Engaging with stakeholders
The Retail Fund is constantly looking for ways to work with retailers and other tenants, as well as other stakeholders in the local community, to improve the sustainability of our assets. And more and more retailers are now keen to improve their own sustainability performance and to make use of the knowledge and experience we have acquired on this front. For instance, in what could be considered a landmark agreement, we have teamed up with Ahold, the parent company of Albert Heijn supermarkets, to achieve shared goals on the sustainability front. Ahold is looking to achieve CO2-neutral supermarkets in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, while the Retail Fund’s goal is to maximise the sustainability of all its assets. With this shared goal in mind, Ahold has agreed to share data on energy use, water consumption and waste disposal, as well as any planned renovations.
At the same time, the Fund will provide Ahold with information on the BREEAM labelling of the shopping centre, the energy label of individual Albert Heijn supermarkets and data on the insulation quality of roofs, floors and walls in its supermarkets, as well as any planned asset renovations. The two will then use this data to identify potential measures to improve energy and water use, cut CO2emissions and improve waste disposal. This could include improving insulation during renovations, installing solar panels on roofs, placing charging points in car parks and a whole host of other measures. The data provided will be the key to identifying the right measures for each individual supermarket or retail asset. Following a pilot project with two Albert Heijn supermarkets in late 2018, we rolled out this initiative on a wider scale in 2019. The Fund sees this as an outstanding model for cooperation with other tenants in its portfolio and hopes other retailers will follow suit.
Indeed, following the acquisition of 13 Jumbo supermarkets in 2018 (four of which we have already sold on), we are currently in talks with the Netherlands’ second-largest supermarket chain on our shared sustainability ambitions. Jumbo is ambitious in terms of making production processes, logistics and design more sustainable, and we are now helping each other to realise our sustainability ambitions. But we are in a constant dialogue with other tenants, too, as we strive to increase our influence in term of making retail stores more sustainable. We do this by providing information and support, and by setting minimum requirements for the retail shop layout. Bouwinvest has drawn up the ‘Tenant Fit Out Programme’ (TFOP) for this. This document provides the tools for tenants to make sustainable choices in materials, layout and energy consumption. It also provides information and assistance in drawing up the layout plan. This programme includes a certain level of obligation, as it specifies the minimum requirements for retail units and its installations, such as material standards, the use of LED lighting and energy-label installations. The TFOP is part of our new lease agreements and our ambition is to declare the TFOP applicable to all assets.
Tenant satisfaction survey
The Fund conducted a tenant satisfaction survey in Q4 2019 and emerged with a score of 6.4 for the quality of the assets and 6.3 including satisfaction with the Fund’s property management. The Fund conducts tenant satisfaction surveys every two years. In 2017, we only reported the score for the assets, which was 6.5. The Fund’s target is to achieve an overall score of at least 7.0. The survey response was 51% of the tenants we approached in term of rental flow, or 230 tenants. As usual, we will draw up action plans and will provide tenants with feedback on about the results of the survey and the actions we are taking or plan to take to address the most important points of attention.
In response to the results from previous tenant satisfaction surveys, in 2018 Bouwinvest unveiled plans to set up a tenants’ portal. This portal provides tenants with a digital channel for repair requests, complaints and all the information they need about their lease contracts, service charges and payments, and gives them a channel to contact our property managers with queries and any issues they may have. In 2019, we ran a pilot project for the portal in our Parkweide shopping centre in Ede. The goal was to go live right across the portfolio last year, but due to technical setbacks and the loss of one of our property managers, which was involved in the pilot, the portal is now scheduled to go live in the first quarter of 2020.
These are all developments that make communications with our tenants more efficient and more effective, which we expect to improve tenant satisfaction. Of course, tenants will still be able to communicate with our property managers via traditional channels, as there is still a need for these channels.
The Retail Fund continued its green lease initiative in 2019, adding 29 green leases to take the total to 121 green leases in the portfolio, which is 23% of all leases. These lease agreements incorporate sustainability clauses, with the aim of increasing and enhancing the information exchange between the Retail Fund and its tenants. This in turn creates opportunities for combined efforts to improve environmental performance. Combined with the installation of smart meters at tenant level, the Fund sees this as the first step towards more far-reaching green leases in the future.
Plan on engage with stakeholders
Clients give the Fund a score higher than 7
Clients score 7.8
Tenants give the Fund a score higher than 7
Average tenant satisfaction 6.4 (6.5 in 2017)
Annual increase in number of green leases
121 green leases by the end of 2019 (99 in 2018). Adding 29 green leases in 2019
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 demonstrate 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 communicate more towards our investors what progress we are making in achieving our ESG-ambitions. These, and other, actions will contribute towards improving our client services and communications towards our clients. In the end, our 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.
The Retail Fund applies the Dutch Considerate Constructors Scheme (‘Bewuste Bouwer’) to all new-build projects and redevelopments. These criteria ensure that the contractor deals with the concerns of local residents, and addresses safety and environmental issues during the construction phase.
Plan on sustainable stewardship
In 2021, 75% of construction sites (€) registered under Considerate Constructors Scheme (‘Bewuste Bouwer’)
38.6% of construction sites (€) registered under Considerate Constructors Scheme (‘Bewuste Bouwer’)
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.
Two positions are explicitly related to the retail sector
By the end of 2021, our tenants in shopping centres have an AED available within six minutes
AED is available within six minutes
walking distance for all the shopping centres