Sustainability Report 2019


Open Dialogue With Society

Objectives, Measures and Indicators

Vonovia provides homes for more than one million people, making it an important part of society. This is another reason why we aim to maintain ongoing dialogue with our stakeholders on an equal footing and use the insights gained as part of this process to help shape the direction of our business and the development of our neighborhoods. We seek to use this process to help find common solutions to foster a good sense of community spirit within the properties that make up our portfolio.

Stakeholder Dialogue

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 include tenants’ associations, suppliers and service providers, the media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). 102-40

We structure the processes for dialogue with our stakeholders on an individual basis and are guided by what the individual groups expect of us. The forms of dialogue we use range from simply passing on information to active participation in community development projects to promote acceptance and transparency. As part of the new materiality analysis that we plan to conduct in 2020, we will once again involve and survey all of our relevant stakeholders.

Furthermore, in 2020 and beyond, we want to further intensify and expand our consultation and participation procedures with tenants, city authorities and municipalities.

“Outlook for Climate-neutral Housing” (Perspektiven klimaneutralen Wohnens) Discourse Process Launched

Outlook for Climate-neutral Housing

We launched the “Outlook for climate-neutral housing” discourse process in April 2019. The aim of the discourse is to find solutions to the conflict between active and far-reaching climate protection in existing buildings and rising housing costs. We are convinced that this can only be achieved if we all join forces, and invite all relevant stakeholders to work on these solutions with us.
We intend to follow a three-stage process:

  1. Outlining the problem and potential political approaches as a starting point: organization of a parliamentary evening in April 2019
  2. Professional and technical analysis of the topic: specialist conference in cooperation with the German Energy Agency (dena) and Fraunhofer Institute involving 85 participants from the housing industry and the fields of academia, associations, environmental and tenant protection associations in November 2019
  3. Discussion with policymakers on the overall conditions for change: climate conference involving various expert representatives from politics, academia, the housing industry, tenant representatives and associations planned for May 2020 (postponed to October 1, 2020, due to the coronavirus); presentation of climate protection theories for the building sector by Vonovia at the conference

Vonovia’s Stakeholder Dialogue 102-40, 102-43, 102-44, 203-2, 415-1

Stakeholder Dialogue




  • Early and transparent communication and involvement – for example, in cases involving modernization measures
  • Straightforward, service-oriented and prompt answers to questions
  • A good level of availability, fast reaction times and, as far as possible, presence on site to personally hear and deal with queries, worries and wants
  • Involvement in designing the immediate residential environment

Forms of dialogue

  • Personal contact via caretakers and neighborhood managers at the portfolio properties and via rental offices, which serve as local points of contact
  • Tenant meetings or parties and citizens’ forums/consultation processes, e.g., for involvement in community development measures
  • 24/7 accessibility via the customer portal, tenant apps and the customer service hotline
  • Information on various subjects provided in a quarterly customer magazine and online communication channels
  • Direct dialogue with our tenants is the most important form of dialogue for us because their satisfaction has a decisive impact on our success as a company.




  • Attractive and safe workplace
  • Interesting job remit
  • Professional and personal development, and a reliable, fair working environment

Forms of dialogue

  • Human capital development activities customized to personal needs
  • Employee surveys
  • Communication and information via employee magazines, the intranet, podcasts and information events
  • Further training via the Vonovia Academy and cooperation with the EBZ Business School in Bochum, a university geared to the real estate industry


Shareholders, investors and analysts


  • Transparency regarding the business model and its successful implementation
  • Information on the company’s financial situation, predicted development and possible risks

Forms of dialogue

  • Face-to-face meetings and conference calls
  • Presentations
  • Investor conferences, roadshows and property tours
  • Participation in sustainability benchmarks and ratings




  • Active contribution to solving the housing problem
  • Participation in community and urban development discussions
  • Contribution of technical expertise in and beyond the housing industry (e.g., electromobility)
  • Assurance of knowledge transfer between the business and political spheres

Forms of dialogue

  • Regular and extensive exchange of information with representatives at local, state and federal level, parliament and the government
  • Collaboration in economic councils (the CDU’s economic council, the SPD’s economic forum, the Green Party’s economic dialogue group and the FDP’s economic forum)
  • Regular and extensive exchange of information with associations such as the German Association of German Housing and Real Estate Companies (GdW), the German Property Federation (ZIA), dena and DENEFF
  • Cross-party talks with representatives
  • Participation as an opinion leader in forums and events on real estate matters (e.g., founding member of the housing initiative InitiativeWohnen.2050)
  • Initiator of projects that are of social relevance
  • In our dialogue with policymakers and associations, we refer to the effects of proposed legislation on our industry. Vonovia remains neutral in its political work, with no affiliation to any particular party, and does not make any political donations.
  • Through our involvement, we also aim to recognize any changes to the legal framework early on in order to be able to plan and implement measures within our company in good time.


Tenant associations and initiatives


  • Fair and reliable handling of tenant issues
  • Quick and constructive identification of solutions in the event of conflict

Forms of dialogue

  • Close contact with local tenant associations and representatives of interested parties
  • Organization of tenant meetings
  • Establishment of tenant advisory boards
  • In order to avoid conflict, we thoroughly review the legitimacy of criticism directed at us. In case of legitimate criticism, we attempt to eliminate the deficiencies quickly.


Suppliers and service providers


  • Business relationships managed in the spirit of cooperation
  • Consideration of their interests
  • Interest in delivering very good services for Vonovia and our tenants

Forms of dialogue

  • Business Partner Code and Code of Conduct
  • Regular dialogue during contractual negotiations and the implementation of assignments
  • Vonovia partner portal




  • Expect us to be willing to provide information and have an open communication policy, even and especially when dealing with difficult questions

Forms of dialogue

  • Comprehensive public relations
  • Provision of information as quickly as possible – also in the event of crises and disruptions
  • Regular press conferences and meetings
  • Interviews


NGOs and the social environment


  • Assumption of responsibility for social issues
  • Economic and operational contribution to social issues
  • Cooperation with academia

Forms of dialogue

  • Cooperation with numerous organizations such as welfare organizations, social agencies and nature conservation organizations (NABU)
  • Participation in school projects, maintenance of playgrounds
  • Cooperation with academic institutions such as Fraunhofer Institutes or EBZ Business School
  • Support for clubs, social and cultural institutions and disadvantaged individuals through our foundation
  • Involvement of public organizations in the development of new services

Memberships of Initiatives and Associations 102-13

We are also active in a number of residential and property management associations, contributing to the strengthening of the property management sector in Germany. We are also involved with several initiatives aimed at protecting the climate.

Selected Memberships in Industry Associations and Initiatives

AGV Arbeitgeberverband der Deutschen Immobilienwirtschaft e. V.

AGW Arbeitsgemeinschaft Großer Wohnungsunternehmen

DDIV Dachverband Deutscher Immobilienverwalter e. V.

DENEFF – Deutsche Unternehmensinitiative Energieeffizienz

Deutscher Verband für Wohnungswesen, Städtebau und Raumordnung e. V.

DIRK Deutscher Investor Relations Verband e. V.

EPRA European Public Real Estate Association

GdW Bundesverband deutscher Wohnungs- und Immobilienunternehmen e. V.

Initiativkreis Ruhrgebiet

Institut für Corporate Governance in der deutschen Immobilienwirtschaft e. V.

InWIS Forschung und Beratung – Förderverein e. V.

KlimaDiskurs.NRW e. V.

Open District Hub e. V.

Verein der Freunde und Förderer der EBZ School e. V.

vhw – Bundesverband für Wohnen und Stadtentwicklung e. V.

ZIA Zentraler Immobilien Ausschuss e. V.

In 2019, we were involved in the following associations and initiatives in particular:

Vonovia participates in the following ways:

GdW – German Association of German Housing and Real Estate Companies – 
professional association and interest group of the German housing industry

  • Rolf Buch is a member of the Executive Board
  • Regular participation in meetings of the Management Board/committee and in working groups
  • Founding member of InitiativeWohnen.2050

EPRA – European Public Real Estate Association –
interest group representing listed European real estate companies

  • Chairman of the Board of Directors: Rolf Buch
  • Regular participation in meetings of the Management Board/committee and in working groups
  • Member of the Sustainability Committee

Independent, cross-industry network to promote energy efficiency

  • Regular participation in meetings of the Board/committee and in working groups
  • Dialogue on, or presentation of, innovation projects
  • Participation in dialogue with politicians and other member companies

Deutscher Verband für Wohnungswesen Städtebau und Raumordnung e. V. –
dialogue platform for integrated urban development and housing

  • Vice President: Rolf Buch
  • Regular participation in meetings of the Management Board/committee and in working groups
  • Session membership
  • Participation in Initiative Quartier neighborhood initiative

ZIA – German Property Federation –
regulatory and economic lobby group for the entire real estate industry

  • Vice President and Chairman of the Housing Committee: Rolf Buch
  • Regular participation in meetings of the Management Board/committee and in working groups
  • Membership of the CSR Committee
  • Participation in academic expert opinions (e.g., WohnenPlus position paper on accessible housing)

Establishment of Country-specific Participation and Consultation Processes

Vonovia only operates in European countries. Based on the German laws on co-determination, we are also in the process of establishing corresponding processes for employee participation and co-determination in Sweden and Austria. Our aim is to strengthen our employees’ involvement in shaping our corporate management throughout the Group. In the 2019 reporting year, we took further steps to harmonize the various Group and works agreements of Vonovia, Victoria Park and BUWOG.

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