The third pillar of Wereldhave’s sustainability framework is dedicated to strengthening sustainable partnerships with our key stakeholders to achieve our sustainability objectives. For our continued success we depend largely on our partners such as tenants and suppliers, particularly when it comes to our sustainability performance.
The three key targets of this pillar are:
Create 1,000 retail jobs by investing € 200m in shopping centres in 2017
With the expansion and refurbishments of our centres new permanent retail jobs are created. Wereldhave uses a standardised methodology to calculate job creation, expressing the square metres added as the equivalent of the number of new retail jobs. In 2015 a measurement was made for the new shopping centres in France and the Netherlands to determine the average number of jobs per 1,000 m². When an expansion project is completed, the number of jobs is measured again. The outcome of these measurements is perfectly in line with the average of 55 jobs per 1,000 m² of the existing portfolio that was measured in 2014.
In 2016, 144 permanent retail jobs were created, which together with the 773 jobs that were created in 2015 brings the total number to 897 over three years. We are therefore on track in achieving this target.
75% of new leases considered to be ‘green’ in 2016
The Green Lease was launched in November 2014, we took off with a flying start. In 2015, Green Lease addendums were also inserted in proposals for lease renewals. This will considerably shorten the time needed to make the entire lease portfolio green. The Green Lease contains clauses on labour conditions, materials to be used for fitting out, energy consumption and water use. A Green Lease also stipulates which data needs to be disclosed between parties and describes their mutual efforts in communication, to raise awareness to reduce the environmental footprint of our properties.
In 2016, well over 99% of all new leases qualitied as a Green Lease. In France, green leases were also implemented in 2016 and in Q4 2016 already 100% of new leases were green.
The target had now been reached, and will from 2017 onwards be replaced by two new targets:
- Tenant engagement: introduce sustainability committees in all shopping centres.
- Tenant engagement: hold tenant satisfaction surveys in all shopping centres.
In 2017, focus will continue to be on making sustainability a recurring topic of the meetings with tenants associations and setting up a communication strategy towards consumers and visitors of our shopping centres. This is an ambitious target, since the majority of our tenants still is under the regime of old leases and therefore not yet officially committed to sustainability. Putting it on the agenda will however help us in quickly increasing the number of green leases.
In 2015 we started inteviews with tenants in Belgium, the Netherlands and Finland and asked for their feedback and recommendations. Several tenants shared their ideas and this resulted in several improvements in the documentation.
Another initiative to promote sustainability awareness of the local teams is an annual contest for the best sustainability initiative for a shopping centre. The contestants were four projects in the Netherlands, two in Finland and four in Belgium. Initiatives range from separation of sewer water to use rainwater for cleaning, separate textiles as a sixth waste stream, creating sustainable toilets to installing solar panels. The winning shopping centre received a budget of €5,000 to launch a new initiative. Genk Shopping 1 promoted bike usage for both tenants as customers and will use the budget for install more battery charging points for electrical bikes.
Redefine and implement sustainable sourcing for all new suppliers in 2016
A sustainable sourcing charter was drafted. Before its implementation interviews were held with the four main categories of suppliers (maintenance, waste, cleaning and security) in each country, and the final document was adjusted based on their feedback. As from 2016, these interviews are repeated annually in order to get feedback on the charter after one year in practice. This will help us improve and raise our ambitions.
Many of the items in the charter were already common practice but had not been recorded or documented. Some of our suppliers had already integrated sustainability into their operations, particularly in the field of waste disposal.
In 2016, Wereldhave installed a 'waste barometer' as a pilot project in Nivelles shopping, expressing the progress on waste separation and recycling on a weekly basis. This will contribute to consumer and tenant awareness in the centre. In 2017 a waste management plan will be created and implemented for every shopping centre. We have decided to change the target to supplier engagement. We aim to assess suppliers' compliance with the charter at each shopping centre (target relates to security, cleaning and maintenance contracts).
In addition to the stakeholder consultation, Wereldhave's Investor Relations and the Board of Management have engaged with institutional shareholders and debtholders through some 158 meetings (one-to-one and group meetings) across 13 countries in Europe, North-America, Asia and South-Africa. Frequently discussed topics in these meetings, besides the latest financial results, included a.o the integration and performance of the acquired shopping centre portfolios in France and the Netherlands, the evaluation of It is, the debt-profile of the Company (sources of debt, maturities, costs, hedges etc.), the strategy and focus on dominant convenience centres, the sustainability strategy, the investment criteria of major funds and the retail climate/tenant bankruptcies in the Netherlands. In addition to these meetings, multiple conference calls and 'property visits' were organised.
- Create 1,000 permanent retail jobs by investing € 200m in shopping centres | 2017
- Tenant engagement: set up sustainability committee in all SCs | 2017
- Tenant engagement: tenant satisfaction survey in all SCs |2017
- Assess suppliers’ compliance with suppliers charter in all SCs | 2017