Our sustainability mission statement

As a large private enterprise in the housing industry, many different interests converge upon us. Our clients, shareholders and employees – as well as academics, policymakers, authorities and the general public – rightly monitor how we fulfil our responsibility. The different – and at times contradictory – demands and views on our sustainability activities continue to pose a challenge for us.

Above all, they are interested in our far‑reaching investments in modern residential holdings and high standards of ecological technology. At the same time, we are also facing demands for stable rents and affordable new buildings. Another ongoing task is resolving the conflict between the aims of climate protection and creating affordable housing. We want to reconcile these expectations and requirements – without losing sight of quality, financial viability, and our social and ecological responsibility.

However, our stakeholders are not the only ones who place expectations on us – we do that ourselves as well. There are fundamental questions to which we hope to find answers: how can we make responsible use of the finite space in German conurbations? How will we tackle demographic change? How can we use resources intelligently? In short, we are driven today by housing concepts for the cities of tomorrow.

Of responsible corporate management 

To succeed long‑term, businesses must accept their corporate responsibility. Of this we are convinced. At the same time, we also want to take central societal challenges into account. These include advancing urbanisation, the severe shortage of housing in conurbations in particular, climate change, the digitisation of our personal and professional lives, and demographic change with the associated shift in residential   requirements. These complex challenges require new concepts regarding both the way in which people live together and mobility.

Our commitment to sustainability goes beyond our company’s direct actions and decisions as well. Frank and constructive dialogue with all of our stakeholders is especially important, for example – we want to be a fair and reliable partner for them. At the same time, we make the same demands of our suppliers as we do of ourselves. Important parameters in this regard are our sustainability criteria and regionality. Furthermore, we ensure that natural resources are conserved and drawn from renewable sources whenever possible. We are uncompromising in our compliance with legislation and regulations and use ethical benchmarks to measure our actions.

Of customer satisfaction and sustainable construction

Customer satisfaction safeguards our economic success and is our company’s top priority. With this in mind, we con­stantly work to improve our service quality and be even better at addressing our tenants’ changing needs. Not only do we want to make our customers more satisfied – we also want to be a partner to them who provides cross­gener­ational housing which enables a good, attractive standard of living. We therefore take a holistic view of districts, from the outdoor areas and infrastructure to energy supplies. More than anything else, we see it as our responsibility to offer our clients fair living conditions, thereby giving them security and the ability to plan their lives. We have formulated this aspiration in our Our promise to our tenants voluntary commitment.

We offer more than just converted living space: our aim is to provide quality of life with our extremely comfortable properties and our range of services. To achieve this, we invest in both energy­efficient fittings featuring modern technology and innovative housing concepts of tomorrow. Our proprietary smart living solutions play a key role in this. Living accommodation is of vital importance – there is no doubt about that. However, the shortage of affordable housing in metropolitan areas and conurbations is making it much harder to meet this fundamental need. That is why we are doing what needs to be done: building modern, liveable and sustainable urban districts. Our new construction projects are oriented on widely recognised sustainability certification schemes which apply to the entire life cycle of a property. In order to measure our performance against specific criteria, we aim for our new construction projects to be certified to DGNB Gold standard. 

Of responsibility for the environment and the climate

For us, climate change is a fact which is beyond debate. We use our knowledge, experience and energy to develop and realise solutions that help to achieve the targets set by policy­makers. The buildings sector accounts for approximately 40% of energy consumption and around 30% of national carbon dioxide emissions. It is to be decarbonised by 2050. With around 20 million rented units, the housing industry plays a key role in Germany’s climate policy.

So what are we doing to achieve this goal? We are actively reducing the environmental impact of our existing buildings by making lasting investments in energy­efficient refurbish­ment. We are refurbishing our heat generation plants and focusing on using renewable energy sources with a view to increasingly efficiently managing our properties’ consump­tion levels. And this is proving to be a success – the energy footprint of approximately 64% of our residential buildings is already better than the average consumption of residential buildings in Germany.

In short, we are on the right track when it comes to reducing CO₂ and protecting the climate. We are reinforcing our commitment with our support of Foundation 2° – German Businesses for Climate Protection, of which we have been an active sponsor since 2019 and to which we contribute our expertise. 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.

Of responsibility for our employees

Digitisation is not just revolutionising products and fields of business: it is also revolutionising the labour market and  individual workstations. Here, too, we are working today on ideas and solutions for tomorrow because our objective is employee satisfaction. And this is not a merely selfless under­taking: we want and need to be viewed as an attractive, modern employer by our staff in order to counteract demo­graphic change and the shortage of skilled employees. That is why we want to offer our staff flexible working hours, modern workplaces, attractive benefits and forward­looking development. We focus on tailored, digitally assisted learn­ing and on intergenerational, knowledge­preserving cooper­ation and leadership. We trust in our corporate culture, which is founded on appreciation, diversity, openness and a pro­nounced quality ethos.

 Of responsibility towards society

Our mission extends far beyond the provision of apartments. We see our role as creating homes and vibrant districts which offer people attractive living conditions, whether they are young, old, single or part of a family. The preservation  of historic buildings and building culture are also important social issues for us. Our portfolio includes a number of his­toric buildings listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. This enables us to link our social and societal commitment closely with our core line of business. Furthermore, we support social causes by means of our wide­ranging involvement in cultural, artistic and sporting projects and initiatives. In the reporting year we set up a coronavirus aid fund of EUR 30 million to support tenants, business partners and service providers in financial distress as a result of the pandemic.

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