Key Sustainability Aspects at Vonovia
Definition of the Key Topics
Vonovia deals in a continuous and structured manner with foreseeable developments in German real estate markets and within society and analyzes how they will affect Vonovia’s business and its value creation. We also address topics that we can use our business model to influence. We involve our stakeholders in identifying issues that we consider important sustainability topics.
As a result, Vonovia has identified the key topics that it wants to focus on in its sustainability reporting. The focus was on ensuring that the topics selected have a direct link to Vonovia’s business success and financial development, as well as an impact on our company’s value creation. At the beginning of 2017, we conducted a stakeholder survey to validate these topics as part of a materiality analysis. The survey participants included representatives of the capital market, tenants, employees, suppliers and service providers of Vonovia, as well as representatives from authorities, the world of politics, associations, NGOs and academia.
The results of this analysis were translated into a materiality matrix and the topics were split into four areas: sustainable corporate governance, society and customers, the environment and employees. These four clusters illustrate the categories which we will use to subsequently report on the key topics. SR 2017, section entitled “Material Topics”
They comprise the general aspects covered by the CSR-RUG law: Combating corruption and bribery and respecting human rights (sustainable corporate governance), social issues (society and customers), environmental issues (the environment) and employee issues (employees).
Vonovia has not identified any other relevant aspects.
Both the BUWOG companies in Austria and Victoria Park AB in Sweden have conducted their own materiality analyses. While both analyses reveal common ground regarding the selection of the key aspects, the weightings attached to these aspects differ in some cases. The next stakeholder survey in Germany is scheduled to be conducted in 2020.
Establishing Sustainability Within the Company
At the highest level, the chief executive officer of Vonovia SE is responsible for sustainability. The Audit Committee in particular handles sustainability on behalf of the Supervisory Board. The operational processing of sustainability-related issues is performed via the staff positions and line functions of Vonovia SE. Those who share responsibility ensure that the agreed measures are implemented in the course of day-to-day business.
In order to ensure that sustainability issues can be tackled in a more structured, cross-departmental manner and to expand our dialog with stakeholders, the function of a sustainability specialist was established in 2017. General topics such as sustainability reporting, corporate citizenship, adjustments to relevant guidelines or the development of interfaces with relevant company processes are handled there on a centralized basis.
In addition, Vonovia launched a project to further improve its reporting on key environmental figures at the end of 2018. This project is the responsibility of a staff function that forms part of the central controlling department.
There are similar staff functions in Austria and Sweden – the function at the BUWOG companies involves responsibility for the Austrian market and the development business, while the function at Victoria Park AB focuses on HR & CSR.