Environment and energy
As a property developer and portfolio manager, S IMMO is constantly faced with environmental and energy considerations and, at the same time, strives to act with the greatest possible care and sustainability in all areas.
S IMMO has made a clear commitment to climate protection and, as part of its sustainability commitment, is focused on energy efficiency and the use of state-of-the-art technologies. Both in terms of its existing properties and for new project developments, the company always strives to find the best solution to keeping energy consumption, and thus also the operating costs for its tenants, as low as possible. For example, in the case of new projects, efforts are made to obtain green building certificates attesting to sustainability, and thermal optimisations are both considered and, depending on the prevailing market situation, implemented as far as possible (see section ‘Ecological construction materials’). It is S IMMO AG’s aim to improve its energy footprint over the next years by increasing the share of renewable forms of energy and reducing CO2 emissions. For example, in the case of new projects, efforts are made to obtain green building certificates attesting to sustainability, and thermal optimisations are both considered and, depending on the prevailing market situation, implemented as far as possible.
A further expression of the company’s well-established CSR concept are its memberships in the corporate platform respACT (Austrian Council for Sustainable Development) and the Austrian Sustainable Building Council (ÖGNI). ÖGNI is committed to creating sustainable living spaces.
Qualified employees are S IMMO’s most important asset. The company attaches particular importance to providing them with a motivating working environment as well as the personal scope for development and the ability to strike a healthy balance between work and family life. S IMMO therefore supports an open corporate culture in which cooperation as well as the satisfaction and health of all employees are promoted at all levels.
It is particularly important for S IMMO that employees’ families are also involved in various events. In order to promote a feeling of togetherness and team spirit, a variety of events are organised such as an annual summer festival, a Christmas party, team excursions and joint participation in events such as the Business Run in Vienna.
Unfortunately, none of these joint events were held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, S IMMO assumes that it will once again have the opportunity to hold joint events this year as long as certain safety precautions are taken.
To support sustainable development and change, S IMMO is keen to pursue long-term partnerships in countries in which it operates.
In addition, it is most important to S IMMO that its employees are actively involved in social projects. In recent years, the S IMMO team has worked on several corporate volunteering projects in Caritas organisations. Volunteers prepared freshly cooked hot meals for those in need at ‘Zweite Gruft’ in the 18th district of Vienna in 2019. These activities were unfortunately not possible last year due to restrictions related to the pandemic.
S IMMO has supported various charitable Caritas projects in Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria that have been providing people in need with a home under the motto “Giving shelter” since 2008. The aim of these projects is to provide people in need with a home. In addition, the company is committed to further projects that help young people.
Since 2000, Caritas has operated four hope houses for children and adolescents without parents in Alba Iulia. The aim of the project is to offer young people a safe place to live and positive prospects for the future as well as to support them in their integration into society.
Moreover, the company also supported the family children’s home in Stremt. The family home takes in children from low-income families who cannot sufficiently provide for them. In addition to food and accommodation, the children receive social care and education and are prepared for life.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left deep scars in Romania as well. The extreme situations (isolation, quarantines) and numerous long-running restrictions have adversely affected the children and employees at the hope houses. Remote learning students in elementary school require far more support, which greatly increases staffing requirements. S IMMO’s financial contribution provided much-needed help and made urgently needed building rehabilitation and renovation work possible.
The Bulgarian village Pokrovan remains heavily affected by emigration. Its population has shrunk from 110 in 2012 to 68 in 2020. All 68 villagers are over 60 years of age, while young people are highly unlikely to move to the village due to the lack of work. The village has neither a school nor a community centre. Many residents live in poverty and isolation. In 2020, Caritas Sofia supplied 28 people (14 men, 14 women) in Pokrovan with daily hot meals from the soup kitchen.
Unfortunately, the COVID- 19 crisis prevented Caritas from providing daily meals in its specialised centre. Instead, it focused on preparing and delivering hot meals. These visits were more than just food deliveries: Volunteers talked to the villagers and offered to help them with chores around the house. Arrangements were also made for a doctor to visit the village twice weekly.
Members of the Roma minority in Hungary are often affected by poverty and unemployment. At the “Unser Haus (Our House)” community centre, care is provided to socially disadvantaged children and adolescents. The number of students varies from year to year but is generally rising. Around 40 school-age children from four elementary schools received support in 2020. The aim of the project is to help these people pull themselves out of poverty. S IMMO supports the “external class” project, which helps pupils to finish school and to start a vocational training programme.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic had a tremendous impact on disadvantaged children: Schools were closed in the lockdown in March 2020, and classes went virtual. Schools are reopening very slowly, and many indigent children simply lack the resources to attend school online. To address this, other methods are being developed to support children who lack the resources needed for online learning, such as access to electricity, and keep them from falling behind. For example, laptops were purchased for the community centre at the start of the year in order to give children access to online classes and provide them with an opportunity to spend time in the centre, escape crowded living conditions and possibly seek counsel and assistance from the support workers.
S IMMO’s traditional donation drive reflected the company motto “Giving shelter (Obdach geben)” by focusing on Caritas institutions in 2020. The pandemic overshadowed everyone’s lives and further widened the gap between the middle class and people in need. That is why S IMMO was so keen to live up to its social responsibility and assist those people who faced increased need or adversity as a result of the COVID-19 crisis last year. In the end, it opted to support Caritas Learning Cafés and the Caritas “Ein Funken Wärme (A Spark of Heat)” campaign.
Caritas Learning Cafés provide free homework assistance and afternoon daycare for school-aged children throughout Austria – and their importance has only increased as children in many families have started home schooling and distance learning during the pandemic.
“Ein Funken Wärme (A Spark of Heat)” aims to pay the heating and electricity bills of people who have fallen upon hard times through no fault of their own and cannot pay them any other way. This campaign enabled more than 2,300 households to live in a warm home again last year. Website users interested in participating in the Christmas campaign were invited to take part in an online game, as in previous years. S IMMO then converted earned points into a corresponding cash donation.
Promoting young talent
S IMMO adopts targeted measures to promote young talent in the industry via the academic sector. As part of the existing collaboration with Danube University Krems, the company has allowed students of the postgraduate real estate programme to undertake a foreign studies module at S IMMO Germany in Berlin in recent years. This module was conducted online in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proper money management and basic knowledge about finances and the economy are skills which have a great impact on people’s lives. Through its financial literacy initiative, S IMMO has contributed to making it easier for young people to learn about this topic in recent years. The financial blog aproposgeld. at, along with its social media channels, is only one example of S IMMO’s efforts in this domain. S IMMO realigned its financial literacy programme at the start of 2021 and now focuses its financial literacy communications on the corporate blog and the company’s LinkedIn account.
Art Supermarket (Kunstsupermarkt)
S IMMO continued its cultural engagement in 2020 and made its facilities at Mariahilfer Strasse 103 available to the Vienna Art Supermarket – one of the largest contemporary art events in Austria – for the 14th time. For four months, original works by international artists were exhibited in a space of over 250 m² with the aim of making art more accessible and offering it to potential buyers at modest prices. The Art Supermarket was also hit by pandemic lockdowns in the 2020 season and so extended its run so that visitors could attend it until 01 April 2021, instead of the end of January. It proved highly popular, as in the years before.