3.7 million kWh annually.

Healthy and safe homes

Our aim is to provide our tenants with safe and healthy homes. A safe and healthy home is just as important as a pleasant home and living environment. This implies that our homes are free of high-risk asbestos, that central heating boilers are checked regularly, lifts are checked regularly, that combined heat and power installations are provided with new filters if necessary. In addition to this, Vesteda has drawn up risk maps for every residential building. Although these measures are of a more technical nature, their impact can have a positive impact on the lives and well-being of our tenants. To ensure the health and safety of our homes as effectively as possible, we have taken a number of precautionary measures that are monitored or executed by our Operations department. These measures are described below.

Asbestos

Up until 1994, the use of materials containing asbestos was common in the construction industry. Currently, there is no legal obligation for asbestos-related inspections, beyond roofs and in the event of any plans for demolition or renovation work. However, Vesteda has conducted asbestos inspections at almost all complexes in its portfolio that could have asbestos present based on its construction year. If any asbestos or any signs of asbestos were found during these inspections, Vesteda took appropriate action, including clean-ups and providing information for tenants and third parties.

Central heating installations

We see timely maintenance as highly important, also from a preventive point of view, to ensure that all our individual central heating installations work properly and are safe. We aim to inspect all central heating installations once every two years. For open combustion devices, we aim for an inspection every eighteen months. Over the course of two years, 71% of the central heating systems where inspected.

Combined heat and power installations

The same applies to combined heat and power installations. Here, too, we set our own goal to inspect the installations every two years and place new filters if this is necessary. In 2021, 68% of the installations were inspected. The remaining installations will be inspected in 2022.

Lifts

Legislation stipulates that lifts must be inspected and certified once every eighteen months. Vesteda has a contract with a certified lift inspection firm, which conducts periodic inspections and issues inspection reports. Since 2016, 384 lifts of a total of 396 lifts have been approved. A total of twelve lifts were scheduled for re-inspection after the first inspection.

Vesteda engaged a Dutch specialist firm in the field of lift safety. This company tests the operation of the emergency audio connection in our lifts every three days. In 2021, 277 lifts with emergency audio connection units were inspected and tested.

Fire safety

In 2021, Vesteda had a total of 90 complexes surveyed for fire safety by an organisation specialised in building safety and regulations. In additional, four of Vesteda's own regional offices were surveyed, but these complexes were excluded from the outcome of the survey. We incorporated the outcomes in the maintenance plans and the maintenance budgets for those complexes. This survey was additional to Vesteda’s annual fire safety maintenance and checks. This includes annual visual inspections of fire extinguishing equipment, water pipes and emergency lighting. On top of this, we pressure test the dry risers every five years. In 2021, we carried out 100% of the planned fire safety maintenance and checks, compared with 96% in 2020. Furthermore, following upcoming new regulation, we started installing smoke detectors in all our complexes.

Sustainability in the chain

Since 2016, we ask our largest suppliers to sign the IVBN sustainability declaration for suppliers. By signing the declaration, our suppliers endorse IVBN’s vision on sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Although signing is voluntary, it does give Vesteda the opportunity to start a constructive dialogue and it enables us to promote our core values and influence our suppliers. The next step will be to improve our impact, by rolling-out of a sustainability scan with questions on policies, targets and results. In collaboration with IVBN and its members, we conduct an annual survey which addresses a number of issues, covering the topics environmental, social, and governance (ESG). The response to these questions gives us a good understanding of sustainability in the chain.

Physical climate risks

Due to the changing climate, we and our tenants are faced with physical climate risks such as heat stress and flooding. In 2021, together with Climate Adaptation Services and Sweco, we created an innovative in-house tool to provide us with effective insight into the physical climate risks of our portfolio. The tool is unique because we combined the environmental risks with building-specific characteristics. It will be used as main KPI to monitor Vesteda’s physical climate risks.

Integrating building-specific information in the risk score gives specific and valuable information that provides us with potential measures to mitigate the physical climate risk. We combined the outcome of the environmental risk and building-specific characteristics for two types of risk (heat stress and flooding due to extreme rainfall) and we are focusing on taking mitigating measures for these two risks. On the heat stress front, in our portfolio we only have 26 units with a very high risk, while approximately 3,300 units have a high risk. The risks of flooding are even lower. We are focusing specifically on mitigating the high-risk and very high-risk units. 

Climate risks heat stress
Climate risk flooding

CO2 footprint

Vesteda aims to reduce the CO2 emissions of the organisation. In 2021, the total CO2 footprint of our organisation was 462 tonnes of CO2, or 2,126 kg per FTE. This includes nine of our ten regional offices from which data is available. The carbon footprint of 2021 is a reduction of 24% per FTE compared to last year. Scope 1 with 69% accounts for the majority of the total emissions, compared to 5% scope 2 and 26% scope 3. Due to the lower travel movements, however proportianally more by car than before, the COVID-19 pandemic remains to have impact on the CO2 footprint.

CO2 emission per FTE

The CO2 generated by mobility still accounts for the majority of our total COfootprint. In 2021, we continued to reduce the emissions from mobility by making our car fleet more sustainable. In 2019 we started choosing more sustainable cars, such as fully electric vehicles, which resulted in 34% fully electric vehicles in the car fleet at the end of 2021. The CO2 of our car fleet reduced by 58% and the total CO2 emissions of our mobility was 46% lower compared to 2020. This is mostly due to a more sustainable car fleet and the procurement of renewable energy for the fully electric vehicles. Employees are stimulated to choose a fully electric vehicle and are facilitated to make fully electric driving more practical applicable, i.e. installing charging stations at the home of employees. More charging facilities will be installed at Vesteda offices in 2022. We will continue to create a more sustainable car fleet to maintain this reduction. The figure below shows the transport-related CO2 emissions between 2012 and 2021 per FTE.

Transport-related CO2 emissions per FTE

Circularity

Vesteda, together with a third party, made a calculation of the consumption data in 2020 and gained more insight into our current performance. Vesteda and this third party then drew up an action plan to improve circularity. For Vesteda, the greatest gains can be made from waste and purchasing.

We will actively monitor the waste figures in 2022 and make adjustments if necessary to achieve circular results. Vesteda cleans its offices with sustainable cleaning products (European Ecolabel) and, furthermore, employees are offered refurbished furniture for their home workplace. We will continue to do this in 2022 and we will explore new developments together with our suppliers with the aim of only purchasing office-related items that are FSC certified.

Vesteda is a participant in the Zuidas Green Business Club, an impact organisation with more than fifty participants that focuses on concrete results by initiating sustainable projects. By signing the Zero Waste Zuidas, Vesteda is committing itself to a Zuidas without residual waste by 2030. Vesteda also intends to exchange knowledge with other participants and to work together on topics such as energy and mobility, including shared transportation initiatives and the ‘Zuidas turns the lights off’ project to switch off unnecessary lights.

Measuring and managing resource consumption

Our goal is to manage and reduce our use of resources (energy, water) and to reduce the production of greenhouse gases. We aim to structurally reduce the energy consumption in our investment portfolio. We started this project in 2016, when the focus was initially on common areas. Due to collaboration with grid operators it is now possible to also measure the energy consumption of our tenants.

Common areas

In 2021, our electricity use for common areas decreased with 2.2% and gas consumption with 6.1%. We increased the portfolio’s green electricity to 93% of the portfolio. The remaining non-sustainable energy have existing energy contracts that cannot be changed to sustainable energy yet or are operated by residents associations where we have no influence on the type of energy purchased. Since not all utility providers have finalised their annual statements yet, the coverage in 2021 is lower than 2020.

In like-for-like, the consumption is compared for areas for which the consumption is available for twelve months in 2020 and 2021. The square metres of the common areas are calculated based on a representative sample in which we measured that the actual common area square metres on average represent approximately 14% of a complex. 

 

Absolute

Like-for-like

Common areas

2021

2020

2021

2020

Key figures

    

Portfolio’s green electricity (%)

93%

73%

92%

92%

Portfolio’s green gas (%)

89%

88%

81%

88%

     

Energy consumption

    

Consumption from electricity (kWh)

8,049,841

9,977,413

7,092,173

7,251,325

Consumption from gas (m3)

5,122

3,169

2,975

3,169

     

Greenhouse gas emissions

    

Total indirect emissions (metric tonnes CO2, electricity) - Gross

293

1,390

293

297

Total direct emissions (metric tonnes CO2, gas) - Gross

11

6

6

6

Total indirect emissions (metric tonnes CO2, electricity) - Net

293

1,390

293

297

Total direct emissions (metric tonnes CO2, gas) - Net

1

1

1

1

     

Water

    

Total water usage (m3)

43,250

53,614

29,127

38,075

     

Coverage sqm

    

Coverage % electricity - based on sqm

81%

88%

71%

Coverage % gas - based on sqm

100%

69%

69%

Coverage % water - based on sqm

55%

62%

50%

Tenants

In 2021, the tenant consumption increased with 3.8% for electricity, 0.5% for gas and 3.7% for district heating. In like-for-like the consumption is compared for areas for which the consumption is available for twelve months in 2020 and 2021. Data available for ten months or more is extrapolated and included for twelve months in the overview. The increase in consumption is most likely caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as tenants spent more time in their homes due to lockdowns. 

 

Absolute

Like-for-like

Tenants

2021

2020

2021

2020

Energy consumption

    

Consumption from electricity (kWh)

68,489,184

64,777,007

66,856,065

64,384,229

Consumption from gas (m3)

21,628,546

21,405,920

21,379,833

21,281,997

Consumption from district heating (GJ)

27,491

77,869

27,491

26,514

     

Greenhouse gas emissions

    

Total indirect emissions (metric tonnes CO2, electricity) - Gross

19,348

18,300

18,887

18,189

Total direct emissions (metric tonnes CO2, gas) - Gross

45,096

40,329

44,577

40,095

Total indirect emissions (metric tonnes CO2, electricity) - Net

19,348

18,300

18,887

18,189

Total direct emissions (metric tonnes CO2, gas) - Net

45,096

40,329

44,577

40,095

     

Water

    

Total water usage (m3)

20,157

1,483,186

16,611

16,063

     

Coverage sqm

    

Coverage % electricity - based on sqm LFA

99%

98%

97%

Coverage % gas - based on sqm LFA

97%

96%

95%

Coverage % water - based on sqm LFA

1%

76%

1%

Coverage % district heating - based on sqm LFA

23%

57%

23%

Note: the methodology for calculating the emissions for tenant consumption from electricity has changed in 2021. The 2020 electricity emissions are adjusted accordingly.

Total

The total energy consumption of our total portfolio including intensity measures was as followed.

 

Absolute

Like-for-like

Total

2021

2020

2021

2020

Energy consumption

    

Consumption from electricity (kWh)

76,539,025

74,754,420

73,948,238

71,635,554

Consumption from gas (m3)

21,633,668

21,409,089

21,382,809

21,285,166

Consumption from district heating (GJ)

27,491

77,869

27,491

26,514

     

Greenhouse gas emissions

    

Total indirect emissions (metric tonnes CO2, electricity) - Gross

19,641

19,690

19,180

18,485

Total direct emissions (metric tonnes CO2, gas) - Gross

45,106

40,335

44,583

40,101

Total indirect emissions (metric tonnes CO2, electricity) - Net

19,641

19,690

19,180

18,485

Total direct emissions (metric tonnes CO2, gas) - Net

45,097

40,329

44,578

40,096

     

Water

    

Total water usage (m3)

63,407

1,536,800

45,738

54,138

     

Solar energy

    

Generation solar energy (kWh)

3,721,359

2,701,294

  

Besides reduction in energy consumption the generation of solar energy increased. In 2022, Vesteda will try to further increase the annual generation of solar panels by installing more solar panels on single-family homes.

Intensity performance indicators

 

Absolute

Like-for-like

 

2021

2020

2021

2020

Intensity from buildings per sqm - common areas

    

Electricity intensity (kWh/year/sqm)

49.37

55.79

49.18

50.28

Gas intensity (m3/year/sqm)

0.46

0.42

0.39

0.42

Green House Gas emissions intensity (kg CO2/year/sqm) - Gross

2.77

8.56

2.85

2.85

Green House Gas emissions intensity (kg CO2/year/sqm) - Net

1.90

7.87

2.19

2.15

Water intensity (m3/year)

0.55

0.61

0.41

0.54

     

Intensity from buildings per sqm - tenants

    

Electricity intensity (kWh/year/sqm)

24.67

23.71

24.57

23.66

Gas intensity (m3/year/sqm)

10.52

10.49

10.55

10.50

Green House Gas emissions intensity (kg CO2/year/sqm) - Gross

28.90

26.46

28.94

26.47

Green House Gas emissions intensity (kg CO2/year/sqm) - Net

28.90

26.46

28.94

26.47

Water intensity (m3/year)

0.56

0.81

0.48

0.46

     

Intensity from buildings - per tenant

    

Electricity intensity (kWh/year)

1,174.72

1,128.87

1,170.09

1,126.83

Gas intensity (m3/year)

500.91

499.42

502.43

500.13

Water intensity (m3/year)

26.90

38.44

22.66

21.91

Paris Agreement

As part of our focus on climate change mitigation, we created our new CO2 roadmap, in which we commit to the Paris Agreement by reducing our carbon footprint. In the CO2 roadmap, we focus on two main KPIs, which are kWh/square metres and CO2/square metres of our portfolio.

Our goal for 2030 is to reduce our CO2 emissions by 50% compared with 1990 and by 95% in 2050. Using the 'Trias Energetica principle', at first we will focus on reducing the energy demand of our homes by investing in our assets. Our first focus is a reduction of energy consumption of 50% in 2030. Simultaneously, to realise a 95% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, we will also focus on switching to sustainable 'green' energy sources to ensure that the energy consumption that remains is mostly CO2 emission free.

As a result of our continued focus on sustainability, we are well on our way to reducing our energy consumption by 50% in 2030. Our current reduction is over 40% in energy consumption and over 50% in CO2 emissions compared to the consumption in 1990. 

Paris Proof in 2050 - CO2 Roadmap

Social - Engaged stakeholders and a 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 properties are located in particular.

Strategic project: stakeholder engagement

In 2021, we launched various initiatives with and for our stakeholders:

  • We are JINC partner and help young adults to prepare for and start their working life by giving job application training.

  • We upgraded several entrances to our complexes, improving the overall quality and stimulating communities within complexes.

  • We started a pilot in three complex renovation projects, involving our tenants in the creation of more sustainable homes and reducing carbon emissions. The pilot will continue in 2022 and after reviewing the outcome of the pilot we want to implement social involvement in all future renovations.

  • Due to COVID-19 it was not possible to organise community activities.

Strategic project: health & well-being

Our aim is to have a positive impact on the health and well-being of our tenants and employees. As part of our efforts on this front, last year we continued a number of initiatives:

  • In 2020, we introduced a personal vitality budget for employees. In 2021, employees could spend this budget on a wide variety of professional services related to health and well-being. We consider this especially important, considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Employees can use this budget to improve or maintain their healthy lifestyle and for personal development.

  • Together with our partner, the Dutch Society of the protection of Birds (Vogelbescherming), we are looking at how we can improve the biodiversity around new acquisitions and renovations by installing bird and insect houses to increase the biodiversity in and around our complexes. We also put together a special welcome package for the tenants of one of our newly built complexes, providing information on how to make their new garden bird and insect friendly.

  • We believe that keeping the homes of our tenants affordable, so they do not have to worry about the costs, helps to improve the health and well-being of our tenants. To help them take responsibility for their financial situation, we will make use of the Nibud (National Institute for Budget Information) calculation tool when registering new tenants. The Nibud’s underlying data represents a range of households, which makes the tool a reliable source of information. We consider this a first step towards a deeper collaboration with the Nibud, to help make the cost of living more transparent and calculable for our tenants.

Governance - Responsible business and transparent organisation

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

Our impact on the Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), defining global sustainable development priorities and aspirations for 2030. This common set of 17 goals and 169 sub-targets calls for worldwide action from governments, business and civil society to end poverty, ensure prosperity for all, and protect the planet. Vesteda has decided to embrace the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

We conducted an analysis to determine which of the SDGs are the most relevant to our activities, based on what we do and our ambitions. We consider the SDGs Affordable and clean energy (7), Sustainable cities (11) and Responsible consumption and production (12) the most relevant to our activities.

SDGs along our value chain

We have mapped our SDG actions along our value chain.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Since 2015, Vesteda has used the GRI-G4 standards to report on its CSSR policy in its annual report. In 2021, Vesteda once again reported on the basis of GRI Standards. For more information, please see the About this report section of this report.

GRESB

Since 2010, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) has provided a tool to compare the sustainability of property investment funds. The GRESB survey 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 2021, Vesteda was awarded five out of five stars and remained part of the global top 20% for its sustainability performance for the fourth time in a row. Vesteda was ranked fourth out of ten in the Netherlands, and also fourth out of 106 in Europe. Vesteda is committed to remaining a top player in the field of sustainability at a national and international level.

ESG breakdown GRESB 2021
 

Vesteda

Peer group

GRESB average

Max score

Environment

53

52

40

62

Social

18

18

16

18

Governance

19

19

17

20

Total

90

90

73

100

GRESB score 2021