Sustainability Report 2020

Tag Manager

Environment and Climate


SDG 7 (Icon)
SDG 13 (Icon)
SDG 15 (Icon)

Overview of the Action Area

As a market leader in the housing industry, we want to be a driver of climate action. We are aiming for a climate-neutral property portfolio. To reduce carbon emissions from our buildings, we carry out modernization work to make them energy-efficient, and develop and use innovative technologies. We are increasing the use of renewable energies, photovoltaic installations and climate-friendly mobility concepts in our neighborhoods.

We believe that achieving the goals set out in the Paris Agreement is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Vonovia is rising to this challenge and supports both the global agenda and the German federal government’s specific target of making the country’s building stock climate-neutral by 2050. We are motivated by the goal of reducing the carbon intensity of our property portfolio to approximately 30 kg CO2e per m2 of rentable area by 2030 and to considerably less than 10 kg CO2e per m2 of rentable area by 2050. We intend to achieve this by keeping up the fast pace of our refurbishment work, expanding the use of renewable energies and researching and developing new ideas and concepts, especially those related to the local community.

Highlights 2020

  • Climate path developed for Vonovia with binding targets for the existing German portfolio
  • Carbon intensity of around 39.5 kg CO2e/m2 achieved in Germany
  • 2.9% refurbishment rate achieved in Germany
  • Further expansion of photovoltaic systems across our portfolio: number of plants increased from 295 (output: 10.2 MWp) to 424 (output: 15.9 MWp)
  • Investment in the development and expansion of public charging stations for electromobility
  • Electric vehicles made available in car-sharing schemes
  • Cofounding of Initiative Wohnen.2050
  • Climate conference “Outlook for climate-neutral housing” (Perspektiven klimaneutralen Wohnens) held

The climate action goals can only be achieved by 2050 by using the right combination of measures. We have developed a climate action plan with the scientific support of the Fraunhofer Institute ISE to evaluate the effectiveness of these measures. This plan reflects our own targets, the average trend in the industry and the federal government’s targets 2050 targets. Scientific targets like the trajectory defined by the Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM) were also taken into account when developing the scenario analysis. The climate action plan shows clearly that a refurbishment rate of 3% alone will not be sufficient to reach the targets by 2050. What we need is a mix of energy-efficiency refurbishment, greater use of renewable energy sources, and combinations of existing and new technologies such as energy sector coupling and the use of systems for entire neighborhoods.

Vonovia explained how the aim of a climate-neutral property stock can be achieved and discussed its ideas with policymakers, academics and representatives of civil society at a conference dedicated to “Prospects for climate-neutral housing” in fall 2020. We are convinced that if climate-neutral housing is to be feasible and remain affordable, the legal framework needs to change. Having the right subsidies and removing legal obstacles are therefore vital for effective climate action in the residential property sector. Vonovia intends to increase its campaigning on these topics and actively inform the public about the energy revolution and what is required to make it happen. We believe that ambitious, long-term partnerships and above all a different political framework are needed in addition to commitments and investments in order for climate-neutral housing to become a reality and stay affordable. We are happy to contribute our expertise to this effort.

Steps that we are already taking include generating solar energy from more than 400 rooftop photovoltaic systems on our properties and the use of integrated power, heat and transport systems for neighborhoods.

We also see ourselves as a catalyst for the environmental and climate-friendly design of the residential environment. Protecting the flora and fauna in our neighborhoods is one of our priorities. We do this by planting trees, creating urban meadows with wild flowers, installing nesting boxes and working with our tenants. We always aim to strike the right balance between ecological benefits and financial viability.

Waste and water are two topics that are becoming increasingly important in our neighborhoods. We want to raise our tenants’ awareness of the importance of using resources efficiently. We also use active water management systems that make improvements like optimizing our use of rain water. Our concepts for separating household and commercial waste make our employees and tenants aware of the importance of recycling.

Our properties represent our biggest opportunity to contribute to the protection of the environment and the climate. However, it is equally important to take action in our own operations. Our vehicle fleet is a particularly promising area where we can reduce carbon emissions by optimizing our processes. We also prioritize sustainable construction methods when building and operating our offices.

Our materiality analysis identified the topics of Carbon Reduction in the Property Portfolio/Energy-efficient Modernization and Renewable Energies and Energy Mix as material in terms of our efforts to achieve our targets in the action area of Environment and Climate. In addition to the energy-related topics in our own portfolio, climate action features in four other key areas: Biodiversity, Water, Effluents and waste and Energy Efficiency and Carbon Reductions in Operations.


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