Key Sustainability Aspects at Vonovia
Establishing Sustainability Within the Company
The individual responsible for the issue of sustainability is the Chief Executive Officer of Vonovia SE, Rolf Buch. 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 dialogue with stakeholders, the function of a sustainability specialist was established in 2017. General topics such as sustainability reporting, corporate citizenship, adjustments to relevant guidelines and the development of interfaces with relevant company processes are handled there on a centralized basis.
There are comparable 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.
Identifying Key Sustainability Topics Based on the Business Model
Vonovia deals in a continuous and structured manner with foreseeable developments in European 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 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, civil society and academia.
The results of this analysis were translated into a materiality matrix and the topics were classified into four areas: sustainable corporate governance, society and customers, the environment and employees.
They comprise the five general aspects covered by the CSR-RUG law:
- Combating corruption and bribery (sustainable corporate governance)
- Respecting human rights (sustainable corporate governance)
- Social issues (society and customers)
- Environmental issues (the environment)
- Employee issues (employees)
Vonovia has not identified any other relevant aspects.
In an international reporting context, sustainability issues are generally assigned to three categories: E (Environmental), S (Social) and G (Governance). In order to ensure that our report is consistent with these requirements, we have combined the “Society and Customers” and “Employees” areas into the “Social” category below. The “Environmental” section deals with environmental issues, while the area of sustainable corporate governance falls under “Governance.”
A revision of the material topics that we cover is required – first of all due to the acquisition of BUWOG and Victoria Park in 2018 and the associated internationalization and expansion of our activities in the development business and, second, in response to the social debate on the issue of social housing and climate change. As a result, Vonovia will be conducting a new materiality analysis in 2020 that takes into account the changes in the overall conditions and also to reflect the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).