Stakeholder engagement and materiality
We strive to integrate sustainability and responsible investment principles into our day-to-day operations. This is in line with the expectations of our many stakeholders: our employees, our shareholder, investor clients, retail customers, suppliers, advisors and representatives of municipalities. To keep track of what is important to them, we regularly monitor their opinions and perceptions via awareness and brand value surveys.
In 2017, we participated in the Real Estate Brand Value Study conducted by the European REB-Institute, which benchmarked our brand and its position relative to six other market players. The 2,500 respondents to the study represented stakeholders in the real estate sector across Europe. The findings enabled us to identify asset management and innovation as areas where we can improve our brand’s strength.
We update our materiality matrix every couple of years. Changes over the past three years and the new Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Reporting Standards (GRI SRS) warranted a new ‘check-in’ with our stakeholders to reflect how our core business has evolved into real estate investment management, to gauge progress on our BREEAM certification scheme and to take into account external developments, like COP21 and the UN’s adoption of 17 SDGs. Several of the SDGs, including “Sustainable Cities and Communities,” resonate clearly with our own business, so we have sought to link our materiality matrix to some of the SDGs. The selected material topics are in line with BREEAM parameters and seven of the SDGs. This helps us to strengthen the framework for determining and sharpening our sustainability ambitions.
This business year we repeated the materiality assessment. It has helped us to focus on the highest priorities relevant to our stakeholders and us. Independent advisor Sustainalize executed the assessment, in compliance with the new GRI SRS. More than 2,000 stakeholders received an invitation to complete an online questionnaire to rank 19 topics. We received a total of 344 responses, which ranked the following four topics as highly material: Business Integrity, Employee engagement & enablement, Future-proofing the portfolio, Energy use.
Materiality matrix explained
A materiality matrix shows which issues are of the highest priority to our stakeholders and our business. It enables us to better understand how our stakeholders are affected by our activities and what they consider important issues for Redevco. It informs our strategic priorities, while helping us integrate sustainability and responsible investment principles into our day-to-day operations.
Regular updates to the materiality matrix are necessary because these priorities change. The latest GRI standards stipulate that a matrix should be updated every two years and topics are now rated in two ways. The first is the “influence on stakeholder assessments and decisions” to gauge the impact or importance of the particular topic on our stakeholders. The second is the “significance of the reporting organisation’s economic, environmental and social impacts,” which shows the degree of the company’s impact on the topic, rather than the impact on the company’s business itself.