2020 Materiality Analysis
We want to fulfill our responsibility to the environment and society as best we can. That’s why we continuously deal with the processes of social and ecological change in a structured manner, and analyze how these changes impact our business and value creation (outside-in perspective). At the same time, our decision-making processes look at the impact that our business model has on the environment and society (inside-out perspective). A third important dimension in determining the issues that are material for us is also the perspective of relevant external stakeholder groups.
We redefined the material topics in 2020 as part of an extensive, testable materiality analysis. The resulting materiality matrix replaces the one in place since 2017 (see Vonovia Sustainability Report 2017). This new definition was prompted by changing overall social conditions, the mounting importance of climate protection issues and internal changes resulting from the company’s internationalization and its new development business activities. The aim is to create a comprehensible basis to position Vonovia strategically and sustainably.
The main topics were initially identified by evaluating potentially relevant topics and action areas via various sources, e.g., studies. We have transferred these topics into a "long list." Next, we validated the collection of topics and sorted out non-relevant topics (short list), thereby identifying a total of 33 sustainability topics in seven action areas. We then evaluated and validated these topics in three additional steps.
The focus was on the three dimensions: impact on the environment, society and the economy, impact on business relevance and significance for external stakeholders.
Impact on the environment, society and the economy:
The impact Vonovia has on the environment, society and the economy (corporate impact) was assessed via a workshop at management level. All relevant departments were involved in this process, including our Austrian colleagues. The aim of the workshop was to determine the significance of the impact with regard to various aspects of the business activities at Vonovia.
Impact on business relevance:
The business relevance was assessed in a workshop with participants from the first management level in Germany and Austria and with the involvement of the Management Board. Both short-term and long-term effects of the 33 sustainability topics on business relevance were discussed and evaluated.
Following both workshops, a separate validation loop took place for Sweden.
Significance for external stakeholders:
External stakeholders were surveyed both online and through telephone interviews. We wanted to find out from them what they consider to be the most relevant sustainability issues in the housing industry in general and for Vonovia in particular. There were 142 respondents from Germany, Austria and Sweden who took part in the online survey. In addition, 42 expert interviews were conducted to validate the results. The experts were each asked about a specific action area, but were also able to provide information on other topics. Among others, the survey participants included representatives of the capital market, tenants’ associations, employees, business partners, suppliers and service providers of Vonovia as well as representatives from authorities, the world of politics, associations, civil society and science. The stakeholders were selected on the basis of their knowledge of Vonovia and their expertise on the topic of sustainability.
Materiality Matrix 102-47103-1
The process identified eleven of the 33 selected sustainability topics as being material for Vonovia. They are explained in detail in the following chapters. The remaining 22 major issues are also described in this report.
The results were translated into a materiality matrix that maps all three dimensions and is presented based on both the CSR Directive Implementation Act (CSR-RUG) and the GRI standards.