Open Dialogue With Society
Relevance of the Topic for Vonovia
Vonovia belongs to a network of various social players who have an influence on the company on a micro and macro level. We actively consider their views and concerns when deciding the direction our company takes and how our neighborhoods are developed. We value ongoing communication on an equal footing to find common solutions for a positive community spirit in the properties that make up our portfolios. We hear and evaluate the opinions of all stakeholders in our work. We then bundle a variety of views and include these results in our strategic decision-making process. Vonovia has a bridge-building role within the neighborhood. We therefore consider dialogue with stakeholders to be an opportunity for participation and a way to improve our reputation and increase acceptance for our actions.
Our main stakeholders include tenants, employees, shareholders, investors and analysts as well as policymakers at the municipal, state and federal levels in Germany, Austria and Sweden. Additional interest groups are tenants’ associations, suppliers and service providers, the media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). 102-40
Tenants: Direct contact with our tenants is the most important dialogue for us. They expect straightforward, service-oriented and rapid responses to their queries. A good level of availability, fast reaction times and, as far as possible, presence on site to personally hear and deal with our tenants’ queries, worries and wants is decisive. We achieve this with the help of our caretakers at the portfolio properties, our rental offices, which serve as local points of contact, tenant assemblies and parties. Our customer portal and customer service hotline mean that we can be contacted around the clock. We also provide tenants with information on various subjects in our quarterly customer magazine and via our online communication channels (see chapter Society and Customers, AR 2018, Society and Customers). 102-43, 102-44
Employees: Our employees want an attractive job with an interesting remit, professional and personal development, and a reliable, fair working environment. Thanks to our diversified business approach, employees find numerous opportunities for professional and personal development in an industry offering future security. We offer training in 14 commercial and technical trade professions, impart knowledge via our academy, cooperate with EBZ Business School in Bochum, a university geared to the real estate industry, and conduct HR development activities customized to personal needs (see chapter Employees, AR 2018, Employees). 102-43, 102-44
Shareholders, Investors and Analysts: Transparency about our business model and its successful implementation is a key issue for this stakeholder group. We mainly use face-to-face meetings, conference calls, presentations and road shows to maintain regular dialogue with shareholders, investors and analysts (see AR 2018, chapter Strategy). 102-43, 102-44
Public Policy: Public policy has made housing the number one issue of our time. This has created an expectation that requires us to be involved in discussions relating to neighborhood and city development in order to find solutions for the rising demand for homes, for example, but also to social issues such as demographic and climate change. We have regular and extensive contact with political and association representatives, conduct cross-party discussions with representatives, participate as an opinion leader in forums and events on real estate matters, and also initiate projects of social relevance. In our dialogue with policymakers, we refer to the effects of proposed legislation for our industry. Vonovia remains neutral in political matters, makes no political donations, and refuses to participate in parties or party-related networks or foundations. 102-43, 102-44, 415-1
Tenants’ Associations and Initiatives: Dealing with tenant matters fairly and reliably, and identifying solutions quickly and in a constructive way, is particularly important when conflicts arise. We maintain close contact with local tenants’ associations, organize tenant assemblies and are also available at short notice for representatives of interested parties. In order to avoid escalations, we thoroughly review the legitimacy of criticism directed at us if possible. In case of legitimate criticism, we attempt to eliminate the deficiencies quickly. 102-43, 102-44
Suppliers and Service Providers: Our collaboration with partners is based on a cooperative business relationship that takes the interests of both parties into account. We and our partners from all trades are bound together by the common interest to deliver very good services to Vonovia and our tenants. Our Business Partner Code and Code of Conduct ensure that we are on the same page in terms of the key cornerstones of our collaboration (See chapter Compliance Management and Anti-corruption). 102-44
Media/Public Relations: Journalists expect us to be willing to provide information and have an open communication policy, even and especially in dealing with difficult questions. We conduct comprehensive public relations and strive to provide information quickly. In order to prioritize our communication properly, we ensure we are always up-to-date on issues that influence our environment. We conduct regular press conferences and discussions and are available for interviews. We endeavor to provide journalists with information as soon as possible in the event of a crisis or disruptions. 102-43, 102-44
NGOs and the Corporate Environment: As a corporate citizen, Vonovia is directly involved in the lives of the communities. Vonovia makes both economic and operational contributions to social topics, fulfilling society’s desire for the company to take its responsibilities seriously. We cooperate with numerous organizations such as welfare associations and church institutions. We participate in school projects, maintain playgrounds and support clubs, social and cultural institutions and disadvantaged individuals through our foundations. In addition, we involve public organizations in the development of new services (see chapter Neighborhood Development). 102-43, 102-44, 203-2
Establishment in the Organization 103-2
Dialogue with our stakeholders primarily takes place during day-to-day business and is dependent on existing networks. This means it is well established on several levels and in several areas of the business, for example, with the Management Board, regional managing directors and regional managers. Corporate communications, which ensure uniform internal and external communications, play a pivotal role. This also includes the public affairs department, which ensures two-way communication with political representatives.