Engaging with stakeholders
At Bouwinvest we believe that the best way to engage our stakeholders is through open and transparent dialogue and positive collaboration that cements long-term returns on investment and creates more impact. One of the Fund’s spearheads in its ambition to future-proof its assets and reduce energy use and CO2 emissions is engagement with its office tenants. This is because for the Office Fund the only way to achieve any meaningful reduction in our carbon footprint will be in active collaboration with our tenants and office users. This is why one of the Fund’s main priorities for 2019 was improving tenant satisfaction.
We conducted a tenant satisfaction survey in Q4 2019, and emerged with a score of 7.0 for the quality of the assets and a 6.8 including our tenants' satisfaction with the property management. In 2018, we only reported the score for the assets, which was 6.6. The target is to achieve an overall score of 7.0. We once again achieved a relatively high response rate of 61% (2018: 63%). We feel that the actions we took in response to the results of the 2018 survey helped us to improve our score. As every year, we will draft action plans and provide our tenants with feedback on the results and the actions taken to address the most important points of attention.
Last year, we developed a Tenant Process Plan to enhance client services and communications. Following an analysis of our client journey, we mapped all contact points with tenants and then drew up a plan to improve the quality of these contacts. For instance, we have improved the management of how and when we provide tenants with feedback on the outcome of our surveys; how we provide information on the realisation of improvements; how we draw their attention to successful improvements; and how we get tenants to cooperate in future surveys, all so we can measure the impact effectively. As part of our drive to improve our customer journey, we devoted specific attention to the onboarding of new tenants. And we are currently planning to roll out a digital tenant portal that tenants will be able to use for queries or the likes of repair requests and to find information on a range of subjects, including the sustainability performance and characteristics of their building. We started with one office building in early 2020 and plan to roll this portal out across the entire portfolio in 2021.
As is the case every year, the climate in office units was one of the most important elements in terms of tenant satisfaction. Improving of this type of comfort is always an integral part of planned maintenance and other projects to enhance assets. However, the Fund is increasingly faced with the dilemma of having to make a choice between comfort and energy efficiency as it strives to achieve targets to improve both tenant satisfaction and the sustainability of its assets. Answers to open questions were once again very interesting and gives us an excellent starting point for a personal approach to a number of tenants. We will again work with our property managers to come up with an action plan to improve results.
The Fund encourages its tenants to be more sustainable by including standard green lease clauses in its lease contracts that embed the intended cooperation of the Fund and tenants in to improve the sustainability of its office assets. The Fund prefers to supplement these clauses with concrete agreements, such as access to data on energy use and parameters on joint investments in energy-saving measures. Despite a certain level of reluctance on the part of tenants, in 2019 the Fund managed to increase the number of leases it closed. We are currently working on increasing the number of green leases by formulating the agreements more concisely and by offering tenants concrete tools to help them reduce their energy consumption and costs.
We have so far signed 36 green lease agreements with tenants that include clauses related to cooperation on improving sustainability (total amount of leases is 222). And together with our external property manager, we drew up a new standard for green lease agreements, which we implemented in 2019 as a standard appendix to every new lease. This includes clauses related to collective sustainability and efficiency goals for both landlord and tenants, making any improvement of sustainability a joint effort.
Plan on engage with stakeholders
Clients give the Fund a score higher than 7
Tenants give the Fund a score higher than 7
By end of 2021 20% is a green lease contract
On target. 16% green leases
Improving client services and communications
Real estate markets are remarkably dynamic, so Bouwinvest has to be responsive to internal and external news, as well as trends, risks and developments that could influence investments in real estate markets. We are clear on our investment strategies and are dedicated to demonstrating our ability to meet or exceed our clients’ expectations, by offering investment opportunities, services and market data related to existing and potential new investments.
In 2019, we conducted a stakeholder survey, asking our main stakeholders, including our investors, how they view us in terms of what we are getting right and where we could make improvements. This survey provided us with a lot of valuable feedback. The survey showed that we are on the right track on ESG front, but we can improve our communication with our investors regarding the progress we are making towards achieving our ESG ambitions. These and other actions will help us to improving our client services and communications. Our ultimate aim is to achieve a steady long-term client satisfaction score of above 7.5 (out of 10).
We take an active approach to raising environmental, social and governance awareness throughout the real estate industry. We encourage our partners to enhance their sustainability performance. We focus on: health & safety at construction sites, active participation (memberships) in industry associations and community programmes. To further improve the climate for real estate investments, we are an active member of boards and committees of sector, industry and cross-disciplinary networks such as NEPROM, IVBN, Holland Metropole, DGBC, INREV and ULI.
All the construction sites related to assets in the Office Fund are registered under the Dutch Considerate Constructors Scheme (‘Bewuste Bouwer’). This ensures the contractor deals with the concerns of local residents and addresses safety and environmental issues during the construction phase. In 2019, these included the former Citroën buildings (now renamed Move and The Garage) and Hourglass, all of which are located in Amsterdam. Central Park (Utrecht), the construction of which started in early 2019, was also registered under the scheme last year. Thanks to this initiative, the Fund is making a significant contribution to stewardship on the execution side of the construction industry.
Together with the Dutch Green Building Council (DGBC), we are participating in the Deltaplan Sustainable Renovation Offices working group, in which we are working with other industry players and industry associations (including the IVBN) to create a roadmap of the steps that need to be taken to make sure the office buildings in the Netherlands meet the requirements of the Paris climate agreement. We are looking to exceed the targets set in the Dutch government's own climate agreement.
The Fund’s involvement in social and sustainability initiatives sometimes goes beyond asset level. For instance, in the area around the Olympic Stadium – The Olympic Amsterdam – the Fund initiated the setting up of a Business Investment Zone (‘Bedrijven Investeringszone – BIZ’) foundation. The foundation promotes and encourages cooperation from local businesses and property owners.
Plan on sustainable stewardship
In 2021, 75% of construction sites (€) registered under Considerate Constructors Scheme (‘Bewuste Bouwer’)
All projects under construction (Central Park, Hourglass) are registered.
Gain board seats and committee memberships industry
organisations: have at least one active board/committee
memberships within industry organisations in the Dutch
Bouwinvest's employees have several active positions on boards or working groups of the networking and industry organisations like: IVBN, INREV, ULI, DGBC, Holland Metropole and NEPROM.
3 positions are explicitly related to the office sector
By the end of 2021, our tenants (and hotel guests) have an AED available within six minutes
100% of our tenants and hotel guests have an AED available within six minutes walking distance