Our Understanding of Sustainability
Our size and the object of our business – the renting of affordable homes – mean that, as a company, we have a special responsibility towards various stakeholder groups. After all, a home is a basic human need. Good living standards, an environment in which we feel comfortable, and intact neighborhoods are of crucial importance when it comes to determining whether we feel at home in an apartment in the long run.
But the housing industry is being shaped by far-reaching changes resulting from social, demographic and political developments. Our business model is our way of responding to these developments. As a result, our understanding of sustainability is based on environmental developments and the challenges facing the housing industry.
We focus on those areas that have an impact on, or are influenced by, Vonovia’s business model. These include, in particular, social and demographic change, the overall regulatory framework and topics relating to the environment and climate change (see Environmental Development).
The stable economic development of our business is essential if we want to be able to make a meaningful and effective contribution. After all, only a company that is financially successful can live up to its social responsibility in the long term and help to ensure that social and ecological needs are met.
By its very nature, our business model deals with very long-term planning horizons: Properties are used for well over 50 years, while maintenance and modernization investments must pay off over the course of 15 to 30 years. This means that we always carefully weigh our decisions, analyzing in detail potential long-term developments, too (see Fundamentals, Climate and Environmental Protection in Our Properties).
The key criterion for our business decisions is the long-term satisfaction of our one million or so customers. We want to offer them a home in which they feel comfortable in the long term. This means that the home is and remains affordable, that the apartments are in a good condition and that the residential environment is livable. We also want to enable our older tenants to stay in their apartments for as long as possible.
Our size and the regional bundling of our apartments allow us to manage our portfolio so efficiently that the costs – and, as a result, rents – remain affordable. This also means that we make extensive investments in maintaining and developing our portfolio, e. g. by taking maintenance and modernization measures, measures to develop and convert apartments to make them suitable for the elderly or by building new properties. This allows us to respond to social needs at the same time.
Our investments include, in particular, measures to make our apartments more energy efficient, which have a positive impact in two respects: Well-insulated apartments increase efficiency, while simultaneously reducing ancillary expenses for our customers. By making energy-efficient apartments available, we can also make a significant contribution to climate protection in Germany.
But for Vonovia, a nice environment also contributes to a good residential atmosphere. Therefore, together with other actors, we become involved beyond our buildings portfolio and set trends with cities, companies and city planners, as well as with associations, initiatives and, last but not least, with our local customers for the development of entire neighborhoods.
We also live up to our responsibility as one of Germany’s leading housing companies by engaging in ongoing dialogue with policymakers in various ways. Within this context, we are committed, first and foremost, to ensuring that the overall political framework is in line with both the demands that our company has to meet and the needs of our customers.