Editorial by the
Chief Executive Officer
Ladies and gentlemen,
What are the key issues for us – as a major property company – when it comes to successful and sustainable business? First and foremost, they are the central questions that our society is facing. Questions related to climate change, urbanisation and an ageing society, to name just three of the most important issues. There are more than 20 million rented units in Germany and these have an essential bearing on the sustainable development of the country as a whole. These rented units account for around 40% of final energy consumption, equating to approximately one third of carbon emissions in Germany. With our portfolio of more than 163,000 residential and commercial units, we have a major responsibility in this regard. We are therefore investing more than EUR 1 billion in optimising the living quality and energy efficiency of our property portfolio. And this is proving to be a success – the energy footprint of close to three quarters of our residential units is already better than the comparable average consumption of residential buildings in Germany.
We are therefore actively contributing to reducing the country’s CO2 emissions. This entails our performing a difficult balancing act in which we reconcile climate protection, energy efficiency and social aspects with economic necessities. We frequently explore entirely new directions to this end, which we discuss with our stakeholders. The survey conducted among our tenants in the year under review told us we are on the right track in spite of some publicly voiced critical opinions.
Lifestyle habits and notions of good living are changing. These changes include a demand for greater sustainability and the desire to live in high-growth and prosperous conurbations. We are meeting this change by creating new housing in these locations – 2,500 new residential units are set to be created in Berlin, Frankfurt/Main, Leipzig and Dresden by the end of 2022, all based on widely accepted sustainability criteria. Throughout, we remain true to ourselves and always provide more than merely converted living space. In addition to offering a diverse array of services, we develop new neighbourhoods and innovative living concepts as well. Plus, we prepare our residential units for the challenges of the future in terms of technology and energy consumption.
Germany faces another challenge which will require a great many ideas and even greater drive, namely demographic change. Despite immigration, our country is ageing, which means residential units are needed that are developed with older residents in mind. With our nursing properties comprising approximately 6,700 beds and apartments for assisted living, we are in a strong position in the area of residences for the elderly and we intend to further consolidate this position. Here, we strive to not only make architecture and furnishings age-appropriate, but also treat people with dignity and offer attractive living conditions.
There is an additional aspect to demographic change which requires our attention and this is the shortage of skilled employees. While it may sound like a truism, the fact is that our significant economic success is founded on the abilities, the dedication and the innovativeness of our employees, and this is something which is very important to us. What’s more, they provide a link to our most important stakeholders, the tenants. In the year under review, we had more than 600 employees alone attending to tenant matters.
One of our primary interests is acquiring and retaining the best employees. To this end, we offer prospects that only a highly future-oriented company is able to offer, such as flexible working hours, modern workplaces, attractive benefits and a wide array of vocational training opportunities. Our staff and executives engaged in around 18,000 hours of further training in 2017. In addition to tailored and digitally assisted learning, we focus on intergenerational and knowledge-preserving cooperation and leadership. At all times, we trust in our corporate culture, which is founded on mutual respect, diversity and equal opportunity.
We take a structured and planned approach to everything we do, including our endeavours in the area of sustainable business. These are based on our sustainability programme comprising our strategic goals in five areas of action and the related concrete measures. In this report, we present projects and activities that demonstrate how much we are doing to become an increasingly sustainable company by the most direct means. Our stakeholders’ expectations are the impulse behind our actions – today, tomorrow and further in the future.
Berlin, May 2018
CEO of Deutsche Wohnen SE