Victoria Park, a subsidiary of Vonovia, has a portfolio consisting of 14,288 apartments with a total area of 1,128,000 m2 and a market value of 18.1 billion Swedish krona (SEK). Victoria Park’s business model is to acquire, develop and manage residential real estate with a high level of development potential in growing cities throughout Sweden. We aim to constantly improve our portfolio by renovating apartments in such a way that value appreciates, and through densification.
Victoria Park also focuses on socially sustainable management in order to raise the long-term attractiveness of their neighborhoods and thereby also the value of the apartments.
Based on our portfolio of existing and acquired apartments, our management approach is as follows:
Investing in Raising Standards:
- We intend to achieve a standard that makes our apartments comparable with newly constructed owner-occupied apartments through an efficient and high-quality refurbishment process. Refurbishments are always performed when apartments are vacant in order not to encumber existing tenants.
- By making cost-saving investments, we also want to lower the impact our buildings have on the climate and improve their energy efficiency. For instance, by improving the ventilation systems, installing LED motion-sensor lighting, additional insulation in the attics, heating systems controlled by weather forecasts and systems for individual water meter reading.
Socially Sustainable Management:
- We actively work on our relationships with residents and cultivate a sense of belonging in the buildings and the neighborhood. This enables us to contribute to the creation of calm, safe and attractive residential areas.
- We strive to be included fully in the local social environment, e.g., through comprehensive cooperation with the authorities, municipalities, organizations and owners.
A material element of Victoria Park’s management model is our sustainability agenda. By establishing sustainable relationships between companies, citizens and society, we can cultivate commitment and promote integration, contributing toward more sustainable urban and social developments. This encourages more people to actively participate in their neighborhood and contribute toward creating a calm, safe and attractive residential environment.
We always aim to commission companies that have a social clause covering local procurement.
Since 2013, Victoria Park has been employing long-term unemployed people – primarily residents from our own neighborhoods – to work on a temporary basis in the Victoria Park program as environment wardens or residential coaches. Environment wardens are responsible for maintenance of the residential buildings, while residential coaches deal with practical rental issues and recording refurbishment needs. In 2017, the national economist Ingvar Nilsson conducted an external study of the Victoria Park program and wrote an evaluation report entitled “Behind the Financial Statements.” The results showed the program had both economic and socioeconomic advantages. Over a period of 20 years, reintegrating long-term unemployed people into the world of work results in a social profit of around SEK 120 million. Additionally, we published a comprehensive report on our social sustainability initiative in the Herrgården area of Rosengård, Malmö, in 2018. The report “Droppen som urholkar stenen” (little strokes fell big oaks) analyzes the effect of our initiatives between 2013 and 2018 and presents the direct social impacts that they have, e.g., that residents get back into work after a (longer) period of unemployment and are therefore no longer reliant on welfare. In order to create a financial parameter for measuring the effect of this kind of social sustainability work, Ingvar Nilsson used a calculation method that employed various realistic assumptions and precautionary principles. His calculations show that the advantages that result from the social sustainability work implemented and planned by Victoria Park in Herrgården will amount to SEK 261 million over the next ten years.
In our apartments, energy is primarily used for heating, ventilation, running laundry rooms and lighting public spaces. Almost 90% of our energy consumption is from district heating and 10% is from electricity that is generated without any fossil fuels whatsoever. Tenants also use electricity for lighting, household devices and electronics, but this electricity consumption is not normally included in the rent and therefore not recorded by Victoria Park.
Our aim is to achieve a constant improvement in the portfolio’s energy efficiency. We achieve this by using new technology, better insulation and intelligent control systems, for example. In 2015, Victoria Park launched an ambitious project to regulate the heating system according to the weather forecast, thus aiming to optimize energy consumption. By the beginning of 2018, this technology had been fitted in around 5,000 apartments. Thanks to comprehensive investments in energy-saving measures – around SEK 100 million in 2018 – energy efficiency was improved, CO2 emissions were reduced and energy intensity was lowered. This development shows that measures to reduce the impact of climate change are working. With large, unused roof spaces facing south, many of our apartments have favorable conditions for photovoltaic plants. A solar module test project was launched at the end of 2018. We expect that this initiative will allow a total of 200,000 kWh of environmentally friendly electricity per year.
Another important topic is the reduction of water consumption. As part of our kitchen and bathroom refurbishments to improve standards, we regularly implement measures throughout the portfolio that contribute to reducing water consumption. For example, water-saving faucets and toilets that significantly reduce consumption are installed in 1,200 apartments per year. Our water project also includes the replacement of sanitary facilities and repairing sewage pipes. Water consumption can also be effectively reduced by installing individual water meters. This means that residents receive detailed information regarding their water consumption and can adapt their behavior accordingly.
These investments have a direct impact on both tenant behavior and climate. We have achieved reductions in water consumption of more than 20% on average in the residential portfolio.
Victoria Park also assigns refurbishment and conversion work to quality companies that take into account environmental aspects, such as energy efficiency, material selection and correct handling of hazardous chemicals.
Victoria Park strives to create an inclusive working environment that allows all of our employees, regardless of age, gender, ethnic origin or sexuality, to remain true to their character. We wish to offer our employees a progressive working environment that promotes work satisfaction and a healthy lifestyle. We stepped up our strategic agenda regarding the working environment in 2018 with the aim of securing high attendance rates and an effective process for helping returning employees to settle back into their work. A central safety committee was established for this purpose that will deal with all issues relating to the workplace, covering social, organizational and health concerns.
Our Code of Conduct clearly condemns all forms of discrimination and includes our customers, suppliers and partners in this. As part of our endeavors to ensure that the Code of Conduct is applied correctly and to simplify the reporting of irregularities, we introduced an external whistle-blowing service in 2018.
Find out more at www.victoriapark.se