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 Well-being (SDG 3), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11), Climate Action (SDG 13) and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17).
We primarily contribute towards the goal of Good Health and Well-being by placing the health and safety of our customers at the heart of our business activities. For instance, we always take ecological and health-related 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. During refurbishment measures, we ensure that hazardous substances such as asbestos or contaminated soil are removed safely and in an environmentally friendly fashion. We also take a sustainable planning approach to redesigning outdoor areas, for example regarding how to deal with rainwater, the planting of so-called climate trees and boosting biodiversity by means of diverse and pollination-friendly planting.
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 avoids around 15,900 t of CO2 a year. We also produce our own electrical power via our 59 photovoltaic systems and seven CHP plants. This enabled us to feed approximately 11,300 MWh of electricity into the grid in 2019. These measures allow us to avoid about a further 2,900 t of CO2 equivalents per annum. This goes hand in hand with our efforts to actively promote climate protection and thereby help to achieve the national climate protection targets. 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 128.9 kWh/sqm per annum (2019). We construct our new builds in line with recognised sustainability certification schemes, such as the standards of the German Sustainable Building Council (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen – DGNB) or Nachhaltiger Wohnungsbau (NaWoh). 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.