It is not just since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that the real estate industry has been at the centre of much public debate in Germany. Against the background of the worldwide efforts to find a more sustainable way of doing business, our industry is of key importance if the goals of the Paris Climate Accord are to be achieved and global warming is to be checked. Although substantial progress has been made throughout the sector in recent years, e. g. through resource-conserving re-developments of portfolio properties, it is quite obvious that all of the players, rather than maintaining the status quo, will have to keep evolving continuously. We at DIC Asset AG are also committed to a process of continuous development, and include the ESG criteria (“ecological, social, governance”) in our decision-making processes as key components of our activities.
In fact, we started reporting about our ESG activities as early as 2011, meaning that we took account of all environmental, social and corporate governance aspects of our day-to-day work in addition to a purely economic angle. Within the framework of this report, we will provide you with an overview of our value-creation from a holistic stakeholder view and in the usual form, while also reporting about milestones achieved and the main sustainability key figures. This includes consumption data from properties managed by us and extensive human resource statistics. As in previous years, we orient ourselves to the internationally recognised reporting standards for listed property companies that were issued by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI standards) and by the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA sBPR).
The non-financial control variables will keep gaining in significance in future, and will need to be anchored yet more firmly in our corporate strategy. We are therefore convinced that a systematic synchronisation of these control variables in our operative activities offer additional potential that could be exploited to benefit all of our stakeholders. ESG is not a cost factor but an investment in the preservation and expansion of future value-added. With this in mind, we would like use this report to brief you on two issues that we see as further milestones in our ESG activities:
Late last year, we launched the “smart metering” project through DIC Onsite, our operating subsidiary. The deployment of intelligent measurement systems enables us to digitally capture and electronically transmit consumption data from the properties under our management. This step toward digitisation not only accelerates the availability of data in real time, but has also helps us through standardisation and through access to digital interfaces to improve our analytic methods to the point where we can exercise forward-looking control and engage energy consumption on the portfolio level as yet another area open to optimisation. For the principles underlying the projects and more details on the subject of “smart metering,” see chapter Ecology.
The second focal issue concerns our ESG activities in the Institutional Business. This unit, which provides real estate services to third parties, has lately become an earnings mainstay on equal footing with our other unit, Commercial Portfolio, as a result of having taken over GEG in June 2019. The acquisition represents a genuine milestone for us, as it enabled us to expand into interesting projects and, most notably, to gain decisive competencies and enormous potential. It also increased our assets under management by another EUR 1.4 billion at once. In addition, the expansion has moved the requirements of another one of our stakeholder groups – meaning our institutional clients in this business unit, which are mainly pension funds, insurance companies, banks or family offices – more into focus. Our investor basis is showing a growing interest in ESG issues on the company level and property level both. Over the past years, the investment market has undergone an intensifying process of differentiation and professionalisation in this context that is driven by the growing demand for actively managed ESG investment products, among other factors. These changed parameters on the global market for asset management also confront us with new reporting challenges, which is why we will not only present the expectations of this stakeholder group in the section starting on Strategy and Materiality, but will also provide an overview of the planned expansion of our reporting activities in the Institutional Business segment.
As you can see: We implemented quite a number of things, and cleared important ESG milestones. With many other things planned, we are therefore committed to new projects working towards a sustainable future. We would be delighted to have you with us on our road ahead, and would like to thank you for the faith vested in us as our tenant, shareholder, employee, client or business partner.