To take account of the increased requirements in terms of sustainability management, anchoring of the topic within the S IMMO organisation was stepped up last year. In spring 2021, the area of digitalisation/ESG was included in the Management Board’s responsibilities as part of the reconfiguration of the Management Board. In autumn, the Sustainability Management staff unit was created as a central point where the sustainability issues of all departments and subsidiaries are coordinated. One main focal point in the reporting year was the ascertainment of the actual situation as well as the standardisation and improvement of data collection and analysis, particularly with regard to consumption data. Sustainability is also becoming an increasingly important topic at the Supervisory Board level. Also in autumn 2021, the Supervisory Board set up an ESG Committee from among its members. The committee is tasked with reviewing and monitoring the strategy with regard to the company’s social, economic and environmental responsibility.
Potential risks that arise in the context of S IMMO’s business activities and could impact on various sustainability matters are incorporated into the Group’s overarching risk management, which is the responsibility of the Management Board and is handled by the Risk Management department.
The environmental, climate-related, social and governance-related risks are systematically identified and assessed. The identified risks and the handling of these risks are described in the separate risk management report in the annual report.
S IMMO guiding principles
Investing in lasting values: people and real estate
We design valuable living environments for today and tomorrow
We use our experience, passion and local know-how to turn individual properties into a future-proof and high-performing portfolio based on forward-looking decisions
Quality: Tenant satisfaction and consistently increasing business value thanks to highest standards
Tradition: Stability and reliability rooted in a successful past
Responsibility: Foresighted action for the benefit of our stakeholders and the environment
Collaboration: Achieving success as a team and together with our stakeholders
Partnerships and memberships
S IMMO uses memberships and partnerships to meet its social responsibility in terms of sustainability at the sector and economic level, and to promote dialogue between companies and organisations. As a member of the Austrian Business Council for Sustainable Development (respACT), the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA) and the Austrian Sustainable Building Council (ÖGNI), the company is actively committed to sustainable development and the transfer of knowledge to this effect.
Responsible interaction with the environment has been an integral part of S IMMO’s operating and strategic activities for many years. This is not limited simply to compliance with all legal requirements and regulatory conditions, but is also reflected in its anchoring in the company’s guiding principles.
In view of the ever advancing process of climate change, it has become essential that, as a society, we understand and take into account the mutual effects of environmental changes and business activities on each other. S IMMO therefore actively incorporates environmental aspects into its economic decisions and has additionally expanded its risk management.
The organisational anchoring of sustainability management in the Supervisory Board, the Management Board and a separate operational staff unit in 2021 underlines S IMMO’s integrated approach to sustainability and enables it to manage the key environmental issues in a centralised way. For example, the past year was characterised primarily by the comprehensive optimisation of data recording and analysis supported by IT systems in the areas of energy and water consumption data relating to the property portfolio and vehicle fleet data.
The resulting enhancement of the data quality will enable the company to manage and optimise the consumption of energy and resources in a targeted way in the future. Especially in regard to the properties, it is now possible to evaluate the optimisation measures that have been implemented thanks to continuous monitoring at property level. Together with other measures such as the increase in the share of renewable energy sources and the modernisation of buildings, S IMMO is setting out to gradually reduce its ecological footprint.
One of the biggest levers S IMMO as a real estate company has for making a significant contribution to a sustainable economy and society lies in designing the construction, operation and modernisation of the properties in a way that conserves as many resources, produces as few emissions and is as user-friendly as possible. This is why, in 2014, the Group started the step-by-step certification of portfolio properties using internationally recognised certification frameworks for buildings with low emissions – known as green buildings. All the Group’s own development projects are now planned and implemented in accordance with these standards, while acquisitions of properties are also evaluated along the same lines.
As of 31 December 2021, S IMMO’s property portfolio that was certified under BREEAM, LEED and WELL comprised a total of 11 properties with a total main lettable area of 241,580 m². This corresponds to 21.4% of the main lettable area of the entire portfolio and a year-on-year increase of 35.1%.
Further comprehensive information - such as on the implementation of the EU taxonomy, energy and water management, and greenhouse gas emissions - can be found in the non-financial report.
S IMMO is not just an employer but a provider of real estate that meets people’s basic need for space to live and work. This mission gives rise to a particularly close relationship with and responsibility for our community.
Highly qualified and satisfied employees are an essential factor for the success of any company. Respect, trust and mutual esteem are the key pillars of social interaction at S IMMO and qualified employees are S IMMO’s most important asset. The company attaches particular importance to providing the team 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 supports an open corporate culture in which cooperation as well as the satisfaction and health of all employees are promoted at all levels.
S IMMO is committed to providing a discrimination-free work environment characterised by mutual trust in which everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Every team member is appreciated, regardless of gender, age, physical or mental limitations, marital status, sexual orientation, skin colour, religious or political beliefs, ethnic or social background or nationality.
The Group employed an annual average of 543 people on a headcount basis, including employees for hotel operations and excluding dormant staff and interns. Excluding hotel employees, the number of employees was 133.
As a property holding company, tenants play a central role for S IMMO. Properties are designed for people and intended to meet their need for living and work space. S IMMO treats its tenants as equal partners and always strives for respectful dialogue. A positive relationship between S IMMO and its tenants is essential for the success of the business and the company’s reputation.
It is particularly important for S IMMO to ensure that satisfied tenants live in the company’s properties for the long term. The company aims to achieve this goal by respectfully and continually communicating with tenants as equals and especially by offering tenants a complete range of services. The local teams on-site are the key players: They know the properties inside and out and maintain contact with potential and current tenants.
Stakeholders and society
Continual dialogue with various stakeholder groups is important to S IMMO. The teams at the subsidiaries in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Romania and Croatia are familiar with local conditions and in some cases have long-standing relationships with the relevant stakeholders. Respectful interaction and communication as equals with all stakeholder groups is the foundation for successful cooperation. The company communicates with individual stakeholder groups through the relevant departments or the local teams.
S IMMO is aware that companies’ activities can have an impact on human rights. The company has identified the following possible areas of risk in its business activities with an impact on human rights and manages these actively.
S IMMO is committed to complying with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Bill of Human Rights, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and eight fundamental conventions, and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Furthermore, S IMMO pledges to adhere to Council Directive 76/207/EEC of 09 February 1976 on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment and the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). S IMMO also undertakes to promote and protect the rights of minorities as laid down in the 1992 United Nations Minorities Declaration. S IMMO is additionally committed to complying with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and is therefore not at all involved in and does not condone the illegal employment or exploitation of children through work. In addition, S IMMO recognises the right to clean water as a fundamental human right.
Further information is set out in the S IMMO Human Rights Policy.
Commitment to society and the local community
At S IMMO, we consider it important to take responsibility for issues beyond just our core business and to support charitable projects in the countries in which we do business. These include various projects by Caritas to provide shelter in Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria by giving people in crisis a place to live and young people prospects for the future.
For instance, we support four Hope Houses serving orphaned children and youth in Alba Iulia (Romania), a children’s home in Stremț (Romania) and a facility in Pokrovan (Bulgaria), a village that has long seen a high emigration rate, which is why many of its inhabitants live alone and in poverty. Members of the Roma minority in Hungary are often affected by poverty and unemployment. Here, S IMMO supports the “Unser Haus (Our House)” community centre, which provides care to socially disadvantaged children and adolescents. To promote sustainable development and change, S IMMO is keen to commit to longterm partnerships in countries in which it operates.
For details on the commitment to charity, please refer to the non-financial report.
As a company listed on the stock exchange, S IMMO has a constant obligation to its shareholders. Handling the capital provided sustainably and with integrity is a key part of the company’s corporate self-image. This responsibility is fulfilled both by the in-house team and in the context of cooperation with our business partners. The corporate governance report as well as the guideline governing issuer compliance at S IMMO, the guideline governing the prevention of bribery, acceptance of benefits and corruption, the Code of Conduct and the human rights policy are available for further information.
Along with a corporate culture geared towards fairness and equality, S IMMO maintains clear guidelines as well as company-wide standards and pursues a transparent information and training policy in order to make all relevant parties aware of governance-related issues. Since 2007, S IMMO AG has been committed to observing the Austrian Code of Corporate Governance, which contains principles on transparency and good corporate governance. The Management Board has brought the company’s corporate governance into line with the principles of the Austrian Code of Corporate Governance and, in conjunction with the Supervisory Board, declares that the company observes and complies with the C Rules of the Code (the deviations from the C Rules are also explained in the corporate governance report).