The Group sees environmental responsibility as an integral part of its business strategy. The Group sees the implementation of environmental friendly measures both as an important environmental issue as well as an integral part of optimizing the cost structure. As such, the Group has a defined strategy, resulting in a catalogue of various measures. The main goals are to reduce environmental pollution by improving or installing sustainable systems, use renewable energy sources.
Inhouse environment policy and company’s energy audit
The Group has a full environmental policy in place that reflects all aspects of energy management and environmental responsibility. There are certifications for gas and electricity consumed in place as the company is working with providers, which monitor energy consumption, environmental performance and who fully offset CO2 emissions granting a total energy balance that is carbon neutral.
Environmental Management System
Property portfolios are regularly examined and monitored for environmental compliance with standards and regulation as well as areas of improvement regarding the consumption of energy and water as well as the level of carbon emissions. Employees dealing with the portfolios are trained to assess and document environmental performance in their respective area of responsibility. Technical departments scrutinize the environmental impact of operations and review the possibility to utilize latest technology that is both coherent with regulations and improving environmental performance.
GHG Risk Management (Greenhouse Gases)
According to our Environmental Policy, the emission of GHG is strictly to be monitored and reviewed. The objective of the Group is to reduce the energy consumption, especially of fossil fuels by increasing the use of renewable energy. The Groups hereby defines emission and reduction targets periodically. The Group has strategically decided on switching non-efficient fossil and oil operated heating plants with higher efficiency systems. A lion’s share of fossil and oil operated heating plants have been switched and further systems are in the process to be switched.
Supplier Environmental Programmes
The Group runs a series of environmental programs, which are summed up in the company’s Green Procurement Policy. Contracts with suppliers pay reference to the use and compliance to environmental regulations and the compliance to legal standards. In key areas suppliers have to proof external certifications that help assess the environmental impact of their activities and products delivered. The Group takes part in industry initiatives in order to improve on services delivered and the environmental impact of the stakeholders involved.
We are also actively encouraging suppliers to innovate and present better systems, technology and methods in order to improve overall environmental performance as part of the supply chain.
Supplier Environmental Certifications
As part of our supplier management, we pay attention to the environmental management of our suppliers. 93 % of contracted suppliers in the first quarter of 2017 are environmentally certified as per ISO 14001.
Real Estate LCA
Real Estate life cycle assessment considerations play a key role as part of the investment process as well as they do play a key role in operating the properties. The group is using experts to assess the cost of an investment and its environmental impact from construction through the operation. Furthermore the change of use or flexibility to change a property forms part of the investment process as well as the environmental impact should a property have to be torn down.
Part of the due diligence and underwriting process contains a commercial and energy balance assessment. Where buildings do not meet standards on sustainability and environmental impact the strategy to optimize energy efficiency and environmental repositioning needs to be in place and budgeted for as part of the investment decision.
Green Buildings Investments
The group does create optimized Green Buildings where there is an overall benefit as part of the life cycle assessment. Hereby, the resource consumption and waste creation over the whole life of a property is considered. Policy is to prefer investment in Green Buildings based on the positive result of life cycle assessment although it is important to know that nearly all investment properties are existing buildings at the time of purchase and only to some degree qualify for certification.
We optimize the buildings then in terms of energy consumption, thermal insulation, eliminating maintenance backlog and extending the residual economic life of a property through, in part, heavy investment and capital expenditure. In this context, we are looking more at Blue Building certification, which is one program under the Green Building standard specifically designed to deal with the optimization of existing structures that are already in the mid-point of their life cycle. We are currently investigating several buildings for such certification and are in the process of examining the relevant methodology.
The group’s business model is focused on investing in and managing value-add opportunities in hotels, residential and commercial units. In the past and until today, we have not engaged in greenfield development and therefore we have not built any new Green Buildings. As we have improved on the environmental performance on many of our properties, we are considering to become a member with DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council). That means we are not investing in ready-made Green Buildings, nor do we create them from scratch. Moreover, we create sustainable buildings with eco-friendly performance data and increased life spans out of existing premises and structures.
Renewable Energy Use
The group is using strategic partners for energy supply (gas and electricity). These have all relevant certifications in place and analyze the ‘energy portfolio’ they have with us on a regular basis. It is part of the group’s agreement with MeistroEnergie that all GHG emissions are 100% offset. All relevant certifications and statistics can be supplied and are ready for review. MeistroEnergie also statistically covers not only the development of energy used by the company – which has been nominally increasing due to portfolio growth – but also give us forecasts as to the tons of GHG saved and offset as part of our program with them.