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 program manager is responsible for the strategic planning and operations of our CSSR policies.

To shape our CSSR strategy, we use the three pillars of the ESG model: Environmental, Social and Governance. We have defined five strategic projects in the context of these pillars: Decrease resource consumption of tenants and common areas, Portfolio Sustainability Improvement, Engage Stakeholders, Implement Health & Well-being and Achieve a GRESB five-star rating.

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, with the ultimate aim of surpassing the agreements laid down in the Dutch government’s Energy Agreement for 2020. In the meantime, we have raised our ambitions for the future and we aim to have a green energy label (A, B or C) for 99% of our portfolio by 2024. Technical state of innercity buildings as well as local government regulations make it nearly impossible to reach 100% green energy labels by 2024.

In 2019, we invested €9.2 million and improved the energy performance of 2,740 residential units. Since 2016, we have invested a total of €20.3 million on energy performance measures.

  • The percentage of homes in our portfolio with a green energy label (A, B, or C) increased to 87.8% in 2019, from 84.3% in the prior year.

  • The percentage of homes with a D label declined to 6.7%, from 9.6% the previous year.

  • The percentage of homes with an E or worse energy label declined to 5.5%, from 6.1% the previous year.

Portfolio Strategy is responsible for the progress in and monitoring of our energy labels. The labels are updated according to energy-related measures and based on expiry dates (10 years). An overview is reported each quarter and reported to Operations. These reports are used to monitor if the progress we made during the quarter is in line with our targets for the year. Vesteda plans to use this investment to improve the energy labels of the homes in the portfolio that do not meet the Energy Agreement norms yet. This ambitious package of measures includes building insulation, the replacement of installations with energy-efficient variants and the generation of sustainable energy through the placement of solar panels. We will make these changes on a building by building basis and in phases through 2020.

Energy labels development 2011-2019 (%)

Overview of energy performance measures in 2019

In 2019, Vesteda introduced the following measures to improve the energy performance of the homes in our portfolio:

Measure (number of properties)

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

High efficiency boilers

509

822

1,010

1,564

1,026

DC ventilators

19

1,670

481

731

364

High efficiency glazing

662

442

891

439

555

Roof insulation

141

24

-

273

-

Cavity-wall insulation

-

318

64

87

-

Under-floor insulation

-

92

23

21

1

LED lighting (complexes)

9

13

5

2

-

Solar panels (complexes)

19

2

2

3

-

In 2019, Vesteda installed 3,312 solar panels in a total of 19 complexes. At year-end 2019, the total number of solar panels in the Vesteda portfolio amounted to 8,505, generating approximately 2,3 million kWh annually. 

Healthy and safe homes

Our aim is to provide our tenants with safe and healthy homes. Our tenants spend a fair amount of time in their home and we would like them to feel at home. A healthy and safe home is equally 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, and that risk maps have been drawn up for every residential building. Although these measures are of a more technical nature, their impact can have a positive influence on the lives and well-being of our tenants. In addition, we educate our tenants, on for example how they can prevent legionella or how they can prevent burglaries. To ensure the health and safety of our homes as effectively as possible we have taken a number of precautionary measures which 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. 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

(% of total complexes)

Status at year-end 2019

Status at year-end 2018

No inspection necessary based on construction year

40%

39%

Inspected

52%

52%

To be inspected

8%

10%

Central heating installations

Timely maintenance is of high importance to use, also from a preventive point of view, to insure 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 the open combustion devices we strive for an inspection every 18 months.

In 2019 we discontinued our collaboration with one of our inspection partners due to insufficient quality. Therefore, 63% of the central heating systems where inspected during the year. We contracted two new partners and the remaining heating systems will be inspected in 2020.

Combined heat and power installations

For the combined heat and power installations the same implies as above. Here, we also set our own goal to inspect the installations every two years and place new filters, if necessary. In 2019, due to the same reason as mentioned above only 47% of the installations were inspected. The remaining installations will be inspected in 2020.

Lifts

Legislation stipulates that lifts must be inspected and certified once every 18 months. Vesteda has a contract with a certified lift inspection firm, which conducts periodic inspections and issues inspection reports. In 2019, this firm inspected 286 lifts of which 278 (97%) were approved.

Vesteda engaged a Dutch specialist firm in the field of lift safety. This 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 2019, 224 lifts with speak-listen connection (100%) were inspected and tested.

Risk map

Vesteda uses an internal risk map to identify potential risks in our complexes. Each complex is assessed on the basis of this risk map at least once every three years. The subjects covered in this map include construction safety of facades, presence of asbestos, concrete gallery floors, Manta and/or Kwaaitaal concrete floors, presence of lead watersupply pipes, as well as fire safety. The completed risk map provides input for the residential complex policy plan and the related multi-year budget. With this information we can draw up budgets to handle risks in the future.

Fire safety

In 2018 and 2019, Vesteda had a total of 95 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 additional to Vesteda’s annual fire safety maintenance and checks. This include 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 2019, we carried out 83% of the planned fire safety maintenance and checks. We plan on getting this number to 100% through more active monitoring.

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 2019, Vesteda’s decided to make the IVBN sustainability declaration an integral part of the tender process for new (master) service agreements. This led to a significant increase in the number of signed declarations. A total of 212 suppliers have so far signed the declaration. These suppliers represent more than 94.7% of the activities that our Operations department outsourced in 2019. Vesteda’s goal was to achieve a minimum of 87%.

Now that we have embedded the sustainability declaration in our processes, the next step will be to improve our influence and impact. A first start is the rollout of a sustainability scan with questions on policies, targets and results. This results in a sustainability score per supplier. In case of underperformance, we will start a constructive dialogue to look for points of improvement. The sustainability scan will also be integrated in the monitoring and evaluation of our supplier partnerships. Our target for the future is to assess the sustainability performance of our key suppliers. In the longer term we want to encourage our suppliers to engage their suppliers on responsible production as well.

C02 footprint

Vesteda aims to reduce it’s CO2 emissions of the organisation. In 2019, the total CO2 footprint of our organisation was 630 tonnes of CO2 and 3,225 Kg per FTE, an increase of 11% compared to 2018. This was mainly due to the recruitment of temporary staff for the implementation of the new ERP-system.

CO2 emission per FTE

The CO2 caused by mobility still accounts for the majority of our total CO2 footprint. In 2019 the total CO2 caused by mobility increased with 8%. The increase is mainly due to business trips by plane and the car fleet. In 2020 a plan will be introduced to reduce emissions by making our car fleet more sustainable. The figure below shows the transport-related CO2 emissions between 2012 and 2019 per FTE.

Transport-related CO2 emission per FTE (2012-2019)

Measuring & Managing Resource Consumption

Energy, GHG and water public areas

Our goal is to manage and reduce our use of resources (energy, water) and to reduce the production of greenhouse gases. In order to measure our use of resources, we initiated a project to install smart meters in the common areas of our buildings so that we can acquire data of the highest possible quality. In 2019, we increased the number of smart meters to 81%, from 78% in 2018. We have access to the data of these meters. This percentage includes buildings in which Vesteda is not the sole owner. These buildings are operated by residents associations (VVEs), which means that the association must approve the placement of these meters. We expect to increase the number of meters in 2020 once we have insourced the property management of the former Delta Lloyd portfolio. When meters are not measured automatically, Vesteda aims to convert them into a smart version, if possible.

We aim to structurally reduce the energy consumption in the common areas in our investment portfolio. We started this project in 2016. In 2019 our electricity use decreased by 5.2% compared to 2018. When compared to 2016 on a like-for-like basis we have managed to decrease our electricity use by 20.3%. Our natural gas consumption decreased by 7.1% compared to 2018 on a like-for-like basis. The natural gas consumption is mostly related to tenant consumption since our common areas are not heated. The results of 2019 versus 2018 are shown in the figure below. Changes in historic data occur based on new and better data availability and a changing portfolio.

 

Absolute

Like-for-like

 
 

2019

2018

2019

2018

Δ %

Energy

     

Total energy consumption (x 1,000 kWh)

6,602

9,254

5,466

5,764

-5.2%

Corresponding properties

155

163

   

Percentage covered in portfolio

56%

59%

   

Total heating consumption (x 1,000 GJ)

6

8

6

7

-7.1%

Corresponding properties

2

3

   

Percentage covered in portfolio

67%

100%

   

Total natural gas consumption (x 1,000 m3)

900

1,255

826

858

-3.8%

Corresponding properties

18

17

   

Percentage covered in portfolio

62%

59%

   
      

Greenhouse Gas

     

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

512

1,656

883

1,109

-20.4%

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

227

296

227

244

-7.1%

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

1,700

2,372

1,560

1,621

-3.8%

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

2,440

4,325

2,670

2,975

-10.3%

      

Water

     

Total water (x1,000 m3)

25

39

11

11

-1.0%

Corresponding properties

78

59

   

Percentage covered in portfolio

28%

22%

   

Note: Data that has significant deviations (materiality of 20%) and that cannot be validly explained is excluded from the consumption figures.

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 2019, we launched various initiatives with and for our stakeholders:

  • We launched an app called “smart living” to help our tenants create communities, increase awareness and to encourage the sustainable use of their homes.

  • We organised several GoGreen events (DoeGroen dagen) in 2019. 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 contributed to the Voedselbank food bank and hosted a dinner for refugees, under the umbrella of the Havendiner Foundation.

  • We hosted a knowledge session with ‘Woonstad Rotterdam’, in which our peers learned from each other’s experiences, including experiences on the sustainability front.

  • We participated in a governmental programme called ‘Proeftuin’, via one of our complexes that is located in an area that is set to be one of the first areas in the Netherlands to be disconnected from the natural gas grid.

  • We started an initiative together with IKEA, giving our tenants the opportunity to pick up six LED lamps free of charge using a personalised voucher.

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 launched a number of initiatives:

  • We implemented our vitality programme to stimulate the health and vitality of our employees.

  • Our project ‘Aan de Rijn’ in Arnhem was awarded WELL certification, making it the first Well-certified residential building in Europe.

  • Together with Arcadis, we conducted a scan of the flora and fauna in our portfolio. Together with our partner, the Dutch Society of the protection of Birds (Vogelbescherming), we want to stimulate the flora and fauna in our real estate portfolio.

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 among 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 will incorporate these SDGs in our future policies and targets to realise the greatest positive impact on these goals.

We consider these SDGs to be 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 2019, 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. 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 2019, Vesteda was awarded five out of five stars and became part of the global top 20% for its sustainability performance. Vesteda was ranked 3rd out of 16 in 2019, compared to 2nd out of 13 in 2018. Vesteda is committed to remaining a top player in the field of sustainability at a national level.

ESG breakdown GRESB 2019
 

Vesteda

Peer group

GRESB average

Environment

79

68

65

Social

100

87

79

Governance

98

87

84

Overall

87

76

72

GRESB score 2019