About This Report

Content and Structure of the Report

This is our fourth sustainability report, with which we are broadening and consolidating our reporting. In the reporting period, we particularly focused on improving the quality of our environmental key figures.

The report presents our company’s performance based on financial and non-financial information. The aim of this reporting is to create transparency and comparability for sustainability activities with other companies on the market.

The thematic focus is on the areas of sustainable corporate governance, customers and society, the environment and employees. The report is structured according to our sustainability activities, which reflect the material economic, social and ecological aspects of Vonovia SE.

Reporting Framework

This report was prepared in accordance with the core option of the GRI standards (2016 version), supplemented with selected voluntary sector-specific disclosures for “Construction and Real Estate.” We have informed GRI of the application of the GRI standards and the publication of this report. 102-54

Vonovia’s Sustainability Report is published on an annual basis. This reporting period relates to the 2018 fiscal year (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018), meaning that it picks up exactly where the 2017 Sustainability Report, which was published in June 2018, left off. 102-50, 102-51, 102-52

In addition, as a capital market-oriented company, Vonovia SE is obliged by the CSR Directive Implementation Act to disclose information pursuant to Sections 289 a–e HGB and 315 b–c HGB (combined non-financial declaration). The necessary reporting requirements were implemented in the management report, which forms part of the annual report, published March 7, 2019.

In order to base our report on the needs of our stakeholders, we identified our relevant stakeholders as part of the 2015 Sustainability Report and analyzed key topics for the sustainability of our business activities. In line with the GRI guidelines, the content of the report was selected based on the criterion of materiality.

In early 2017, we used a structured stakeholder survey and expert interviews to perform a materiality analysis in order to validate these topics. The results of this process have been incorporated into this report. This means that our Sustainability Report covers all topics that either reflect areas in which Vonovia has a major economic, social or ecological impact, or could have a significant impact on our stakeholders. We have refrained from reapplying for the Materiality Disclosures GRI logo this year, as the material topics have not changed since the 2016 reporting period and therefore remain valid (see chapter Material Topics). 102-46, 102-48

In addition, we are following the EPRA Best Practice Recommendations on Sustainability Reporting (sBPR) (third version from 2017) as well as the Code of Conduct of the ZIA Zentraler Immobilien Ausschuss e. V. (the German Property Federation). The collection and calculation of environmental key figures was headed by the Controlling department and supported by Portfolio Management, Business Development, HR, and the Procurement department. The key figures for employees were collected and consolidated by the HR department. The central Procurement department prepared the statements relating to supplier management (procurement).

An independent third party has not conducted an external review of the report’s content. The sustainability report was, however, audited by the Internal Audit department. We are working constantly on improving the quality of the data collection processes. 102-56

Refining the Environmental Key Figures

The environmental key figures underwent comprehensive restructuring in this, our fourth reporting year. An environment controlling team was established in the Controlling department, which resulted in quality improvements in both content definition and data management. This led to new calculation methods being applied to some environmental key figures and new calculations being performed for the previous year’s results. Calculation methods for the key figures on energy consumption in the portfolio, water consumption in the portfolio as well as CO2e-emissions were improved. Due to the calculation methods applied in 2018, recalculated results for the previous year were published for the following sets of key figures (restatement): heating consumption and the resulting CO2e emissions in the portfolio, refurbishment intensity in the portfolio, water consumption in the portfolio and fuel consumption in business operations. This allows for comparison of results from 2017 and 2018.

Organizational Boundaries/Scope of Consolidation

The key figures published focus on Vonovia SE’s activities in Germany, excluding the recently acquired new areas and sites in Germany, Austria and Sweden. This means the BUWOG companies’ portfolio in Germany and Austria and the activities of Victoria Park AB are excluded from sustainability reporting. Accordingly, the environmental key figures for 2018 apply to 337,988 residential and commercial units. Financial key figures on the topic of refurbishment are excluded from this, as they relate to the entire scope of consolidation. The Vonovia Group contains a total of 395,769 residential units (see AR 2018, chapter Housing Stock by Regional Market). Due to the currently ongoing integration process and different data collection processes, the sustainability figures of these companies will only be fully consolidated in future sustainability reporting. You can find brief profiles of the sustainability activities of the recently acquired business units BUWOG and Victoria Park. The basic definition of the scope of consolidation will be reviewed for the next reporting cycle and expanded if necessary. 102-45


The construction of new apartments is a new business area for Vonovia. Environmental impacts and construction emissions are caused by, e. g., the energy consumed on the building site, the manufacture of building materials and transport. Currently, the environmental key figures from construction activity in the Group are not collected consistently. They are therefore not included in this report. New construction activity is a field that Vonovia will be focusing on in the future as it has become more relevant with the integration of the BUWOG companies. We will thus examine to what extent environmental key figures and CO2e emissions that relate to new construction activity can be reported.

Business Operations

It is Vonovia’s objective to attain as complete a view as possible of the environmental impact of the Group, which is spread across a number of different locations. In addition to the company headquarters in Bochum and the large customer service centers in Duisburg and Dresden, there are a number of regional administration offices, caretakers’ offices, and offices and workshops used by the technical service and the residential neighborhood services. Some of these belong directly to the Vonovia portfolio; some relate to rented space. For the latter, Vonovia can only improve the environmental performance to a limited extent, or only in agreement with the landlord. The corporate headquarters in Bochum, and the customer service centers in Duisburg and Dresden and twelve other locations have been included in the 2018 reporting. The database was thus significantly expanded in comparison with the previous year. Due to the large number of rented office spaces, recording the environmental key figures for all work locations involves a disproportionately high amount of effort. System boundaries are due to be gradually extended once again for the 2019 reporting period.

The personnel key figures in this report also only cover Vonovia SE’s activities in Germany and exclude the activities of the BUWOG companies in Germany and Austria and Victoria Park AB in Sweden.

Like-for-like Assessment

Due to portfolio changes from sales and purchases there may, in part, be considerable deviations from the previous year’s values. Like-for-like assessments and intensity figures are therefore more suitable when it comes to performance considerations. For the comparison between annual results we again used the data cleansing approach employed by EPRA. That is why the changes in the portfolio were considered as follows in the calculation of like-for-like key figures: Acquisitions after January 1, 2017, were excluded from the portfolio key figures for reporting years, while the portfolio key figures were adjusted for any residential units sold before the end of the 2018 reporting year. This corresponds to the reporting principles used by EPRA.

CO2 Emissions

The scope of consolidation relevant for calculating CO2 emissions was defined in coordination with the scope of consolidation for the other environmental key figures. We deliberately had our calculation of CO2 emissions audited by an external third party to ensure that these sensitive calculations were conducted independently and in accordance with the highest quality standards.

The calculations of CO2 emissions were based on the greenhouse gas protocol (GHG Protocol), the internationally recognized standard for calculating CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions were calculated as CO2 equivalents (CO2e). Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) is a standardized unit to measure the relative contributions of various gases to the greenhouse gas effect. Emissions that harm the climate are not only caused by carbon dioxide (CO2), although it is the most well-known. Other gases, such as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), are converted to CO2 equivalents using a conversion factor, which simplifies comparability in terms of detrimental effects on the climate. Only the CO2 emissions from refurbishments were not calculated as CO2 equivalents.

The CO2e factors from the GEMIS database version 4.95 were applied to calculate the emissions. GEMIS (Global Emission Model for Integrated Systems) is an internationally recognized model for determining energy and material flows with an integrated database. The model calculates life cycles for all processes and scenarios, i.e., it takes into consideration all material steps from primary energy/raw material extraction to effective energy/material provision and also includes the auxiliary energy and cost of materials to produce energy plants and transport systems. The GEMIS data was selected because it is accurate, up to date and consistent.


The calculation of CO2 emissions in the portfolio is conducted according to the “Financial Control Approach.” Emissions produced as a result of portfolio operations are disclosed under Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. This takes into consideration the actual financial control exercised over the portfolio that exists for the majority of the portfolio area or rental units (around 75%). For the rest of the portfolio, in which the company holds a minority interest, the 2018 CO2 results are reported under Scope 3.

Business Operations

CO2e factors from the GEMIS database version 4.95 were also applied for the majority of the emissions resulting from business operations. To calculate the market-based emissions from electricity, we used the exact electricity providers’ emissions and converted them to CO2e emissions. To calculate Scope 3 emissions from rail business travel, we used Deutsche Bahn’s emissions factors. GHG Protocol factors from external travel agencies were applied for flights. These CO2 factors were selected because they are up to date and accurate.

Data Collection and Raw Data


The environmental key figures relating to heat consumption in the portfolio were calculated based on the energy certificate data. These cover heat consumption in both the residential units and communal areas. Energy certificates contain mandatory information regarding the energy rating of individual buildings. Only approved external companies (usually engineering firms or similar) are able to perform these calculations and provide official documents to the building owner. A distinction is made between demand and consumption certificates. The majority of Vonovia energy certificates are covered by demand certificates (approx. 73% in 2018, approx. 58% in 2017), and more demand certificates will be generated in the future.

The environmental key figures for electricity consumption in the portfolio’s communal areas are based on smart meter readings and the projected values of the Vonovia company VESG (Vonovia Energie Service GmbH).

The portfolio’s water consumption is based on VESG’s smart meter readings and refers to the residential and communal areas.

The portfolio’s waste volumes are calculated using an average waste volume per residential unit.

Business Operations

The offices’ environmental key figures are partly based on water and electricity bills from the energy providers, the municipal water utilities and the waste disposal company. Extrapolations were necessary in some cases because the bills from utility companies for the reporting period had not yet been received at the time of publication.

The fuel consumed by Vonovia’s fleet was evaluated based on fuel cards.