Our contribution to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals

We share the belief that global challenges can only be overcome if developing countries, emerging countries and industrialised nations work together. We there­fore welcome the adoption of the 2030 Agenda by the United Nations, which aims to enable global economic progress to be made in harmony with social justice and environmental protection. The Agenda was adopted in 2015. Its heart is formed by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs mark the first time that all three dimensions of sustainability – social, environmental and economic – have been considered in equal measure. They are preceded by five core themes which provide overarching guidance: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. All countries along with companies and organisations are called upon to report on their efforts and progress.

We want to consistently link the SDGs with our sustainability strategy and will provide information on our related activities in our current and future reporting. As an initial step, we have selected the SDGs which we can effectively help to achieve through our business activities and which correspond to our key sustainability issues. These are Good Health and Well­being (SDG 3), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9), Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11), Climate Action (SDG 13), Life on Land (SDG 15) and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17).

We primarily contribute towards the goal of Good Health and Well­being by placing the health and safety of our customers at the heart of our business activities. When we are carrying out refurbishment work, we are particularly careful to avoid risks resulting from the removal and disposal of dangerous substances and any pollution of the soil. We also use sustainable construction materials that pose no health risks. For instance, we always take ecological and health­related aspects into account during procurement and take a sustainable approach in connection with refurbishment and new construction projects.  We also use mineral wool for facade insulation and avoid polystyrene, for example. Furthermore, we try to repair old windows with wooden frames whenever possible. We treat the plots of land with due care during refurbishment and new construction projects. Plots for new builds are carefully examined for any evidence of contamination and treated and we ensure that contaminated sites are removed in an ecologically responsible and safe manner.

With regard to the goal of Affordable and Clean Energy, we strive to procure most of our energy from renewable sources. We already source the general electricity used for the entrance and hallway lighting and technical equipment at 90% of our holdings and the majority of our administrative locations from certified green power. This allowed us to avoid around 11.800 tonnes of CO₂e. We also produce our own electrical power via our 59 photovoltaic systems and nine CHP plants. These plants generated roughly 13.6 GWh in heat and 11.1 GWh in electricity, which was fed into the public grid. This enables us to save about another 440 tonnes of CO₂e each year. This goes hand in hand with our efforts to actively promote climate protection and thereby help to achieve the national climate protection targets.

Thus, we have set ourselves the ambitious target of making our property portfolio climate‑neutral by 2040. At their core, the various measures aim to minimise the energy requirement of our properties, and to use energy sources that emit as little carbon dioxide as possible to cover the remaining unavoidable energy requirement. That’s why we constantly work on improving the energy efficiency of our properties and reducing the associated climate emissions. This enabled us to lower the energy footprint of our holdings from 139.1 kWh/sqm per annum (2015) to 125.1 kWh/sqm per annum (2020). For all our new construction projects, we aim for gold certification according to the criteria of the German Sustainable Building Council (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen – DGNB).

In addition to the revolution in heating, an essential part of a climate turnaround is a mobility transition in the direction of environmentally friendly transport concepts with low‑pollutant drive technologies. Deutsche Wohnen is pursuing the promotion of climate‑friendly mobility as a strategic goal. We are talking to local authorities about expanding the range of public transport, for example, working to provide alternative transport concepts, such as car sharing, and including cycle paths and parking spaces for bicycles in our planning and construction work.

One of our current priorities is to use electricity produced by the decentralised photovoltaic systems to charge electric vehicles on the estates in future and to install more than 2,000 charging stations nationwide. So we are supporting the transport revolution by expanding the charging infrastructure in our estates. In addition, Deutsche Wohnen intends to convert its entire company car fleet to alternative drives by 2024. We are tapping additional energy savings potential with the gradual establishment of our smart building con­cept MiA (My intelligent Assistant). Among other things, this allows users to digit­ally manage room heating, which is the cause of 81% of final energy consumption in residential buildings.

In 2019, we expressed our responsibility to offer our clients fair living conditions in our Our promise to our tenants voluntary commitment and attached concrete measures accordingly. In this way, we are shifting the focus to our tenants’ individual income and living conditions and are also capping rent increases in cases of hard­ship. We will further let one in four apartments in the new lettings process to tenants who are entitled to a certificate of eligibility for social housing as a means of limiting the consequences of gentrification and maintaining a diverse social mix at our holdings. As well as our tenant promise which applies to all Deutsche Wohnen tenants, we have concluded additional project­based agreements with various Berlin boroughs regarding the socially ethical execution of complex refurbishment measures.

Furthermore, Deutsche Wohnen is committed to making cities better places to live and strengthening social structures as an urban development partner. We do this by engaging in continuous dialogue and working together with residents, policy­makers and social agencies. Our social engagement focuses on our core areas of expertise in our districts. These activities include letting commercial units to social organisations at an affordable rate, aiding the hiring of social workers, allocat­ing a percentage of our apartments to people in difficult social circumstances, working with communities and social initiatives and promoting projects in the areas of art, culture and sport. In this way, we promote the goal of Sustainable Cities and Communities.

We take focused action to protect the climate and the environment on our estates. This includes implementing our own arboricultural climate concept, which is intended to result in healthy, resilient trees that make a key contribution to the ecosystem. We only plant new trees based on a special list of species suitable for the changing climate and ensure a thorough mix of different types. Another aim is to increase the total area shaded by trees, in order to improve the local microclimate and mitigate the problems caused by high temperatures as a result of climate change.

Other steps to optimise the ecology of the estates include the removal of impervious surfaces and the introduction of rainwater management systems. Not only are green spaces crucial to the quality of the living environment – they are also important as the habitats of insects and wild plants. With the series of projects entitled Bienen finden ein Zuhause (Homes for Bees) we want to maintain the diversity of plants and animals in the urban environment, primarily by converting outdoor areas into meadows or gardens.

With the aid of these local and social cooperations, we are purposefully engaging in Partnerships for the Goals as per SDG 17. We are also pursuing this approach in the area of the environmental, for example with our involvement in Foundation 2° – German Businesses for Climate Protection, which supports the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement. In addition, we are a member of the Initiative Wohnen.2050 (Housing Initiative 2050, IW.2050) to facilitate the necessary networking of the German housing industry and to pool efforts to achieve the climate action targets.

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