Vonovia Publishes Sustainability Report: Residential Real Estate Company is Pioneer in Research on Efficient Technologies
- Hardship Case Management Expanded
- Innovation in Climate Protection and Affordable Housing
- Help for Tenants, Also During the Coronavirus Crisis
Bochum, June 4, 2020 - Vonovia wants to make climate protection affordable. The residential real estate company is testing at the neighborhood level in Bochum-Weitmar to identify which technology is the most CO2-friendly and financially feasible. "We are investing in research today to find solutions for tomorrow. This issue is driving us forward and we can't afford to postpone it," emphasizes Rolf Buch, CEO of Vonovia SE.
Germany's leading residential real estate company outlines this and other objectives for 2020 in its Fifth Sustainability Report, which is being published today. With this report, prepared in line with the GRI Standards, the company demonstrates how it is living up to its responsibility for employees, customers, affordable housing, and climate protection. It also describes its alliances with research institutes, the housing industry and society to find solutions to the overall social problem of affordable climate protection. "Vonovia is convinced that only those companies whose activities benefit society overall will be able to operate successfully in the long run and find social acceptance," explains Rolf Buch at the publication of the 2019 Sustainability Report.
Refurbishment and Climate Protection
Vonovia's refurbishment rate was higher than the national average in 2019 at 3.7%. The company provided assistance to 1,600 customers in connection with 13,200 modernization projects in 2019 (hardship case management).
In order to make sure that energy-efficient refurbishment and modernization measures remain affordable, Vonovia has made a commitment to undertake no measures that would lead to a rent increase of more than € 2 per square meter. At the same time, Vonovia is working on solutions to achieve a socially responsible approach to climate change for its tenants. In order to cut CO2 emissions and energy consumption, Vonovia is focusing not only on conventional energy-efficient building upgrades using currently available technology, but also on decentralized energy supplies using renewable energies. For instance, it is continuing with the "1,000 roofs" program that it launched in 2019. The aim is to equip at least 1,000 roofs with photovoltaic modules over the next few years, allowing Vonovia to produce around 10,000,000 kWh of solar power annually. It has already equipped 800. The implementation of energy standards has allowed the company to save around 100,000 metric tons of CO2 since 2015, an annual CO2 reduction of as much as 2-3%. Under the United Nations Paris Agreement on climate change, the aim is to make the housing stock climate-neutral by 2050.
In order to achieve climate neutrality in buildings, Vonovia focuses on innovation and research into new energy-saving technologies (hydrogen). In 2019, Vonovia launched a project in Bochum-Weitmar, to which the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia is contributing € 6.2 million in funding, that combines a range of technologies in smart and novel ways in order to reduce energy consumption and forge ahead with sector coupling. The project is being implemented in an existing residential neighborhood comprising 1,540 apartments. It is designed to serve as an innovative example of environmentally and economically efficient energy supplies in urban neighborhoods, with CO2 emissions to be reduced by 60%. The plan is to establish a self-learning energy management system that will ensure energy is available in the right place at the right time - for example as electricity for tenant households or at public electric vehicle charging stations, or as heating.
The Bochum pilot project is being implemented under the umbrella of the Open District Hub, a research initiative bringing together 14 research institutions, technology companies and real estate companies that was set up under the auspices of several Fraunhofer institutes in 2018. Vonovia is one of the founding members of the ODH. The challenge involved in combining climate protection and affordable housing is a challenge for society as a whole. In the quest to find solutions, Vonovia is committed to engaging in dialogue.
Together with the German Energy Agency (dena) and the Fraunhofer institute, it is inviting representatives from politics, the housing industry, tenant associations and academia to a climate conference entitled "Prospects for Climate-neutral Housing," to be held on October 1, 2020. Vonovia is also a founding member of the nationwide initiative Wohnen 2050, which brings together more than 40 residential real estate companies that are uniting to find a way to push the climate protection agenda forward.
Environment and Nature Conservation
Within this context, the topic of biodiversity is also becoming increasingly important at Vonovia - with regard to species protection, adjustment to the implications of climate change, and responsible use of natural resources. Here too, Vonovia is actively committed to creating an ecologically valuable residential environment. This area offers huge potential for sustainable action. By way of example, Vonovia is maintaining and designing green spaces spanning around 14 million sqm and including 300 km of hedges and around 220,000 trees, and planting around 1,000 large climate-resilient trees every year.
In keeping with this approach, in 2019 Vonovia and the environmental organization Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (NABU) concluded a collaborative agreement. This involves turning neighborhood green spaces into urban living spaces and refuges for insects and birds and promoting near-natural gardening.
"We are demonstrating that we are prepared to live up to our social responsibility for our 1 million tenants and our employees, even in times of crisis," is how Rolf Buch describes the company's stance during the current coronavirus crisis. People whose income has been reduced or who have no income as a result of the pandemic can apply for a rent deferral. The company also suspended terminations and evictions beginning in mid-March in response to the coronavirus situation. Around 1% of tenants have made use of the assistance offered by Vonovia. Vonovia has also supported tenants' individual assistance initiatives with practical offers, such as help with shopping via the new tenant app.
New Construction to Ease the Shortage of Apartments
Vonovia is a company with 10,000 employees that manages a housing stock of around 356,000 of its own apartments in Germany in addition to 38,000 apartments in Sweden and around 22,500 in Austria. This portfolio is supplemented by a strong development and new construction division which completed around 2,100 new apartments in 2019, helping to ease the shortage of housing in Germany's conurbations. The plan is to complete around 900 apartments in Germany for Vonovia's own portfolio in 2020. 85% of the new buildings are to attain efficiency class A or better.
Employees - Training - Diversity
An employee survey conducted in 2019 shows that Vonovia is adapting to the changing needs of the working world: 72% of survey participants rate their own job in the company as very good. 81% say they want to stay with Vonovia for a long time. We received around 6,300 responses out of a total of almost 8,800 surveys sent out - a participation rate of 72%.
Compared to other large companies, Vonovia's training rate in Germany is well above average at 5.0%. Vonovia sees the diversity of its workforce as both a huge strength and as an opportunity: Our employees come from 74 different countries. In addition, our commitment to integrate refugees into traineeships has been further expanded: During the reporting period, 33 refugees were training with Vonovia. The proportion of women in management will be increased on an ongoing basis.
The report highlights the fact that Vonovia will be making an explicit commitment to selected UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the future. These take account of sustainable development and its financial, social and ecological aspects. The first evidence of this: Vonovia enhanced its sustainability management system in 2019 and launched a strategy process. Since then, sustainability issues have been tackled in a more structured, cross-departmental manner; dialogue with stakeholders has been expanded. A dedicated Sustainability/Strategy department was also set up in the second quarter of 2020.
About the GRI Standards
The international GRI Standards for sustainability reporting are published by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and developed on an ongoing basis. Governmental organizations, NGOs such as environmental and human rights groups, and also companies themselves are involved in developing the standards. The GRI was established in 1997 with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme and is based in Amsterdam.
Vonovia's Sustainability Report is only available online, which is also a contribution to the sustainable use of resources. It is available online at:
The English version will be available shortly at:
Vonovia offers a home to around one million people in Germany. The residential real estate company plays a central role in society, which is why Vonovia's activities are never focused exclusively on financial aspects, but also take social factors into account. Vonovia is helping to provide answers to the current challenges on the housing market. The company is committed to more climate protection, more senior-friendly apartments and a positive community spirit in its neighborhoods. In cooperation with social institutions and the municipal districts, Vonovia supports social and cultural projects that enrich community life. Vonovia is also helping to address a social issue that is particularly important at the moment: the construction of new apartments.
Our activities focus on our customers and their needs. On site, caretakers and our own craftsmen take care of our tenants' concerns. Being close to our customers ensures fast and reliable service. In addition, Vonovia invests generously in the maintenance of the buildings and develops housing-related services for a better quality of living. For answers to any questions in connection with lease agreements and ancillary expense bills, the central customer service center can be contacted via a regional service hotline as well as by email, fax, app or by post.
Vonovia has a workforce of more than 10,000 employees and its CEO is Rolf Buch.
Approval: Regulated Market/Prime Standard, Frankfurt Stock Exchange ISIN: DE000A1ML7J1 WKN: A1ML7J Common code: 094567408 Registered headquarters of Vonovia SE: Bochum, Germany, Bochum Local Court, HRB 16879 Business address of Vonovia SE: Universitätsstrasse 133, 44803 Bochum, Germany
This press release has been issued by Vonovia SE and/or its subsidiaries solely for information purposes. This press release may contain statements, assumptions, opinions and predictions about the anticipated future development of Vonovia ("forward-looking statements") that reproduce various assumptions regarding, e.g., results derived from Vonovia's current business or from publicly available sources that have not been subject to an independent audit or in-depth evaluation by Vonovia and that may turn out to be incorrect at a later stage. All forward-looking statements express current expectations based on the current business plan and various other assumptions and therefore come with risks and uncertainties that are not insignificant. All forward-looking statements should not therefore be taken as a guarantee for future performance or results and, furthermore, do not necessarily constitute exact indicators that the forecast results will be achieved. All forward-looking statements relate solely to the day on which this press release was issued to its recipients. It is the responsibility of the recipients of this press release to conduct a more detailed analysis of the validity of forward-looking statements and the underlying assumptions. Vonovia accepts no responsibility for any direct or indirect damages or losses or subsequent damages or losses as well as penalties that the recipients may incur by using the press release, its contents and, in particular, all forward-looking statements or in any other way, as far as this is legally permissible. Vonovia does not provide any guarantees or assurances (either explicitly or implicitly) in respect of the information contained in this press release. Vonovia is not obliged to update or correct the information, forward-looking statements or conclusions drawn in this press release or to include subsequent events or circumstances or to report inaccuracies that become known after the date of this press release.
04.06.2020 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG.
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.
The DGAP Distribution Services include Regulatory Announcements, Financial/Corporate News and Press Releases.
Archive at www.dgap.de