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 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 when we redesign outdoor spaces and take issues such as the lifespan of shrubs and trees or the handling of rainwater into account.
With regard to the goal of Affordable and Clean Energy, we strive to procure most of our energy from renewable sources. The communal electricity used for entrance and hallway lighting and technical equipment at 90% of our holdings is already certified green power. This avoids around 18,660 t of CO2 equivalents a year. We also produce our own electrical power via our 59 photovoltaic systems and six CHP plants. This enabled us to feed approximately 12,000 MWh of electricity into the grid in 2018. These measures allow us to avoid about a further 3,900 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 improve the energy footprint of our holdings from 139.1 kWh/sqm per annum (2015) to 132.3 kWh/sqm per annum (2018). 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).
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 and allocating a percentage of our apartments to people in difficult social circumstances. Since 2015, we have also been working with communities and social initiatives for the integration of refugees. We execute refurbishment measures in a socially ethical fashion and find individual solutions in cases of hardship. This helps to limit the consequences of gentrification and maintain a diverse social mix at our holdings. In this way, we promote the goal of Sustainable Cities and Communities. As per SDG 17, we deliberately enter into partnerships to achieve the goals by means of these collaborations and by working with innovative business partners such as the start-up KIWI or VRnow.